Irish Surfer Ollie O'Flaherty on one of the waves of the day at Mullaghmore, Ireland.

January often brings with it the dreaded blues. Howling gales and lashing rain often do nothing to lift our spirits. But it’s not all doom and gloom. As we’ve seen from the recent swell off the coast of England and west coast of Ireland, bad weather is a big wave surfer’s idea of heaven.

While you might not have the skills to head out and surf 60ft waves, you can jump on the spectator bandwagon and look on in awe as you watch the best surfers in the world take on jaw dropping waves.

The storm, which has been aptly named Hercules, has produced one of the most impressive swells of recent times. The big wave world authority, Billabong XXL, recorded a massive 62ft swell in the Atlantic.

George Karbus captures Hercules at dawn on the Lahinch Promenade, Co Clare, Ireland.

That sort of size is usually reserved for giant Pacific swells, and sent Europe’s big wave surfers scrambling for their boards and jet skis. Created over North America, the storm spun off Newfoundland and intensified due to an extreme temperature gradient, then headed across the Atlantic producing the mega swell.

A host of Europe’s most experienced big wave surfers flocked to the small fishing village of Mullaghmore, in Co Sligo, Ireland to tackle the monster swell. Meanwhile 100s of people gathered on the cliffs above to take in the amazing spectacle. As the storm now moves across Europe, all eyes are on France and Portugal to see if the infamous swell at Nazare in Portugal back in October 2013 can be beaten.

The infamous swell at Nazare, Portugal in October 2013.

The infamous swell at Nazare, Portugal in October 2013.