Black Swell: Big wave surfers flock to Portugal’s coast

Recent stormy weather in Europe has been resulting in some seriously big waves along the coasts of Portugal, France, Ireland and the southwest tip of England. What’s been termed the “Black Swell” is causing big wave surfers to flock to these spots for perilous thrills.

Outside the surfing community, several deaths have been caused by the Black Swell in Portugal. Five students perished when a night-time wave suddenly dragged them into the sea on a beach in Setubal, south of Lisbon. In light of these deaths, the Black Swell has already lived up to its name.

Video footage of a woman in France being swept into the sea by the violent waves of the Black Swell has prompted authorities to search for her whereabouts.

Maya Gabeira, the heroine of big wave surfing has called the Black Swell the “biggest storm I have seen on maps”. The winter storm known as Hercules is credited for producing waves of over 60 feet (18m) at some spots.

Storm watchers and big wave surfers alike should be very careful when it comes to the Black Swell as the video footage linked above proves.

Via MSN News:

The biggest rideable swell will be at Nazare in Portugal, but some of the coldest and most dangerous will be in Ireland. The Basque Country will be really good as well for a select paddle crew.

Despite the media coverage big wave surfing gets these days it is still an incredibly dangerous and frequently deadly sport performed by true professionals who dedicate their lives to surviving the horrific forces wiping out and long periods being held down under water.

–Ed Temperley, editor of the surf forecast site

Hundreds of surfers from across Europe recently journeyed to Donegal in Ireland to take advantage of Black Swell’s massive waves. Read all about it in the Irish Independent.

black swell

Troon Beach – even Scotland hasn’t escaped Black Swell. Pic: Brian Digital (Flickr CC)

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