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Monster swell bashes Europe, lights up French reefs

Benjamin Sanchis (left) & Shane Dorian © Laurent Pujol / Billabong



Big Wave Updates

Belharra in the Basque Country of France opens up for paddle-ins

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 January, 2014 - After the giant storm that swept down the coast overnight, conditions calmed down during the day and offered the opportunity for a 'super' session. A handful of surfers including Shane Dorian, Benjamin Sanchis and Justine Dupont of the Billabong team took to the aquatic mountains of Belharra.

Shane took two good waves, one with Benjamin Sanchis (as shown in the picture). It was the largest paddle-in surf at Belharra ever recorded. Billabong would like to extend a big thank you to the tow-in surfers who stopped surfing to allow paddlers to tackle some giants.

The storm has been one of the most impressive weather events in and out of the ocean this year. "Biarritz Grand Plage was quite the scene this AM – one big wave slapped the restaurant under the casino and smashed it up pretty bad," said one local resident. "The sand was right up onto the promenade, lots of concrete, people, barriers and seats were displaced all over the place."

The French press reports a woman in Biarritz was swept away by a wave. She was walking along the coast near the lighthouse. Police were also investigating the possible disappearance of a homeless man on a beach.


Meanwhile in Portugal on Monday Nazare went huge but was too stormy to be surfed. We'll keep you posted with updates if that changes...

More to come as this story unfolds…

Nazare © Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

In the UK some landmarks face damage from the high surf.

An 18th-century harbour watchtower, a well-known rock formation and a Victorian seafront shelter were among the casualties as waves up to 30ft high pounded the coast of Britain yesterday.

In Portreath, on the north Cornish coast, a stone lookout known as the Monkey House was smashed to pieces by a wave described as the size of a four-storey building. Parts of the 200-year-old harbour wall, a Grade II-listed structure owned by Cornwall Council, were also washed into the sea.

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