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by Ed Temperley on Thursday 20th December, 2012 204066 Views
19 of 22
A LOW pressure larger than North America sat and span surf towards Europe on December 16th, 17th and 19th. It wasn't much cop for anywhere facing due west but a little bit of a northerly aspect and you were golden. Just one such place was Northern Spain.
Words and pictures Chris McClean
It was a last minute decision to hit the Basque country. The charts looked like Europe's entire Atlantic coastline was going to get pumping surf, decisions, decisions. We were planning on Ireland but then a couple of curveballs were thrown in and that was off. So I dropped Mundaka regular, Kepa Acero a line, 36hrs later and I'm sipping coffee with him and traveling Chilean surfer Luis Claro and making a plan for that afternoon. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Mundaka is a special place, the walls of the local bars are lined with signed boards and pictures of the the top 44 with the local surfers and staff (the World Tour was last held here in 2009 and no return is planned).
Surfing is ingrained into the culture of this place and it's not hard to see why - a machine perfect barrel unloads on the sandbar and reels for what seems like forever. Claims are quite rightly justifiable here, three barrels sections link up and I'm not one to throw cliques down but legitimately on its day you could catch the ride of your life. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Kepa Acero doesn't do things by halves, a 45 minute trek through swamp, forest and down sheer cliff to find empty waves thanks to Mundaka being off limits during the comp.
"God.... It was so hard to be there watching an all time day in Mundaka." Said Kepa "Epic waves and watching the competitors getting barrelled, it was perfect. I couldn't hold myself anymore it was so frustrating. One of the most dramatic surfing days of my life."
"We need the south winds here in the coast, and it only happened that day. The rest of the time was west winds, which is not bad at all, but you know, after watching epic Mundaka i's like having a beautiful nude woman in front of you for a day and you can't touch her." © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
The southerly Jet Stream meant the swell developed further south than has been typical of recent storms, bringing large swell to the coasts of Portugal and Central Europe and opening up less exposed areas of Ireland, Wales and England normally sheltered from more northerly systems.
For Northern Spain the swell came in from a more westerly direction than is typically seen, stretching out the points and bringing classic contions for those in the know. © 2013 magicseaweed
Fun waves at dawn greet the early bird (and the surfers). © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Waxing up a 7'0 in preparation for the bigger stuff. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
An empty one sneaks through. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Nathan Fletcher fresh from Belharra finds time to carve one off the top. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
But doesn't avoid the dreaded paddle round. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Dane Gudauskas finds a small one. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
The doggy door. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Mundaka lineup, just look at the chop inside the sandbar © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Best day in three years and they call on the Basque Nationals. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
The final coinciding with the low tide and the best pits. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
The view upstream from the lineup. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Kepa Acero turning off the bottom. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
The village which has seen a fair few sets roll through over the years. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
A racy wall welcomes a willing participant, a Munkaka local delicacy. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Even on the small days there are tasty barrels to be had. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
The Basque Flag flies proud in these parts. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
The bars are filled with stories, and wall adored with surfing royalty. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
Post surf 'pintxo' bar snacks unique to the Basque Country. © 2013 Chris Chris McClean
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