Hercules Hits France
The winter storm that hit North America with icy temperatures, dubbed "Hercules," sent giant swells slamming into the European coast on Tuesday. From Ireland to France and Portugal, big-wave surfers were poised to take full advantage. Australia's Jamie Mitchell got the best of it off the coast of France.
It takes a lot of time and energy to build a 10-foot big-wave board, but unfortunately it only takes one wave to break one. Note the cork used on the top deck: It provides a dampening effect in chattery conditions.
Dorian Finds One
The bulk of the swell peaked overnight, and daybreak reports from Belharra, off the coast of France, groaned that the big ones were few and far between. Apparently Shane Dorian didn't get the memo.
Dorian On Board
Equipped with a quick-inflating device under his wetsuit and a steely grimace, Shane Dorian was ready for anything Hercules was going to throw at him.
Can't Keep Up
Consider this the one that got away. (Sometimes that's a good thing.)
A Little Help
Wait a minute, isn't he allergic to two-strokes? Perhaps when the break is two miles offshore, Shane Dorian makes exceptions.
Prepare For Hercules
Riding the same board he did last year in Portugal at Nazare, Shane Dorian was up before dawn and took special care to ensure all of his equipment was dialed in and ready to go.
Unsteady At The Top
Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. The peak at Belharra is prone to shifting and moving around, which makes getting caught out of position an unfortunate reality.
An 11-foot big-wave gun takes a lot of traction, and Shane Dorian is not about to let something like slippage ruin his reputation as one of the best big-wave surfers in the world.
Jamie Mitchell is the most accomplished paddleboard racer in the history of the sport, but it took everything he had to get into this beast at Belharra.
Coming To Rest
After Hercules had come and gone and the cameras, boards and jet skis were put away, there was a remarkably tranquil sunset along Europe's Western skyline.