Gallery: Hercules and Papoa, Peniche, Portugal – January 8, 2014
Gallery by João Pedro Rocha
Following the epic paddle session at Belharra on the South West Coast of France, comes another big wave session from Europe thanks to the storm Hercules. This one's a tow session from Portugal. Nazare this isn't, no this took place at Papoa, in the area of Peniche (not too far from the Rip Curl Pro venue).
We asked Portuguese charger Antonio Silva for the details of the session.
"It was solid. Some 50 foot ones came early in the morning but the swell dropped fast. We wanted to paddle but it was bumpy as fuck with strong winds soo tow was the best option to surf that day."
“Me, my brother, Ramon Laureano, Sergio Cosme and then we invited Eric Rebiere, Sebastian Steudtner, Dave Langer and Pato to surf with us at this we’ve been surfing for a while.”
Length of session:
“The session was 2 to 3 hours.”
“I would say best ride was from Sebastian, a long one, and then I got one on the same set with Dave Langer.”
“Eric got a wipeout but all went good.”
Papoa compared to Nazare:
“This is like a Portuguese version of Mavericks, great for big surf and long rides – perfect for the ASP Big Wave World Tour and hollow. Nazare is Nazare – biggest waves in the world at this point, it will be interesting to see how Nazare will be surfed in 10 years. We already saw what they did at Bellhara this last swell so…”
“We surfed it big last month. I paddled and didn’t really get any bombs, it was the wrong swell direction, but our Jet Resgate team were there getting some bombs towing. Sergio Cosme and Joana Andrade got a sick one that went to XXL. She’s the first woman going to big from Portugal and we are very proud of her.”
Storm swells don’t get much bigger than this. During the final days of 2013 and first week of 2014 the North Atlantic Ocean saw heightened winter storm activity characterised by a first, slow moving low pressure complex west of Ireland, followed by a second, vigorous storm system that bombed (rapidly intensified) off Newfoundland on January 3 and 4. Through the height of its lifecycle this monstrous system generated a gale to hurricane force (40 to 70 knot) westerly fetch encompassing an area roughly the size of France. The resulting deepwater swell was literally off the charts, exceeding the 50ft+ threshold on the majority of animated swell maps.
Virtual buoy readings subsequently picked up a WNW groundswell of monumental proportions - the bulk of it aimed at the British Isles, with peak size forecast around 15 metres at 20 seconds. This staggering wave energy was confirmed by offshore buoy readings that registered peak significant wave heights of around 45 feet off southwest Ireland on Monday". – Ben Macartney
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