With a powerful storm and massive waves on tap, Big Wave World Tour Commissioner Peter Mel called a Green Alert Sunday for the Punta Galea Challenge. The event will kick off Thursday, December 11 with a likely start at 9 a.m. local time and stream LIVE at aspworldtour.com.
Green Alerts are called 72 hours ahead of BWWT start times, at which point the world's best big wave chargers must pack, prep and head to the break. Punta Galea, on Spain's Basque coast, will be the first of the BWWT's season in the Northern Hemisphere.
"I'm thrilled to get the Northern Hemisphere season kicked off," said Mel. "We have been looking at storms that could see all three events in our window go off. But the biggest storm is in the Atlantic, so we head to Spain. We're expecting huge waves for Punta Galea."
The Big Wave World Tour wrapped up the Southern Hemi half of the year with the Billabong Pico Alto in Peru. Hawaiian Makua Rothman won with style and commitment on waves like this 9-pointer in the Final.
Now that the BWWT has begun the Northern Hemi half of the year -- in which three events could run during the hemisphere's winter season -- in addition to watching the storm off of Spain, Surfline has been keeping tabs on the Maui's BWWT site, Pe'ahi, and Mexico's site, Todos Santos. The forecasters look for conditions that will produce waves of 25 feet or bigger, which is required to run a BWWT event and was the case earlier this year for the Billabong Pico Alto in Peru.
The Punta Galea Challenge provided some of the best waves on the 2013/2014 tour. Surfline's latest meteorological reading of the region is promising:
...not only will the storm itself be intense (forecast to bottom out around 936-940mb), but it will also have great support from exceptionally strong high pressure on its southwest flank (1036-1040mb high). This ~100mb pressure difference will set up a very large, very strong fetch of 50-65kt++ wind with widespread seas of 45-55 feet. This is certainly comparable to some of the most intense storms that we saw last winter in the North Atlantic.
With great conditions already lighting up Western Europe and Ireland, XXL submissions have been pouring in from nearby European breaks. And after a recent winter session at Portugal's big wave spot, Nazare, awards for Ride of the Year, Biggest Wave and Wipeout are becoming hotly contested. Check out all the submissions for 2015 on the ASP XXL page.
Should conditions continue to improve and a Green Light is called, ASP will broadcast the Punta Galea Challenge LIVE on the homepage. The window for Northern Hemisphere events runs from October 15, 2014 through February 28, 2015.