Nature doesn't do gender politics. Nor any other kind, thankfully.
So it might seem strange that a recent study by the University of Illinois found that greater loss of life was likely to result from hurricanes and tropical storms that are assigned female names -- the rationale being that they are taken less seriously.
Lamentable -- this being the 21st century and all -- but the stats bear it out.
So when a mother of a North Atlantic depression, a veritable dartboard 932mb low, formed across almost the entire North Atlantic last week, with 100mph-plus winds howling a wicked fetch that screamed all the way from Newfoundland's Grand Banks to Spanish territorial waters, it should come as little surprise that European bureaucrats failed to reach a consensus on a name.
Paris-based public forecasting service Meteo France dubbed the storm Marcel, while the British public was calling her Doris (affectionately at first, before she blew trains off their tracks and wrought travel chaos). As it turned out, the UK's own Met Office didn't officially give the storm a name, due to a dip in windspeed by the time the storm made landfall proper.
Meanwhile, surfers Europe-wide -- from underground locals to aspiring Championship Tour pros, to to international big-wave legends -- were simply calling it "all-time."
Purple blobs on winter WAM models typically send continental swell chasers south, to where thick belts of swell energy can refract and regale in warm, sunny conditions, without the inclement winds and weather associated with the storm generating all the excitement.
Doris (or Marcel) was no exception. Pros like Qualifying Series standout Ramzi Boukhiam and 2017 Championship Tour rookie Leo Fioravanti headed to Ramzi's native Morocco in search of pointbreak perfection at Safi. Some of the Nazaré stalwarts headed to the Azores in search of mysto bombies, before hitting the North African coast themselves.
Canary Islanders, on the other hand, stayed exactly where they were, and got greeted with some of the most perfect big-wave paddle conditions in recent memory.
"This swell was so big and clean, it was crazy," reported Canary Island photographer Ehedy Ginory. "It was probably the second-biggest swell we've had in recent years, after the one we had last October, but by far the cleanest. The big clean days are what everyone is waiting for these days. Everyone is paddling the big swells now, tow teams have pretty much become extinct here."
Meanwhile, as the first major pulses of swell found their ways into every nook and cranny, the storm begun to momentarily lose impetus, only to be joined by another hurricane-force low, and redouble its efforts.
Forecasts being what they are these days, almost 20-20, the wise had stuck around for rounds two and three. Among them, they don't come much more savvy than former Eddie Aikau winner and certified hellman Ross Clarke-Jones, who chased Doris' spoils from Morocco to Ireland and then back down to Nazaré.
Ireland's premium big-wave breaks were way too close to the maelstrom and blown to smithereens for the early rumblings last week, as was much of the continent, but as the swell came again early this week under more settled conditions, the infamous Mullaghmore turned on for a hardy crew of paddlers. So when Clarke-Jones had has his fill of endless rights in the desert, his attention turned to bombing lefts off the Emerald Isle, before rounding off his time in Europe nicely at the now infamous Praia do Norte, Nazaré.
So when the North Atlantic settled down and a much more normal service resumed, (today was 6-to-8-foot and perfect in Hossegor) storm-naming discrepancies seemed but a distant memory.
And as headline images and clips continue to flood in from all corners, the only debates left to be settled will be those performed under the auspices of the Billabong XXL Awards judging panel.