Swell Alert: Epic Run of Surf Set for South West UK, Ireland

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 70d ago

  • Whole week of offshore surf for the south west UK
  • Devon, Cornwall and South Wales looking best bets in Europe
  • France, Portugal and Spain to clean up later in the week
  • It's been non-stop in the North Atlantic recently. See the Celtic lands from last week here, a couple days from Portugal -- here. Good news is, there's more on the way. Perhaps the even more surprising news is that this week, Ireland and the south west UK might just be the best bets for surfing this week.

    What we're looking at right now, is days upon days of offshore surf for the likes of Cornwall, Devon and South Wales. France will be good too, but the wind was looking a bit of a problem, though should clean up later in the week, same with the west coast of Portugal.

    Sunday's a day of rest anyway. But look at all that green wind. Thursday will be the day though. This is our at a glance chart for Fistral.

    Sunday's a day of rest anyway. But look at all that green wind. Thursday will be the day though. This is our at a glance chart for Fistral.

    One caveat to think about when choosing your surf spot this week – forecasts of this magnitude for open beachies are likely to close out. It's because that long period swell needs something in the way to chop it up, otherwise it'll hit the beach square and end up dumping. A reef, point, or if you know of a decent sand bar in your local area; would all be ideal on this forecast over the next few days.

    While you may think Wednesday will be the best day, it's actually Thursday afternoon that'll be the best bet. The period comes down and the swell drops slightly, which could see epic conditions for most of the south west UK. And even through to the south, like East Wittering for example. This really is a week for everyone to enjoy.

    Let's have a little dig into the forecast then. There's a complex amount happening in the North Atlantic at the moment. For instance, there's a low pressure off Nova Scotia that formed over the weekend and became stronger, it is now by the Azores and due to reach Portugal by the end of the week.

    This little doozy up there will create some long period surf on Wednesday. Wait for that to pass and by Thursday, you'll be golden.

    This little doozy up there will create some long period surf on Wednesday. Wait for that to pass and by Thursday, you'll be golden.

    There's a strong westerly wind associated with that system, which generated a pulse of long-period swell, heading towards westerly exposures. This will hit Spain on Wednesday but have poor local conditions. Further north, (like in the south west UK) the wind will actually come from the east, or south east, off the northern side of that low as it sits near Portugal.

    MSW forecaster Tony Butt explains: “In Cornwall, the swell arrives from the west, with the first long-period forerunners showing early Wednesday, before the swell fills in during the afternoon. Wave heights are expected to reach six feet or so by the end of the afternoon, with periods around 16 or 17 secs. Winds are light to moderate ESE.

    “The swell continues into Thursday, with a gradual decline throughout the day, wave heights averaging around four or five feet at exposed spots, with light east or southeast winds.

    “Wave heights remain steady at around three to five feet through Friday, with winds picking up from the east, and perhaps backing towards the northeast later.

    “Forecast confidence levels are high for Cornwall, Devon and south Wales for all three days (see the ‘probability’ parameter in the MSW spot forecasts), although the wind direction forecast could change depending on how far north or south that low ends up when it arrives near the European continent.”

    Where to surf? We've got a cam for that! Fistral | Croyde | Gwithian | Praa Sands | Woolacombe |