Updated: Wednesday, 08 January 2014 05:18 | By Agence France-Presse

Giant wave surfers flock to southwest France

Big wave surfers hit southwest France Tuesday as the Belharra monster waves crashed onto the Basque country's Atlantic coast, creating swells of up to 15 metres.

Giant wave surfers flock to southwest France

A man surfs the Belharra giant waves some two kilometers off the coast of the French basque country town of Urrugne on January 7, 2014

The wave, one of Europe's highest, builds up over relatively shallow rocky coastal water more or less regularly, but primarily in autumn and at the end of winter, depending on wind speed and tides.

From early Tuesday morning dozens of surfers tried their luck riding the waves, watched by photographers and video makers on as many boats.

The Belharra has been a must for big wave surfers for over 10 years and has reached 18 metres (60 feet) at times.

The coastal area close to the Spanish border was on Monday and Tuesday put on orange alert amid threats of flooding.

In Biarritz, a woman was swept away by a wave as she was walking along the coast near a lighthouse on Sunday. Police was also investigating the possible disappearance of a homeless man on a beach.

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