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Picture of the week: Riding along on a crest of a wave

By Maureen Coleman

While Northern Ireland battened down the hatches against this week's "weatherbomb", adrenaline junkie and surfer Al Mennie braved the treacherous conditions to catch a huge wave at Ballycastle.

High winds battered the North Coast on Wednesday, causing massive swells and prompting warnings to the public to stay away from the shoreline for the course of the day.

But for Mennie, the thrill of the ride proved too tempting to miss and while the rest of us sought out the warmth and safety of our homes, the Portrush-based professional surfer made the most of the opportunity to take to the high waves in winds of up to 80mph.

The stunning photograph of man versus nature was taken by Charles McQuillan of Getty Images.

Surfing in stormy conditions is nothing new to Mennie, who is regarded as Ireland's most dedicated big wave surfer.

Across the UK and further afield, the coastline came under attack from the weatherbomb, as a deep low pressure system moved slowly eastwards between Scotland and Iceland.

Waves as high as 40 ft were recorded off the Donegal coast on Wednesday and beaches and seafronts at Benone, Ballintoy and Ballycastle were all flooded as the weather wreaked havoc.

At Portstewart, a jogger and dog walker were swept into the sea but both managed to scramble to safety. In parts of Europe, coastlines were also lashed by the monster swell. In beaches dotted along Portugal and Spain's shoreline, big wave surfers joined Mennie in spirit, by risking their lives on the massive waves.

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