The World’s First River Bore Surf Contest

Taming the Silver Dragon.

We’re used to seeing oversized surf logos adorning tents and flags at various beaches around the world to announce the arrival of the circus that is a surf competition. But for obvious reasons, surf contests rarely venture very far from the coast.  Snowdonia’s ill fated wave pool recently held a showcase event to demonstrate its (apparently temperamental) wave making capabilities, but the rides are still on the short side and the machine has yet to be cranked up to unleash it’s full potential.

So imagine the possibilities with a ride that lasts minutes and is easily over head high; well that’s what’s on offer from the Qiantang River Bore, a murky stretch of water that runs through the Eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. When tides and moons align a fearsome brown wave is sent hurtling downstream, earning it the local nickname of ‘The Silver Dragon’. In a nation where being unable to swim is the norm, the giant wave commands almost mythical respect. People have died just watching this wave, in 1992 sixty people drowned while attempting to catch a glimpse of the monster from the river bank, so perhaps the respect is well earned. For the locals, survival, rather than surfing, is the priority. But for a group of big wave surfers the unique draw to what must be the most impressive tidal bore in the world was too much of a challenge to pass up. With the backing of Red Bull the beuracratic hurdles were successfully navigated, allowing the first ever river bore surf contest to take place. And the result? Best watch this…

Tom Keyes

Recently returned to the UK after several years chasing waves in Asia, Tom takes inspiration from living on the doorstep of Cornwall's finest beaches to write articles and features on all thing surf related. Regularly featured on Surfing Sections and The Inertia his work has been viewed and shared by... Read more

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