World's Longest Surf Ride: Brit Catches 12.8-Mile Wave
Goes far upstream on Sumatran river’s “tidal bore”
This 12.8 mile river ride was anything but “boring.” Thick equatorial jungle crept up to either bank, baby crocs with unseen mamas flashed their reptilian eyes above the surface, and the only thing between Steve King, 48, and the muddy waters of Sumatra’s Kampar River was a surfboard.
King, a British railway engineer and longtime surfer, rode the tidal wave, known as the Bono, for a record-shattering 64 minutes, going a distance nearly equal to the length of Manhattan, before the wave finally spent itself deep in the Indonesian island’s interior.
The previous record? A 7.6-mile ride up Britain’s Severn River in 2006 by none other than Steve King.
“I’ve been surfing for 30 years, and the Bono on Kampar River was only discovered in recent years, so I had to do it,” said King to British news service South West News.
“The waves go up to 25 mph and reach ten feet, so they are three times as big as on the Severn,” he added.
The Bono is a phenomenon known as a “tidal bore,” in which seasonal high tides cause certain rivers to flow backwards from the sea for miles due to a rapid narrowing upstream. This particular bore, known as “Seven Ghosts” to the locals, first came to the attention of wave riders in 2010, according to SurferToday.com, and is already spawning a small tourist economy around new surf camps.
King is no stranger to this brackish brand of surfing, having ridden the Severn’s bore for decades now, and braving the Amazon’s piranha-filled Pororoca wave in 2011—check out that ride in the video above.