Mar 29 2008
February may mean springtime, flat swell, and winds in the U.S., but in Brazil it’s the beginning of the dry season and the time of year surfers can ride the tidal bore the Amazon, the Pororocoa. Measuring up to 12 ft, the Pororoca is easily the longest wave in the world; it only breaks twice a year in February and March.
Since 1999, local surfers have held an annual championship in São Domingos do Capim. In 2003 Brazilian, Picuruta Salazar, won the event with a record ride of 12.5 kilometers and 37 minutes! It may also be one of the world’s most dangerous.
The massive tidal bore is so powerful that it sweeps up everything in its path, including entire trees and massive debris, and carries it up river. The name “Pororoca” comes from the indigenous Tupi language, where it translates into “great destructive noise”. The wave can be heard 30 minutes before it arrives. Local indigenous tribes see the wave as dangerous and destructive and have always avoided it. In addition, the Amazon has a few other dangerous floating in the line-up you’re not likely to see at your home break, including crocodiles, piranha’s, and poisonous snakes.
The wave varies in shape and consistently at times barreling but more often offering a soft shoulder and a massive, grinding wall of white water. Here’s a New York Times article describing the experience and here’s another account of a UK surfer traveling down to the Amazon to surf the Pororoca.
[youtube 7a_2g6uTDb0 Pororoca, Brazil]