The North West coast ofIreland was getting pounded by Winter Storm Hercules on Monday morning, but not everyone was steering clear of mother nature's wrath. Big wave surfers from around the world made their way toIreland in an attempt to ride the approximately 40 to 60 foot waves brought along by the "Black Swell".
According to the Irish Times, Henry Moore, the chairman of the Irish Surfing Association, got a nice cut on the face when his board snapped while surfing at Mullaghmore Head, County Sligo, Ireland. The winter waves were worked up to even greater heights with a set of strong, whipping winds battering Ireland's coastline.
"This has been a very exciting event, there has been a build-up to this for more than a week," Neil Britton from the Fin McCool Surf School told the Irish Independent. "We are looking at the biggest swell in living memory and it's possible we could see waves higher than the biggest ever recorded which was around 97 feet which a couple of years ago."
While the powerful waves might be a gift for the brave surfers, they are certainly a curse to Ireland's locals. The high tidal surges have reportedly caused tens of millions of euro of structural damage as roads, buildings and even sea walls were washed away. Severe flooding throughout Ireland's coastal towns has proved a headache for the country's citizens too. 120 kph winds are still predicted to hit the South and West coast of Ireland later this week, meaning the region's woes are far from over.
Many of the riders out in this dangerous lineup are scoring entries for Rider of the Year in Billabong's XXL Big Wave Awards. Check back here for more updates on this massive winter storm as it makes its way through Europe. More awesome swell photos are sure to come!