For most surfers, a really long ride might last about 20 seconds and cover 50-60 yards, so imagine the thrill experienced by a group of standup paddlers recently when they rode waves for a distance of nearly five miles — amid the splendor of the pristine Alaskan wilderness.
The magical event played out on the Turnagain Arm in the Cook Inlet near Girdwood, thanks to a phenomenon called a tidal bore, caused when the leading edge of an incoming tide pushes against an opposing current or the direction of a river. This creates actual tidal waves.
Tidal bores occur in very few places around the world and the Turnagain Arm exhibits a tidal bore only when conditions are right.
Surfers often try to predict when this will happen. They can ride the waves but with traditional surfboards it’s difficult to stay on them for the duration, because they can suddenly diminish before building again.
However, the advent of larger standup boards, on which surfers use a paddle for propulsion, has maximized the Turnagain bore experience.
Word is spreading, too. In its winter issue, Standup Paddler Magazine (SUP) published an aerial photograph showing Eric Newberry, Dave Calkins and Mike McCune cruising on the face of a bore wave.
Scott Dickerson of SurfAlaska.net captured the image and shot video (both shown in this post) from a motorized paraglider.
On his website Dickerson referenced to “bore fever” in anticipation of the event, and of the session itself: “You know, the sessions with five-mile rides,” he wrote.
“The one where you could catch the wave right after breakfast and ride it till lunch. Foot cramps from doing so many turns on the standup board … that was pretty sweet.”
– Image is courtesy of Â©Scott Dickerson and protected by copyright laws
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