The Bono : unique river waves in Sumatra !
The discovery of the Bono is very recent since it all started in the New Moon period of September 07-13, 2010 when I went to check that unknown river bore with 4 friends, expert with tidal bores. My brother Fabrice who regularly surfs the french « mascaret » since 1998 has been to Brazil's Pororoca with me and England's Severn Bore. Then, Patrick Audoy and french-brazilian longboarder Pro Bagé who visit China's Qiantang River bore in 2007, before the Yankees came there ! And Maxence Peyras, EyeSea Productions, who filmed the whole adventure, which was broadcasted on french mainstream TV on 28 Jan 2011, viewed by 2,5 million people. At the last minute, we were warned about the small daily Bono (the bigger tide range happening overnight) but in fact, we faced 2-8ft face glassy walls for 4 days.
So, I came back with a bunch of other friends on 07-12 December to face the big daily Bono, which probably peaked at 8-10ft face. In March 2011, I became « Event Manager » for a new Rip Curl Search which brought Pro surfers Tom Curren, Dean Brady, Bruno Santos, Tyler Larronde and Ohney Anwar. With 3 Zodiacs, 2 jetskis and 1 chopper, the photo results have been crazily beautiful, including the first-ever barrel rides caught on film (view the gallery).
The most playful waves in the world, garanted tidal surf on time !
Tidal bore surfing is not new. If stand-up surfing started in 1955 on the Severn Bore with Colonel Churchill, it's very likely that bore-riding has been done on dug-out canoes in tropical bores like Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia...If the main surfing communities are to be found in England and France, Brazil is now the cradle of tidal bore surfers, enjoying the endless rides of « Pororoca » in various rivers as Mearim, Capim and especially Araguari.
What you can find on Kampar River in Sumatra is fairly similar to the Pororoca on Araguari river. Despite medium tidal range (4m max), the shallow estuary of Kampar, probably overpowered by an extremely efficient funnelling effect and the acceleration of Malacca Straight, produces up to 10ft face breaking waves. If the Bono can reach barreling momentum for 10-15 minutes, the main course is probably 2-5ft soft peeling waves, allowing dozens of round-house cutbacks, probably best suited for longboarders, paddlesurfers, intermediates surfers and even beginners. The bore breaks up to 4h, about 50 km rides, and each surfer end up surfing 1 hour or so on 4-5 sections. Record time is 1hour 02' by Bagé : a 1h30 continuous ride could easily be achieved soon !