Archive for January, 2016

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The tidal bore wave roaring down the Amazon river was stuck in my head. Local tribes named the Pororoca – meaning ‘Great Thunder’ – because of the sound the wave makes. It can be heard 15 minutes before it comes into sight. Trees and other debris are swept along the river making it a threatening site. Alligators that frequent the water disappear as it approaches. Piranha scatter.
In the absence of a scientific explanation, local tribes fear the wave and have made up stories to explain its occurrence and fury. For surfers however, it is a mesmerising site. As the river narrows the surge of water condenses and picks up in height. As the bottom of the river becomes shallow it forms into a breaking wave that follows the contours of the river for miles and miles. For me, as each day past I preferred to use this as an escape from my life trauma. I researched the wave and tried to track down anyone that could give me information that could put me there. As with all endeavours, the louder and more persistent your knocking is, the more doors that open for you. Slowly, evidence started to surface that this was possible. Contacts materialised. An expedition organiser was found. Money was discussed and dates made. Due to the accuracy of measuring tidal movements and full moons, the exact date and time of the next wave was chosen. September 7th.

Four months to go.

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IMG_3405Pororoca Part 1
The world’s longest wave first made an impact on me in the form of a large screen in an Australian pub. Looking for a break from my struggle with depression and life problems I was standing in a bar surrounded by people 20 years younger than me. On a large screen was an aerial view of a surfer riding on a wave.
No eyebrows raised there.
Then the shot panned back and on either side of the wave were rolling green fields. The wave, with the surfer on it, kept going… and going… and going.
I stood, transfixed at the natural phenomena that I was seeing. You see as a surfer this is a dream come true. A wave that doesn’t stop. The discussion with the person next to me informed me that it was somewhere in South America. He had seen a documentary on the National Geographic Channel. His interest turned to matters of the other sex but I was transfixed. Somewhere deep inside of me I made a decision that would change the direction of my life for ever. One that would take me to the other side of the world and into one of the most remote places on the earth. An area where time stands still.
The longest wave in the world takes some time to get your head around. It rolls down the Amazon River only twice a year: once in March, and once in September. It is the result of the tidal flow of the largest river in the world when it meets the incoming tide of the ocean. Combined with a full moon, the moving bodies of water clash and form a tidal bore wave. Scientists call it a “hydraulic jump”. At this point, I had no idea it would help to put my problems into perspective.

Pororoca Part 2 Tomorrow.