On the Mission: Chasing Hurricane Larry Across UK, Ireland


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Updated 7d ago

Right now, Hurricane Larry is sending a small but long period pulse of swell to the UK and Ireland and further afield in to Europe. Honestly, it is a welcome release after weeks of flat surf for parts of the UK.

While this swell won't be the biggest ever, (not even close), these are the types of forecasts that 95 per cent of surfers can look at, see themselves on it and plan around. It's a swell that sets text message threads alight, "it's good here", "how was it?" "how big was it?" The kind of back and forth we've all had, trying to find our own little pockets of solace, and eeking out the most out of whatever is on offer. And let's not forget, Larry has broken the deadlock of wave drought for the south west UK, the longest flat spell of the past 13-years and surfers are chomping at the bit for any sign of life in the Atlantic.

And most importantly, this swell is from a post-tropical cyclone, Larry's current state but it's the same hurricane that started life in the Caribbean, hit the east coast of the US before heading over to Europe. This is rarely seen in the UK and beyond -- usually that kind of movements is accompanied by the Devil wind and colossal, rugged surf. But this smaller, manageable if you don't mind a bit of wonk from a north wind. Unless you're in Ireland, in which case, it's pumping. More on that below.

Keep it right here as we document how things are looking from Larry.

🔴Live cam: Fistral

How the US East Coast and Cornwall Share a Connection

Listen up flat earthers. Hurricane Larry has done something miraculous. Something so cosmically unhinged that it's almost baffling. You see, that long range pulse due to hit the UK and Ireland on Monday is from Larry when it was a hurricane (we mention the nuance above).

But what's special is this above graphic. Years ago, Rohan Chabukswar at the United Technologies Research Centre in Ireland and Kushal Mukherjee at IBM Research in India, plotted the longest straight line across the earth. It's important to remember that most of our visions of the earth come from flat bits of paper, but of course, the earth is round. Above, you can see that it is almost possible to draw a straight line from Cornwall to the US east coast, when taking the curvature of the earth into consideration.

And that is how Larry has connected across the Atlantic, because the swell period moved south of Greenland and straight into the UK and Ireland. Let that dazzle, percolate for a moment.

The First Signs of Lazza

© 2021 - Clare James

© 2021 - Clare James

Oh Larry! The UK's Lord and Saviour of wave drought. Its first pulse, a 1ft@20seconds swell, was captured late on Monday, near Perranporth, by photographer Clare James. This thing is due to build throughout the day and then throughout Tuesday and hang around into Wednesday too. "Small but perfectly formed," said Clare.

Monday - Larry's Forerunners

© 2021 - Mike Newman

© 2021 - Mike Newman

Deep in the furthest reaches of Cornwall, Larry's impacts sure were felt. Swell grew from barely surfable in the am, to a fine logging wave by the afternoon. First few images are west Cornwall's own Mike Lay, styling through the forerunners. Final image; decisions on what to ride? Take multiple sleds.

All that Period and One (Alright, A Few) Places to Go

Look at that swell period! Hammering into the UK, Ireland and parts of western Europe today. This is the chart from 6am this morning, where you can see the swell is straight from hurricane Larry [UPDATE: Larry is now a post-tropical cyclone]. Remember though; long period swell means surf could be straight and kinda closing out. If you know of a decent bank, or a point, head right there.

YEAH buoy! Tuesday morning check

Larry's long range swell is in the water and due to build all day. You can keep an eye on the buoy by going here. Or just select your region and dig in from there.

Tuesday AM Gearoid McDaid is On It in Ireland

The Emerald Isle should see playful-sized surf today. And who, we ask, is better for all of us to join the hunt with than one of Ireland's best surfers in Gearoid McDaid (that's Gman, FYI). We'll be checking in regularly as Gman, along with and photographer Conor Flanagan, as they seek and destroy over the next few days.

This Was Not a North Devon Swell -- But When's That Stopped Anyone?

© 2021 - Alan Danby.

Oh! As we've mentioned in the forecast, this Larry swell was mostly for the north and west of Cornwall, Ireland and the far north and west of Scotland. But that doesn't mean a smaller pulse can't be felt elsewhere. A few, likely just keen for some time in the drink, make the most of a small Croyde pulse. Worth a punt if you're in the area and don't mind something floaty under you.

Update: Gman Scores, Of Course

© 2021 - Conor Flanagan

© 2021 - Conor Flanagan

Quick check of The Peak, then fully in there! "Surfed The Peak from 7am, pretty busy, but it's 3-4 ft and the swell hasn't even properly filled in yet," says Gman. "Hoping for some pits for the rest of the day." Us too!

🔴Live cam: Gwithian

West Kernow's Pre-Work Dawn Crew

© 2021 - RT Shots

© 2021 - RT Shots

Sometimes, you just gotta get out there at dawn (or pre-dawn for some). Here, at west Cornwall beauty spot Gwithian, it may have been a bit on the small side in the morning as Larry was filling in, but for those out there this morning, it didn't matter. Blowing out the memory of that three week wave drought with aplomb. Third pic, our at-a-glance forecast for Gwithian. Swell's in the water, but the wind will be problematic. Some shelter may be offered on the higher tide. If you don't mind a bit of a cross-shore breeze, then conditions will be good there around midday as the tide fills in.

Gman and Angus Scotney Find Larry at its most Barreling-est (so far)

A little back of the cam clip to get you pumped. Larry's coming good in Ireland and Gman, along with Angus Scotney, are still on the mission. Vid from Conor Flanagan.

Your MSW Forecast Update; 4pm

MSW forecaster Tony Butt breaks down the forecast into this evening and tomorrow morning: "The swell now arriving in Ireland and the southwest of the UK has been generated by strong westerly winds in the far northwest of the North Atlantic. So the bulk of the surf is hitting Ireland, with Ireland itself creating a swell shadow for UK spots.

"In the northwest, around the Bundoran area, wave heights are currently hitting six to eight feet (see below!) with light wind conditions and the long periods coming into their own at the reefs. The swell continues to fill in tomorrow, perhaps hitting ten feet at swell magnets, with clean conditions in the morning and moderate westerlies in the afternoon.

"In Cornwall, wave heights are still increasing, currently around three feet or so, but with annoying northerly breezes. In addition, many of the beachbreaks don't tend to behave well with such long periods. Tomorrow things could be better, as the swell fills in and periods drop, with clean conditions in the morning and the possibility of light onshores in the afternoon." Larry is now a post-tropical cyclone, as you can see in our chart above. The thing is, swell's still going to be good tomorrow, too. Keep an eye on the North Atlantic chart, here.

Boom. Larry Arrives with a Breeze at Its Back

© 2021 - Mike Newman

© 2021 - Mike Newman

© 2021 - Mike Newman

© 2021 - Mike Newman

© 2021 - Mike Newman

Godrevy. Clean, before the wind spun onshore in the UK. Larry arrived, with that wind behind it later on -- but that hasn't slowed anyone down. Pic 2 and 3 is St Ives-based rippah Tassy Swallow waxing and then digging in. "Tass showed up and ripped," said photographer Mike Newman. "All round, pretty good."

Perennial Above the Lip Activist Harry Timson

If it's hucking into onshore wind, at a slightly funky Cornish beachie you're after, train your lens on Newquay's Harry Timson. Don't look away.

Quiet Corners Yield Frivolous Results...Or Something Profound

© 2021 - Clare James

If you knew where to look that is. Photographer Clare James did this am.

Signing off Day 1

© 2021 - Clare James

Well, that was Lazza! Cornwall eventually pumped with a fairly breezy offshore wind, which swung cross shore as the day and swell built. Ireland though was golden -- stay tuned for that footage which will be coming in over the next few days. It's going to knock you out of your socks. Promise.