Riders on the Bore
If you’re a regular at Kingsurf, you’ll know by now how much Pete loves a bore – and no, he doesn’t have a weird thing for dull people. The Severn Bore, a tidal river surge, runs from Avonmouth through to Gloucester, and Pete’s been surfing it for years. He even proposed to his wife whilst riding it. Do you even know how a tidal bore starts? Where do they happen? And have you ever seen someone getting barrelled by a bore?! If not, read on!…
A tidal bore is a surge in a river, travelling the opposite direction of the river’s current, created by an extra strong, large tide. The river needs to be relatively shallow, funnelling through a narrow outlet to sea. These giant tides, like we have here on the beaches of North Cornwall, are called Spring tides, and usually coincide with a full moon, meaning that the moon’s pull is at its strongest (creating higher high tides than usual) and it’s weakest (meaning the lowest of low tides), in that particular lunar cycle.
The biggest tidal bore in the world occurs in the Qiantang river in China, travelling at an average of 25mph, with waves growing to a height of nine metres! Longboard legends, Robert “Wingnut” Weaver and Chloe Calmon, went out there to try and tame the legendary “Silver Dragon” as it is known to the natives. Who knew you could hang-five in a river, eh!?
The Bono, a bore in the Sumatran river Kampar, is another favourites of the pros, conquered by the likes of Tom Curren & Bruno Santos.
A bit closer to home, the estuary of the river Severn has the second biggest tidal range in the world. For the enthusiasts who chase the near 260 bores that travel up the Severn ever year, a star-rating system is used, to see the likelihood of a strong or large bore, reaching anywhere up to three metres in height. In 2006, the Severn saw the new world record for length of time a bore has been ridden on a surfboard, by a gentleman named Steve King, riding it for one hour and seventeen minutes. Doesn’t it seem a little ironic, him having such a familiar surname? It might be fate!
Pete is keen to get all of us instructors up to Gloucester for a bore this Autumn. Maybe we can set the first record for a whole surf school riding a bore at the same time! Watch this space…
Huge thanks to the legends at www.theservernbore.co.uk for the epic photos!