While most of the world stays bundled up during winter storms, a select group of extreme adventurers, photographers, spectators and professional surfers use the winter surf to their advantage to ride and witness some of the biggest blue swell seen so far this season.
While spectators may be taken aback by the intensity of big waves, extreme surfers hunt for epic swells throughout the year.
This week’s wave reports indicated there would be so much “black swell” in the Atlantic that it had surfer Andrew Cotton, 34, debating up until the last minute whether he’d be jumping in a plane to Portugal or catching an early morning ferry to Ireland.
Cotton is working with EpicTV to create a documentary about his search for the biggest wave.
Cotton decided on Mullaghmore, Ireland, a well-known big wave surfing destination, once he realized the shore would be hit with good wind and waves of up to 40 feet.
“The wave breaks in shallow waters like a slab or rock. It’s really scary,” Cotton said. “Anxiety and fear happens getting ready, but once you’re in, the game’s on.”
All along Atlantic coastlines, photographers snapped surfers taking on blue giants, capturing the extreme waves that came along with the bone-chilling storm this week.
ABC News’ Elara K. Mosquera contributed to this report.