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Tony has a PhD in Physical Oceanography and worked part time with the Coastal Processes Research Group at the University of Plymouth for about ten years. He has now teamed up with Lunasurf to bring you an accurate swell forecast for Europe and the United Kingdom.

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About Tony Butt

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Surf report for Thursday 18 April 2013


Best bet  Southwest France


General synopsis at 12:00 UTC

Today’s chart shows an average-strength high pressure over the Azores, drifting eastwards, with a weak ridge extending up towards Iceland. Either side of this ridge are low pressure systems, centred just north of Scotland and just south of Cape Farewell respectively. Both systems have westerly fetches on their southern flanks, generating pulses of medium to largish swell for western areas. Local pressure gradients are strong in the north, weaker in the south.


Forecast

On Friday and Saturday the Scotland low shifts quickly away north-eastwards while the other system moves across the north of the North Atlantic and deepens, expected just east of Iceland by the middle of Saturday. A third low appears off Cape Farewell on Sunday and follows the same path as the second one.  Meanwhile, the high currently over the Azores moves steadily northeast, expected over England on Saturday and over Scandinavia on Sunday. Local pressure gradients are moderate in most places.


South Coast of England

Friday:
A tiny long-period swell survives for a short time early morning at exposed spots in the west; otherwise pretty flat, with moderate northwest winds

Saturday:
Very small or flat with light southeast winds

Sunday:
Flat practically everywhere, with light to moderate southerly winds


Channel Islands

Friday:
Some small, lumpy swell at first but goes almost flat everywhere by about mid-day; winds are moderate or fresh northwest

Saturday:
Very small or flat, with moderate easterly winds

Sunday:
Continuing very small or flat, with light westerly winds


East coast of England and Scotland

Friday:
A pulse of north swell pushes wave heights up to perhaps four feet or so at exposed spots, with moderate north or northwest winds

Saturday:
The north swell gradually decreases, dropping to three feet or below at most spots, with moderate southerly winds

Sunday:
The swell continues to drop gradually, becoming very small or flat by the end of the day, with moderate to fresh southerly winds


Southwest Norway

Friday:
Poor-quality short period windseas from the north or northwest, with wave heights reaching three feet or so at exposed spots and strong northwest winds

Saturday:
The surf drops off very quickly, becoming very small or flat in many places, with light southerly winds

Sunday:
Winds pick up to fresh southerlies, generating more poor-quality windseas for south-facing spots


North Coast of Scotland

Friday:
Average-quality north swell with wave heights hitting six feet or so at first before dropping quite fast; winds are moderate to fresh westerlies

Saturday:
The north swell decreases down to nothing and is replaced by an increasing west swell; wave heights around three or four feet, with moderate to fresh southerly winds

Sunday:
The west swell increases and becomes more lined-up, hitting exposed west-facing spots, with moderate southwest to west winds


Western Scotland and northwest Ireland

Friday:
Decreasing north swell mixed with some poorer-quality west swell; wave heights around three or four feet with light westerly winds

Saturday:
The north swell practically disappears, and a new west swell starts to arrive; wave heights hitting five or six feet later at westerly exposures, with fresh southerly winds

Sunday:
The west swell increases and then steadies off, exceeding six feet at westerly exposures, with moderate westerly winds


Southwest Ireland

Friday:
Smallish, messy surf with wave heights around three feet and moderate westerly winds

Saturday:
Small at first but then a west-northwest swell begins to hit westerly exposures, with wave heights hitting six feet by the end of the day, and moderate to fresh southerly winds

Sunday:
The west-northwest swell increases at westerly exposures but struggles to reach southwest- and south-facing spots; winds are moderate to fresh westerlies


Southwest Wales

Friday:
Fast-decreasing swell with wave heights averaging around three feet at exposed spots, and light to moderate northwest winds

Saturday:
Wave heights go below three feet practically everywhere, and winds becoming light southerlies

Sunday:
Very small or flat in most places, with moderate south or southwest winds


North Devon and Cornwall

Friday:
Average to poor quality, fast-decreasing swell with wave heights averaging around four feet at exposed spots, and moderate north-northwest winds

Saturday:
Very small or flat apart from the most exposed spots in the far west, with light southerly winds

Sunday:
The swell increases again, reaching about three or four feet in the west, with moderate to fresh southwest winds


Northwest France

Friday:
Decreasing west swell, quickly losing size and quality, with wave heights averaging around five feet at exposed spots and moderate or fresh northwest winds

Saturday:
Conditions clean up with light variable winds, but the swell becomes very weak, down to below three feet in many places

Sunday:
More swell arrives from the west, accompanied by light to moderate westerly winds


Southwest France

Friday:
Good beachbreak surf with wave heights around six feet and peaky, with light variable winds becoming light north-westerlies in the afternoon

Saturday:
The swell decreases steadily, around four feet or so at first, with winds picking up to moderate north or northwest

Sunday:
Small at first but then some long-period swell begins to arrive from the west-northwest; winds are light north or northwest


North coast of Spain – east of Gijón

Friday:
Average-quality beachbreak surf with wave heights up to four or five feet, hampered by light to moderate northerly winds

Saturday:
The swell gradually decreases, averaging around three or four feet, with light perhaps moderate north or northeast winds

Sunday:
A pulse of small but more-solid swell arrives from the west-northwest, with light northeast winds


North coast of Spain – west of Gijón

Friday:
An average-quality swell that peaked on Thursday decreases gradually, with wave heights up to about six or seven feet at exposed spots and moderate northeast winds

Saturday:
The swell continues to gradually decrease, averaging around four feet or so, with moderate perhaps fresh northeast or east winds

Sunday:
More swell arrives from the west-northwest, smallish but much more lined-up; winds are moderate north-easterlies


West coast of Galicia
 
Friday:
A decreasing west-northwest swell accompanied by fresh to strong northeast winds; wave heights around seven or eight feet

Saturday:
The swell loses its punch, with wave heights down to four feet or below at many places, and moderate or fresh northeast winds

Sunday:
A pulse of better-quality swell arrives from the west-northwest, picking up during the day, accompanied by fresh north or northeast winds


Portugal

Friday:
A west-northwest swell that peaked late Thursday drops off steadily, with wave heights up to six or seven feet at exposed spots and fresh northerly winds

Saturday:
The swell drops off fast, down to four or five feet at exposed spots, with moderate easterly winds, turning north

Sunday:
A small, long-period swell arrives from the west-northwest, and winds continue from the north, moderate perhaps fresh


Atlantic coast of Andalucia

Friday:
Small swell with good conditions; wave heights up to three feet at exposed spots and light variable winds

Saturday:
Winds pick up to fresh or strong easterlies and the swell goes right down

Sunday:
Pretty flat everywhere, with light easterly winds


Long-term prospects:

The upper airstream has now moved firmly north, retaining some of its strength which suggests that a few more lows will track across the north of the North Atlantic. Expect largish, ragged surf in the north and smaller surf in the south. Relatively low pressure over southern Europe combined with a strong high just north of the Azores will also mean north or northeast trades in southern areas.