Surfing the Severn Bore


by Ewen MacGregor
© 2006 E.MacGregor
 > Paddlers' Stories Index 

"Last Wednesday was a three star Severn bore which is basically a wave that flows upriver and I took a morning off work to have a splash.

A seal launch down thick muddy banks and planed the boat onto the brown sludgy water. Well I have not surfed the bore in over 25 years and heard this roar as birds left the trees and several large trees floated past while we waited! In a little pyranha play boat borrrowed from an old friend at chelteham canoe club ( 

Butterflies does not describe how I felt. The wave came round the corner onto our one mile straight and was green in centre and broken at edges. I started to paddle and lean forwards, shot down the wave as the whole river rushes towards you. Awesome feeling as the icy water made me grip the blades strongly.

I soon got the feel of the boat and did some lip turns and was able to surf up and down while looking at my two mates either side of me. After a few minutes I had Jim banging on by left side in his boat, what the! The board surfer had decided to change sides of the river and knocked us both off the wave. We surfed the behind waves for a few minutes but it was over and we were now on a steam train of a river going upstream. A tricky get out and long walk back through the fields, but a fantastic wave and surf.

Keen to go again as there bigger four star bores next month. Also been invited on a River Dart trip which can be grade 5, so will keep you posted (think I need some warm paddle gear though and pogies!)

See also:

> Paddlers' Stories Index
> Canoeing in Western Australia