A significant North Atlantic storm looks increasingly likely to generate sizeable swell for next week as eyes turn to the recently announced Redbull competition at Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal.
Nazaré made headlines around the world last year as Garrett McNamara towed into what the Billabong XXL now recognise as the biggest wave ever surfed. A freak of undersea bathymetry creates a wave exceptional under any circumstances, but even more noteworthy for occurring as a shifting beach break peak that’s been hiding under the surf worlds radar in plain sight just miles north of the famous waves of Supertubos.
This year the Zon Canyon project continues to explore the potential of the location while the newly announced Red Bull Mito contest not only offers to introduce some of the worlds best big wave surfers to the location, but to live stream back to armchair surf fans around the world.
In that vein we have eyes forward to a significant storm looking increasingly likely to occur over the weekend and create large swell for all of Europe during the middle of next week. There’s currently broad model consensus (not typical at this range) for a low pressure system forming in the Labrador sea moving into the North Atlantic with a large fetch giving the possibility of swell in the 15ft@15seconds range that see’s most big wave locations reach their full potential. Praia do Norte favours the longer period more westerly swell that looks most likely although there’s considerable variation in the numbers as we’d expect over a week out.
Our confidence in this scenario is increased by a strong consensus between the GFS, ECMWF and UKMO and the ensemble models at this range. A confidence perhaps biased a little given the accuracy with which the ECMWF recently saw Hurricane Sandy’s landfall at a similar range. The storm itself is about 90hrs from even forming, certainly a timeframe that should lead to caution. We’ll have a considerably clearer picture for next week by the weekend.
Should the storm develop as suggested it’ll follow some time mid week on the heels of an also significant, but lower period and more northerly swell over the weekend. While it’s certainly too far out to talk reliably about the local winds the suggestions are that high pressure remains in control which has to be favourable. Equally we’ll see a move to large mid afternoon spring tides. With local knowledge suggesting the morning winds are generally more favourable, combined with experience from previous sessions that the fast pushing tide has a positive influence we’ll definitely be keeping a keen eye on things over the next few days.