I checked the forecast for home at LAX en route back from Hawaii and was disbelieving of the massive North Sea swell predicted. In our neck of the woods, swells like this are rare but sure enough, this time it materialised, meaning it was on for the local crew at a couple of spots.
Back on Tyneside, Sandy made the call and fuelled by coffee and jet lag, we left early. I'd shot there from the water when it was big with jet-ski backup in the past and hardened by my stint in unruly conditions on the North Shore, I was keen to swim again as we drove.
As we passed the CCTV cameras, graffiti and shut down industry, the contrast with Hawaii was stark in my mind. At the end of the road we parked and stood in the biting wind as the first bomb set smashed through the line-up. I was humbled as the vicious power of the waves became clear and my intention to swim out now seemed ridiculous. Sandy said “There’s a few, eh?” and one of the most brutal sessions of a classic winter was on.” Lewis Arnold.