Forecaster Blog: Hear The North Atlantic Rumble For Quiksilver Pro France

6 Oct 2015 0 Share

Ben Macartney

Chief Surf Forecaster

The glory of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro, Photo by Digby Ayton

The glory of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro, Photo by Digby Ayton

Issued Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday marks the first of 12 days over which the World Surf League will cherry pick the optimum conditions to run The Quiksilver Pro in Hossegor, southwest France – and it’s fair to say they are spoilt for choice. When the North Atlantic rumbles to life it often does so in spades and that’s precisely what’s occurring, with multiple swell-producing storm systems currently developing over disparate regions – but all nicely positioned inside Hossegor’s swell window.

Over the coming week to ten days the region receives a quadruple whammy of W and WNW swells exhibiting wide-ranging characteristics on the wave height/ period spectrum. The first of these back to back episodes is a steep rising, short-range WNW storm-swell coinciding with strong SW winds. This arises from a complex low situated within close proximity of France’s west coast extending a couple of vigorous fronts into the Bay of Biscay over the next 48 hours; driving a steep spike in onshore W windswell, reaching peak of 3 to 6ft throughout Tuesday afternoon. 

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Latest WW3 charts depict three distinct red blobs of swell - all of which are inbound on the Bay of Biscay this week. Source: FNMOC.

Latest WW3 charts depict three distinct red blobs of swell - all of which are inbound on the Bay of Biscay this week. Source: FNMOC.

Tuesday's North Atlantic MSLP chart shows the multitude of swell sources currently in effect inside France's swell window. Source: NOAA.

Tuesday's North Atlantic MSLP chart shows the multitude of swell sources currently in effect inside France's swell window. Source: NOAA.

This culminates in rapidly improving conditions throughout Wednesday as lighter onshore winds greet a better organised, mid-period WNW swell, pushing in at stronger 5 to 6ft plus levels before gradually subsiding throughout the afternoon.While this will offer up the first opportunity to get round one underway, they’re likely to hold out for much better conditions looming for Thursday.

As the tail end of Tuesday/ Wednesday’s pulse continues to pulse at solid 3 to 6ft levels it’s greeted by lighter offshore winds. This older WNW swell is then reinforced by a second, better-organised mid-period WNW groundswell that should nudge set waves back up into the 6ft plus range during Thursday afternoon. This episode arises from a slow moving polar low that set up over the Labrador Sea (between Newfoundland and Greenland) this week.

The low aims an extensive belt of WNW gales directly at the Bay of Biscay as it remains slow moving over the region on Tuesday and Wednesday. This promises a powerful, 15 second WNW groundswell that should see a return to slabbing overhead barrels as it kicks in under light cross-shore winds during the afternoon.

This forecast MSLP chart for Friday 9 October shows ex Hurricane Joaquin located just west of the Bay of Biscay. This holds excellent potential for a strong W groundswell for Hossegor this weekend. Source: NOAA.

This forecast MSLP chart for Friday 9 October shows ex Hurricane Joaquin located just west of the Bay of Biscay. This holds excellent potential for a strong W groundswell for Hossegor this weekend. Source: NOAA.

This stronger episode gradually scales down throughout Friday, producing another full day of excellent contestable conditions as light easterly winds swing cross-shore later in the day. At this stage the tail end of this pulse should fade considerably overnight to produce some of the smallest and cleanest waves of the contest window on Saturday morning; potentially running at a rippable 2 to 4ft. However, these conditions may also begin to transform as the day progresses, with the prospect of a longer range, long period W ground-swell a definite possibility this weekend.

The prospective swell source is Hurricane Joaquin, currently on a east-north-eastward track across the North Atlantic. Although this warm-water system is currently positioned too far south of Hossegor’s swell window, it’s projected to undergo extratropical transition as it approaches western Europe over the next 48 hours and should eventually bringing a strong westerly fetch within range of the Bay of Biscay. This holds definitive potential for an long-period W groundswell – potentially showing during Saturday, but more likely by Sunday morning. While this hinges on the precise track and intensity of the storm as it evolves over the next few days, there’s little doubt it will produce the final swell-chapter for the Quiksilver Pro France 2015.

Tags: topnews , france , hossegor (create Alert from these tags)

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