Amazon river tidal bore

Hoards of surfers are expected to converge on the Amazon River to surf the Pororoca. Photo: Courtesy of Festival da Pororoca

While the best surfers in the world are currently plying their trade at the Quik Pro Gold Coast out in Australia, at the end of this week a slightly lesser-known spot will be teeming with surfers hungry for waves: the Amazon River.

As reported by the New York Times, a tidal bore known as the “Pororoca” (meaning “great roar”) will hit the 4,000-mile long river on Sunday, offering surfers the chance to ride seemingly endless waves in the heart of the largest rainforest on the planet.

Tidal bores occur on the river during new and full moons, when the river is relatively shallow and the ocean tide is high. Water flows into the Amazon from the Atlantic, reversing the river’s flow as water speeds upstream with immense force.

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The largest tidal bores occur during the biannual September and March equinoxes, and with the latter occurring on March 20 (coinciding with a full moon coming on March 23), the waves should be extra large this year. This could potentially set the stage for some record-breaking rides, like the one surfer Serginho Laus caught in 2003 and rode for over 33 minutes and six miles.

And while it might sound tempting for any normal surfer to book a ticket to Brazil to try and paddle into the Pororoca, Laus told the Times that the powerful wave (which can be heard approaching an hour before it arrives) should only be handled by professionals.

“You can’t go alone,” Laus said. “You need to have a crew, with boat pilots and locals that know the way of the river.”

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