SWELL ALERT: My Name Is Earl, True Hurricane Surf

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 23d ago

  • Hot on the heels of Danielle is Hurricane Earl
  • Long period swell expected, could be a wait between sets
  • Seek a good sand bank to maximise exposure
  • Conditions fun up north, Portugal marred with bad wind
  • Tomorrow, some small, very long period swell is expected to arrive in western Europe. Why's this exciting? Well, what's about to land this side of the Atlantic is true hurricane swell, created when Earl was in full swing, all the way over the other side of the pond.

    With a swell period that long though, we're talking 3ft@18secs for places around the UK and Ireland, you'll need to seek somewhere with a decent bank (or a pointbreak) to break it all up. Otherwise, you'll be facing closeouts. The ocean will look relatively still, too. Long waits between sets but when they arrive, they should be clean, if you can find shelter from that puff of north wind in the morning.

    Live cam: Croyde

    Small in the south west UK, but that long period will make for some pretty fun stuff. Here's our at-a-glance forecast for Fistral.

    Small in the south west UK, but that long period will make for some pretty fun stuff. Here's our at-a-glance forecast for Fistral.

    MSW forecaster Tony Butt breaks Earl down by region:

    In northwest Ireland, this long-period west swell arrives on Tuesday and persists through Wednesday, with wave heights between about three and five feet and winds fresh west or northwest.

    Down into southwest Ireland, the long-period swell on Tuesday could generate some good surf, around four feet or so at exposed spots, with moderate northeast winds. The swell drops through Wednesday and the rest of the week, and conditions deteriorate with fresh north or northwest winds.

    Through to the southwest UK, that swell filters through on Tuesday with wave heights around three feet at exposed spots and moderate northeast winds. The swell continues through Wednesday, dropping slightly with winds increasing from the north. For the rest of the week, expect very small surf and fresh northerly winds.

    In France, wave heights pick up during the day on Tuesday, hitting three or four feet at swell-magnets around Hossegor and further north, and continuing through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday see the swell weakening considerably. Winds are light in the mornings, picking up from the west or northwest in the afternoons, except for Tuesday, which sees fresh southerlies from midday onwards.

    Earl today Monday September 12 has merged with Danielle. This is our swell chart for the North Atlantic.

    Earl today Monday September 12 has merged with Danielle. This is our swell chart for the North Atlantic.

    Along the north coast of Spain, the long-period swell fails to reach most spots except perhaps the most exposed spots on the western tip of peninsulas. Wave heights generally remain small for most of the week, with some short-period swell, around two to three feet during the second half. Winds are mostly light and variable, with southerlies in the mornings and northerly breezes in the afternoons.

    In the far northwest of Spain, the swell hits more square-on, reaching four or five feet at exposed spots on Tuesday before steadily losing size and quality towards the end of the week. Winds are fresh gusting strong southeast at first, turning east and then increasing from the northeast later.

    And into, Portugal, the long-period swell arrives at the same time as a much closer-generated short-period swell from the same storm (ex-hurricane Danielle). Wave heights are around five or six feet at exposed spots on Monday and Tuesday, with lumpy conditions and strong southerly winds. The swell drops from Wednesday onwards and becomes marginally more organised. Winds decrease from the south and then turn light to moderate northerly.

    Where to surf? UK + Ireland | France | Spain | Portugal | Morocco |