Yesterday we featured a story on river bore surfing in Malaysia, today we bring you news of some bore surfing a little closer to home on the River Severn in Gloucestershire. Whilst not quite the quality of the Benak tidal bore it is nonetheless an impressive site and quite something to be a part of.
The bore is caused by the incoming tide surging into the narrowing River Severn and the funnelling of this rapidly moving volume of water causes the wave phenomenon. The Severn Bore occurs twice daily on roughly 130 days a year and will depend on many different factors. The bore travels at between 8 to 21 kilometres an hour depending on where it is on the river. Depth and width of the river as well as the size of the tide will all have some bearing on the wave.
As someone who has managed to surf the Severn Bore I have to tell you it really is unlike any other surfing experience I have had. Firstly the whole scenario of bobbing around in a muddy river is quite surreal on its own, and then there is the waiting around wondering if anything will really happen. When the bore does approach, you realise that all of a sudden it is very real and that you only have one crack at it.
It is not just the approaching wave you have to take into consideration; it is also the amount of debris that is being carried in the mass of water. Whilst we there we witnessed many branches and trees floating and being carried along the river and even saw a floating picnic bench! There are also many underwater hazards to be aware of, such as tree roots that emerge underwater from the riverbanks.
The biggest shock to me whilst taking part in this bizarre event was how fast the bore travels and once you loose your way on the wave and fall off you are carried along, quite powerless by the surging current, it took a monumental effort to break away from the power of the bore and make it back to the safety of the bank.
Below are a couple of videos we have found from today’s surge, the first filmed at Broadoak and shows the many participants and types of craft that enjoy the occasion and the second was filmed at Minsterworth. Although the wave doesn’t break for everyone in the second video (as the River was already so deep) it gives some idea of the force and speed the bore is travelling at, and it is easy to see why the Environment Agency are warning of flooding along the Severn.
Have you ever managed to surf a River Bore? Feel free to tell us about your experience.