The World’s Biggest Bores – And Where to Surf Them!

Category: Travel Tips
Date Posted: 2013-10-18

In the surfing world there are waves, and then there are bores. These are what every avid surfer dreams of riding, as a tidal bore is a special wave that is created by the incoming tide while it travels up a bay or narrow river against the currents direction. This phenomenon then releases itself in a breaker that is anywhere up to 15 ft, and in some places it can be ridden for 20 miles. To capture your spirit for adventure, here are some of the biggest bores in the world, and where to catch them.



The Bono, Sumatra

The Bono, which can be  found on the Kampar River at Teluk Meranti, Sumatra, is one of the most awesome bores you will find anywhere in the world thanks to the sheer size of it  and its ultimate perfection. This is the only bore where surfers have been able to actually ride inside the barrel and get out alive! This is certainly not a bore for the faint hearted as it is located in one of the most remote parts of Sumatra on a river that is packed with crocodiles and snakes, not to mention the mosquito infestation. That said, catching this bore could be the ultimate adrenaline rush for hard core surfers.



Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

The Silver Dragon China

The mighty Silver Dragon bore rises from the Qiantang Jiang River in China. The bore is caused by the river contracting as great speed from 100km within the bay to just a few metres causing the river bed to rise rapidly at the same time. These features combine to create the largest, and most feared, bore in the world. Most commonly known as the Silver Dragon, it is also known as the Black Dragon, and its unpredictability has claimed the lives of several brave surfers over the years. Experts have also dubbed it one of the 7 Wonders of the World, and few surfers would disagree with them.



Photo Credit: Araguari by ronaldo_ribeiro, on Flickr  

Araguari Pororoca Brazil

One of Brazil’s largest rivers, the Rio Araguari, is the home of the tidal bore known as Araguari Pororoca. This river is not, as many seem to think, a tributary of the mighty Amazon, it is completely independent. As the river spills out into the Atlantic Ocean, the ‘sedimentary basic’ stretches far out into the sea and witnesses have said that the bore forms as far as 10km out before heading down the river. The wave can break up to 25km inland and since 2001 this river has been considered as the spiritual home of tidal bore surfing with surfers travelling from across the globe to try and tame this beast.



Severn Bore at Minsterworth 9/9/06

Photo Credit: Severn Bore at Minsterworth 9/9/06 by Anguskirk, on Flickr  

Severn Bore Gloucestershire

Now how many of you expected to see a British bore on this list? Not to mention the fact it isn't in the UK surfing Mecca of Cornwall. The River Severn is one of the longest in the UK and this is where the bore forms. The Atlantic Ocean, which is the source of the world's largest tidal range with waves reaching 15m in some areas,  feeds the Severn. The drastic diversity of  the Atlantic tides produce a tidal bore which travels in erratic patterns for up to 50km inland, ranking it amongst the longest of all the tidal bores. The chance of a 50km ride is what attracts surfers to the Severn Bore, and that is one heck of journey!



Turnagain Arm Bore Tide

Photo Credit: Turnagain Arm Bore Tide by musubk, on Flickr  

The Turnagain Arm Tidal Bore, Cook Inlet Alaska

The Turnagain Arm Tidal Bore is generally considered to be the most picturesque of all the worlds’ tidal bores due to its location. It sits in a glacial fjord in Cook Inlet, which is to the east of Anchorage in Alaska. This region boasts the second largest of the North American tidal ranges and reaches up to 12m. This bore can travel for as long as 5 hours along its well travelled path, and a whole host of amazing wildlife, including Beluga Whales follows the bore as it makes its journey up the bay. It's a long way to travel for a bore, but those who have conquered it say it is worth every minute.

Any surfers with a bucket list should have these tidal bores on it. Those who don't should make one pronto and make sure these are the top 5. Those who have mastered the art of the riding the crest of the wave on a lightweight, elongated platform will inevitably look further afield to satisfy their thirst for adventure, and tidal bores tick all the boxes as far as the surfing fraternity are concerned.


The life of the surfing junkie very much revolves around 'have board will travel' and these mighty bores are certainly worth the effort. Tidal bores are considered to be one of nature's harshest tests for mankind, having the guts to take these on is another thing of course, but those who feel the need for speed, and adrenaline, will have a real trip of a lifetime tackling these.


Feature Image: Wiki Commons