Severn Bore September 06
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When you live in Bristol you can't help but hear about the Severn Bore in the papers or on TV and i suppose it's the nearest thing we have to a local wave. So why hadn't i ever given it a try? Well to be honest i was never good enough too! I had been warned about the tidal surge, the debris and of course the mud banks. And was warned that only the experienced surfer should should try an ride this wave! But after a successful 6 months where i was feeling like i had made real progress i decided that 2006 was the year i would give it a crack. And after talking a couple of people at the Bristol surf club it came apparent i wasn't the only one who wanted to ride it. So on september the 8th we found ourselves driving across the severn bridge to our campsite situated in the Forest of Dean. After quickly erecting the tents in the dark we headed down to the river to watch a night time bore which was predicted around 8.30pm. As we arrived in Newnham i was amazed to see people getting ready to ride it in the pitch black! Anyway the bore came and went and was fairly impressive but it was hard to gain a true perspective of the full size of the thing. Although we did heard cheers from a few flashing headlights on the wave so they were having a great time.

Saturday the 9th of september @ 6.00am, Steve's alarm went off. The bore was due at around 8.35 so we wanted to get there early an assess a few things. After a bacon sandwich which i have to say didn't go down to well (nerves i think!) and a hot cuppa we were on our way to Newnham.

We arrived with a good 40 minutes to go and were soon changed and waiting on the bank. The nerves were kicking in a little by now and after a few minutes of working out how we were going to get picked up by out lovely support crew (Vicky & Kate) we headed down the muddy bank into the Severn.

When you get in the first thing i noticed was how shallow it was. Waist deep at the deepest! We headed across to a nearby sand bank and waited with another group of hopeful bore riders. After what seemed like an age we heard cheering from downstream and the bore had arrived.

As it approached us the first thing i thought was well it's not that big! Am i going to catch it on a 7'9" board? Steve moved away and i turned ready to get picked up by the bore. Suddenly the bore had hold of me and i was up but as soon as i was up i was went down to taste the water. Noooo! The wave was just to small to catch on the board. Steve was also having problems and grounded his board on a sand bank. Right time to get out quick an get in at spot two. But first of all we had to get out. What you can't get your head round is the amount of water following the bore. We soon found ourselves trying to paddle diagonally across the flow into the bank of rushes, which was not easy. And when you did finally reach the bank you had to scramble up muddy banks and through rushes and thorns. After a short walk up the bank we were back at the car and decided to head for the bore Inn.

When we arrived it was obvious it was a popular spot so decided to park upstream and managed to get into the water away from the crowds just after the bend. We waited in the water for around 20minutes in a group of about five of us. Better than the 50 plus around the corner!! When the bore finally came around the corner my ass was playing tunes. The wave had grown to 3 or 4 times the size and was tearing up the far bank.
As it got within 20 feet of me it was just a clean brown shiny wave and i turned an paddled. Before i knew it i had popped up and was sliding around on a clean smooth wave. What a ride!!! And it just kept going! The longest ride of my life by a long way. I even had time to look around at the scenery and smile for a few photo's.

It finally died away from around me an left me to fight the torrents and scramble up the rocky bank into somebody's garden. The owner didn't seem to mind me walking across and was more interested in how far i had ridden it. I soon found myself walking down the A road with a huge smile on my face, covered in severn mud, stinking of gods knows what but loving every minute of it. Stoked is a bit of an under statement. Hooked for life would be closer.

I had surfed the Severn Bore and it felt really good. A classical freak of nature that can produce something so special.

Luck is involved a bit in catching the bore and i had been told previously that you won't always catch it. This was true on the sunday morning of the 10th where i missed it at Newnham and had a very short ride of about 20 feet in the same place i made that epic memory. But it only makes me want more. I have a feeling i will be seeing allot more of the Severn Bore!

************* Click here to see all of the pictures from the Severn Bore September 06 *************
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