mascaret or severn bore advice needed

19 messages - 18925 views

he bore riders website is now in effect Donny Wright's blog, which he uses to advertise his (very good) dvd "Longwave" about tidal bore surfing.

The day-to-day chat happens here

If you want to post anything there, let me know and I'll sort out registration.


Thanks kidderllidder, missed it this year as my timing and family responsibilities at the family wedding in Scotland blew for either the Severn or the Mascaret, ad Igather from what I put together the coefficients of everything in April and May would have resulted in a non event.Was that so? I would have hated to have met the bores equivalent of you should have been here yesterday!Welcome to the Atlas I 'll keep posting so on my next trip to Uk I can be assimilatedsmileThanks for the rego offer will sort that with you shortly.Reciprocal stuff if you head out to OZ.

Happy old fart!

"You shoulda been here yesterday" was def February... here's the bore from my footage mugging one of my mates, who should have known better. Just goes to show, on a wave that's 20+ miles long, anyone who says it was rubbish is talking out of their back passage, because things change...sometimes fairly quickly. Always ..ALWAYS heavier than it looks.

March was pretty fragmented because the river was unusually low. All those sandbanks were exposed..loads of drag/shoaling tends to break up the head wave, which then needs a further distance to collect into one solid wave again.

The tides were small in April, but powerful enough to throw me and my 2m+ body up and over a 5 ft wall.. screwed cruciate ligament, screwed small bones in forearm/wrist... out of the water for a couple of months.. whatever.. any wave where you don't pay your dues from time to time probably isn't all that.It isn't that it's that fierce, it did that to me because A) I was experimenting with a rather dangerous launch position for a very dramatic section.. this one

And B) I'm a bloody awful bodyboarder anywaybig_smile

One day I may well get over to Oz. I have a sister who lives around Sydney (Allambie), and a contact up the coast in Port Macquarie..a few more will never go amiss.

I'm just finishing up here at work, then I have 5 days camping down by the river with the tides.

If you need to, you can contact me here, but I'm only here because I stumbled upon this thread while looking for something else... I'm on MSW under the name of bigfeller, or on that youtube link.. that's my channel, so you can leave messages there.

The wave is under threat, so I have been given the job of spreading the word about it across the net amongst surfers... although we have our secrets, visitors are very welcome on the long as everybody plays nice ( and they usually do) anybody who finds a decent section has by definition earned the right to surf it. You will never find a more mellow crew. Pay us a visit next time, and don't underestimate the small tides.


Hi Kidderrllidder, we're with you on protecting unique surf spots check my comment on the spot list for the bore. Pleas add whatever you feel will help us to help you.If you're a lidder then Pt Macquarie ids the capitol of lidding in Australia and Alambie will put you close to Dee Why point and the northern beaches of Sydney just getting amongst it at those spots will raise you above point B.See Ya I'm going to cruise your links and will report back and thanks for the advice on small tides. smile

Happy old fart!

I'll take you up on that and maybe post some links about the nature of the threat over the next few days..Thanks for that.

We've just had some big tides, peaking at 10 metres on Friday and Saturday nights. The river was too low to allow the lower,wider areas to produce the goods, but the upper stretch needs a low river to work well. As I said, the daytime tides were significantly smaller, and as we had advertised it pretty widely as part of our campaign, the river was rammed. Here's a tidal bore education for you...

This was the first time my wife, working the camera, has ever seen it. She said to me " It's huge!" I said, "No, that's a fairly average wave for this section" She replied " Not the wave... the whole thing! Look at all that water behind it".

Spot on. That's why we find such a small wave entertaining. It's 12 miles thick. If you get in the way of it, even if it's only a few inches high, you will quickly learn a lesson in humility if you underestimate it.

We call this section the Straight Mile. The guys on the right are all bore regulars, and that's me in the Hi-vis jacket (stewarding the tide fest) making bad noise.

The night tide generated a much bigger, faster wave.

You have a few small tidal bores in Aus, but they're all in salty country I'm told.

p.s. A word about boards. I know nothing about stand-up surfing, so this is just what I've heard. Volume is more important than length...less salt in the water = less buoyancy. The volume is most easily found by getting hold of a tough 10 footer, something like a Bic would be a common choice...not your valuable custom, because there's a good chance of a few dings.

Steer clear of valuable fins too. Many places are very shallow, and you will find that the leading edge of your fin will be sanded for you by the river, and will probably have a flattened leading edge. One of the regulars uses 4 small homemade aluminium fins on an extra thick 7'10" board, soft rails, square tail, no rocker. He has been racking up the miles on that thing over the last year. He also uses another board with a sort of fender on the front. This isn't for nudging stuff out of the way, it's to help avoid pearling, which is the most frequent method of screwing up a launch.. Think about that...paddle in...stand...NO BOTTOM TURN if there's people around you, and the water right under the nose of your board is travelling back towards you, because it's a river... the tide is shoving the back end INTO an oncoming current. I'm told the square tail helps withstability, because all that white water is churning very hard indeed...can be REALLY violent. That's also why you see so many guys proning it when the going gets rough.

My bodyboard is a custom , made with the river in mind, and taking into account that I'm a big unit. Extra thick, 2 stringers, bat, parallel 60/40 rails, deep channels to hold steady in the rough stuff and 48" long. Fast in a straight line, but unless I have some good speed on it, it takes a bit of muscle to turn hard.


Thanks Kidderlidder your advice is really helpful I would have comein cold on some of those need to know skill I imagine you see the the tourist getting humbled regularlybig_smile.Nice to see you too, I think I might plan for a festival more all round fun.Your right about the Australian Bores in North Western Australia soe of them are supposed to be be quite intense but no-one has ridden them as the croc and the shark fight over who is going to eat what and no-one has actually done much researchGood to know how to save my board repairssmileI think I'll make a video documentary of my journey and preparation to come to the bore.I'll write to the bore club and anybody that might like to be involved or should be involved for permissions and advice also to publicise to an Aussie surf audience like Surfrider Foundation the threat to the bore have you added your comments to the Spot of the Bore here on the Atlas there are two sections you could use one on the bore and one to endangered surf spots.Thanks, I'm coming to be bored

Happy old fart!

Nice one Kidder! Appreciate the input mate - me thinks it time for a Severn Bore Spotlight Update Newletter. Do you have any shots you would be happy for us to put out in it? I will get all of this in the page and updates ASAP

-The House-

..Do not

I'll see what I can find with regard to pics,although I tend to focus more on video footage.Just a quick note...busy at work.On your spot details, it states the wave is biggest on the outside corner. That's incorrect...INSIDE corner, where the river is more likely to deposit silt,creating a nice little bank to push everything up.

In the widest areas, below Epney, the wave can be bank to bank when its on form, which can be as much as 800 metres.

Some websites list the bore as starting at Minsterworth. That's rubbish...and so is Minsterworth as a spot..There IS a good little bank at Minsterworth , Church Rock. This spot is strictly eye candy only.. I'll dig out a photo later that will explain it. It's pretty dangerous for scant reward, so the regulars tend to leave well alone.

The standard first spot is Newnham on Severn...actually a section called "Boatyards" for pretty obvious reasons, about 500 yards downstream of Newnham car park ( convenient location, toilets ,snack wagon...what more do you want??)

A fairly average ride is 6-800 metres. A lot of guys are really only in it for the distance rides, and most of the regulars would rate 800 metres as pretty short. The guys who really know the river tend to be looking for rides of several miles. These days, I'm more interested in quality than distance. Even though a metre high wave doesn't sound like much ( which this site correctly lists as an average height), if it's clean, you can get a lot of turns in on a ride of even 800 metres. And it's nearly always powerful. Even if you find yourself cheek-by-jowl with a group of surfers, just gliding that distance will get you well stoked...and no matter how many times I ride it, it still brings a smile to me, surfing a mini tsunami through the english midlands , past pubs, villages, farms and so on.

And if I haven't mentioned it yet, as long as you're business like about getting out and back to your car ( not always that easy getting out quickly.Powerful current. Sometimes a long walk back, but that would be a sign of a successful ride) you can expect to get ahead of it and try up to about 3 times on each tide. Most launch spots offer the possibility of at least a mile long ride.


Ok, photographic resources. Well like I said, I'm not really a stills photographer. I like shooting video, so you will find plenty from me on youtube. My channel is "neilandfi".

Now this is the Newnham section, looking downstream towards Boatyards. But first, a little story. Although it's my home wave, and although it's typically only around a metre ( it will get bigger than this at somepoint on every run of the tide), this wave scares me more than any other.Why?

History and experience, thats why.

Once you're in the river, and you've taken position, you are committed. If a triple overhead wall of foam comes blasting around the bend, you won't get out in time.It'll hit you,even at places where you have a long view like this photo below, because getting out doesn't happen quickly. But what are the chances of anything like that happening?

Tidal bores are notoriously unpredictable. In 1606, Jan 30th, the Severn bore came upstream as a beast, simply off the scale. It passed Cardiff as a 10 metre wave, and even on this stretch it was 10 feet over the banks. Over 2000 people died. It seems that something like that, a supertide, only happens every few centuries. But even so, a friend of mine Stu Ballard tells me of one occasion only a few years ago when they guys had surfed it lower down (here in fact) and it was ok, normal sort of stuff. Then they went upstream about 5 miles for the second bash. It came ploughing around the corner as a bank-to-bank six foot wall of foam doing about 20 knots and just rolled over the top of the lot of them. Why? Who knows. I've ridden a foamball of around 4 feet and it takes all my weight and strength to prevent the board being flipped sideways,which would then lead to the tide rolling over me...and when it does that, it doesn't let up. You can't just wait for the surge to ease off like you can at sea. You have to work for the surface. because when you wipe out like that, it just keeps coming at you.

And THAT'S why I find it scary at times

Anyway, Newnham, with a medium sized tide approaching in the distance.

And when it came past me, this was what it looked like

Same tide, further upstream about an hour later. As per usual at this spot, all the action is on the far bank. This is a fairly average tide, and the boat shows you the scale, the Bore at something like shoulder to head high. This spot is often hollow. And it usually looks like people it's a rarity to see it like this.

Now for some stuff from someone who knows how to use a camera, Mark Humpage. I use these pics WITH permission. If you want to do the same, ask him..his details later.

Remember me telling you that we don't surf at Minsterworth because it's rubbish, except for Church Rock, which is dangerous?Well the saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a complete novel from a great set of tides about 3 years ago. Check out the sequence.Work out the storyline for yourself. was fine by the way. A few bruises for sure, but he walked away.I think the moral of the story is that it's ok to know how to snake and manouever, but it's even better to look where you're going.

Mark is no surfer, so his eye is not always drawn to the same sections that surfers are interested in, but he's a fantastic photographer who devotes his time to getting shots of weird and extreme natural phenomena. This is a link to his Severn Bore portfolio.

I have seen some other fantastic images by surf photographers, but I'm afraid I don't have permission to show them to anyone.


You must be registered or logged in to post to this topic. Login/Register