The North Atlantic is about to be blessed with what could be the last XL run of swell of the season over the next few days.
Right now, there's a storm brewing near north west Ireland, which will send a large pulse of northwest swell into southern areas by the middle of the week. Best conditions will likely be in Portugal – where we could see an adrenaline shot to the heart of Nazare.
“The North Atlantic at the moment contains a low pressure about 800 miles south of Iceland, moving slowly but developing fast,” says MSW forecaster, Tony Butt. “Over the next couple of days the system is forecast to shift east, passing over northern Scotland and ending up in the North Sea by Wednesday. But before that happens, a very tight fetch on its southern flank will generating a pulse of massive swell as it moves east towards Ireland.
“Offshore wave heights northwest of Ireland will quickly increase to 30 feet or more on Tuesday afternoon, driven by storm-force westerly winds. A very large, unruly swell will hit the west coast of Ireland, peaking late Tuesday and fading through Wednesday. Conditions at Mullaghmore could be feasible Tuesday afternoon, as winds back southwest for a time.
“Further south in mid areas and throughout Biscay, a large, long-period northwest swell arrives around Wednesday, but is mostly hampered by northwest winds. Sheltered spots in northwest Spain might get some medium-sized wrap-around surf, if you know where to look.
“Down into Portugal and things are looking more promising, with northeast winds coinciding with a large, long-period north-northwest swell that arrives late Wednesday and fills in through Thursday. At Nazaré expect the first very long-period forerunners to arrive on Wednesday afternoon, with wave heights ramping up to 20 feet or more overnight and then steadily decreasing through Thursday. In contrast to most other large swells we’ve had this winter, the more northerly direction should really favour those epic A-frame peaks.
“This swell, which could be the last really big one of the season, is being generated by a relatively short, intense fetch that comes and goes quickly. At many spots you might only get a few hours of good surf before the winds change or the swell drops. So make the most of it.”