[mpora_video id="AAdof2ka86o7"]

Hercules has arrived. No, not the son of Zeus, famous for his wild adventures and enormous strength, but the storm that is sending throbbing purple blobs of gristle and swell to every stretch of coast from Scotland to Morocco. Belharra is breaking at 30 foot and even the most protected kiddie corners are maxing out.

Now here at Surf Europe, we are not about to give you any advice on where or how to tackle this meteorological megafuck. In fact, we have been forced to hand out so many excuses on why we aren’t surfing it, that we’d thought we’d give you the definitive guide on the best excuses for avoiding Hercules altogether.  

My board’s not big enough. An oldie, but a goodie. We can thank Shane Dorian for this one. What with the pig shooter rocking into France to surf Belharra, armed with a 10’6 and a 11’3", if you aren’t sporting a surfboard that weighs the equivalent of two meteorites, then it's just not safe to paddle out. Thank you Shane-O!

It's a shame but my 9'7" just don't cut it.

Post Christmas Blues: “Yeah I would normally paddle out, without hesitation, but the Xmas and New Year holidays have really affected my training. I haven’t swam 100 metres underwater, or carried huge rocks on the seafloor since Dec 21, and so really shouldn’t be surfing half-cocked."

Pre Christmas I was ready. And the retaining wall was almost finished!

The ferries have been cancelled: I was due to go to (insert big wave spot here such as Nazare, Mullaghmore etc), but the ferries were cancelled due to the swell. A real bummer, and you just can’t fit an 11’3" gun, jetski, two cameramen, an inflatable lifevest and a Garrett McNamara blow up doll on Ryanair can you?

I’m on my period: Sure it does lose a little bit of credence if you are a male, and is even a bit lame if you are a female, but who wants to surf 30 foot slabs when you are feeling that hormonal and irritable?

My jetski is broken. I mean I tried to get it fixed in time, but you know how tricky those fuel lines are. Otherwise I’d be towing my arse off. Or at the very least running safety.

You may even if you have to take to it with an axe.

My legrope is not long enough: Okay, okay, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but sometimes any excuse, no matter how putrid, is better than none at all.

My balls are just not big or hairy enough: As a last resort, you can always tell the truth. Its okay if a 20 second period makes your very small testicles tingle. It’s fine if the sight of a 8’6" rhino chaser makes your bum clench. It’s alright if tow surfing is about as far out of your comfort zone as fighting a professional axeman in a cage. Hercules will soon go away, as all storms do, and we can forget about all this big wave bullshit and go back to riding three foot waves and actually enjoying ourselves.

The last wave ridden of the  Hercules swell. Good riddance.

Bob Beaton on Banana 1965