Severn Bore - four star - 1.6km surf - AWESOME


by Ewen MacGregor
© 2006 E. MacGregor
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Severn bore the full story - (click on links for pics)

Yesterday I surfed the Severn bore for the second time in 25 years. It was a four star (highest is five) and we surfed in two river locations.

At the first point, Newnham on Severn, we got our play boats out of the car and the water from last Saturday's paddle was frozen solid in sheets of ice in the bottom of my boat, ouch I had to take a picture!

Paddling with hand warming pogies, we slid into the 11 metre muddy banks and paddled down steam to meet the wave. It was disappointing and less than a metre high. Jumping out we dashed in the cars joining lots of early morning commuter traffic to head for the ree straight (1.6 km long). Mobile phone discussion on the way ensured we all arrived, however cutting it fine we ran across the frozen fields and seal launched down 10 metre muddy banks to get in.

Almost immediately it came around the corner - a huge roar broken wave of about 1.5 metres, fridges trees, and anything that floated came with the wave adding to the danger of barbed wire fences on the shore. I prayed it would turn green before it reached me.

I picked up the wave in-between three other club boaters and after a few minutes surfing caught an edge, surfing the now broken wave of about 1.5 metres backwards and out of control I ended up in the mushy water close to the bank heading for some big trees. Reacting quickly to point the boat upstream to surf out of imminent danger and away from the trees. That put me on the front wave alone which was now green and unbroken with one lone long board surfer on the other side of the river (other kayakers had now fallen off). It's an awesome feeling surfing up river on a perfect wave.

After what seemed like ages I could feel the wave starting to flatten out as the nose of my boat lifted, I went onto the second wave and managed to stay there for a bit longer and then fell backwards again.

The whole river was now flowing upstream like a big volume river in New Zealand or a European River and I was now amongst fridges, trees and other flotsam. Paddling upstream with the current I looked for a possible get out and spotted a small tree which i hung onto as if my life depended upon it, with help from the long malibou boarder I got out - I was buzzed up all day high on adrenaline - and colleagues were eager to hear my tales when I eventually got into work. I think I will bail on mountain biking on Saturday to have another go.

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