Surfers ride the storm in Europe
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Winter storms in Europe have brewed big waves off some of the continent's surfing hot spots. The swell at famous surf spot Belharra, two kilometers off the French coast, saw some of the sport's top names fly in from around the world.
Have board will travel
Canoe for two
- Surfers travel from around the world to ride the waves caused by recent European storms
- The low pressure system has caused the so-called "Black Swell"
- French surf hot spot Belharra was a magnet for surfers
- The stormy waters in the U.K. and Ireland have also attracted surfers
Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook
(CNN) -- When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for surfers intent on riding out the waves of the winter storms it's a different story.
Europe may have escaped the icy touch of the "Polar Vortex" which has ravished the U.S. but storms on the continent have rung in the new year with widespread flooding and disruption.
For hardcore surfers this is a time of feast not famine; they are having a swell time.
The low pressure systems sweeping in off the Atlantic have had surfers chasing the so-called "Black Swell," with world class athletes travelling to the west coast of France to ride the waves blooming off the famous Belharra reef in Basque Country.
How water 'energizes' historic surfer
Chasing the next big wave
American Shane Dorian packed his bags and hopped on a jet from Hawaii to join some of Europe's top surfers, including Justine Dupont and Benjamin Sanchis, for a once in a lifetime chance to master the big Belharra swell.
"Belhara take me to your arms," wrote Sanchis on his Facebook page, while Dorian quipped: "paddled into a few at #Belharra today in the south of France."
Although the waters peaked during the night, Dorian and his cohorts were still able to enjoy a surf session at a spot where surfers normally need to be towed out to the colossal waves by jet skis.
French 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu, a keen surfer since hanging up his football boots, also took to the water at Belharra.
On the west coast of Ireland, stormy weather and whopper waves attracted a huddle of surfers to sweet surf spot Mullaghmore Head.
Across the water, the U.K. has battened down the hatches against high winds and heavy rain but even in the comparatively smaller waves lapping the British coast intrepid surfers ignored the safety advice of the Met Office to brave the waters.
It seems if the surf's up then the hardcore ride wavers are out are amongst it.
Read: The biggest wave ever surfed
Read: Kiteboarders evade shark
Part of complete coverage on
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
From LeBron James in a mask to spectacular cycling crashes -- check out some of the best images from the sporting world.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
August 7, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.
April 4, 2013 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
How do you like your sport? Blood, sweat, tears and a nailbiting finish, no doubt. But what about death?
April 5, 2013 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
Disgraced doper Lance Armstrong's quest to take part in a swimming event in Texas appears to have been sunk before he's even hit the water.
Today's five most popular stories