Surfing the Pororoca

Relates to Surf and Travel

It has been a serious culture shock returning to England after a week in the Amazonia. The first international meeting of tidal bore surfers from England, France and Brazil was a huge success and a massive thanks must go out to Sergio Laus for organizing the event - a huge undertaking. So, yes I have achieved one of my dreams - to surf the Amazon Pororoca. Surfing the Mearim Pororoca on Sunday 14th March 2005 - Copyright Sergio Laus
Surfing the Mearim Pororoca on Sunday 14th March 2005, Copyright Sergio Laus (More photos of the trip).

The wave on the Mearim was maybe not as large as we expected and the rides were considerably shorter than on the River Severn, but the whole experience is one I will never forget. In the next few days I hope to write a full article of the event, but until that time here a few high points of the trip.

  • Arriving in Forteleza to a real feel air temperature of 36 degrees - and that was at midnight!
  • R$2.00 for a can of beer (Brama, Nova-Schin, Skol) - approximately 40p! While the cost of tobacco was alarmingly cheap?
  • Unexpectedly, appearing on Brazilian Global TV on Day 1 following a surf at Sao Marcus beach as our arrival was publicised, and being quoted in O Estado do Maranhão - the state paper.
  • Watching Steve take the drop to become the first European to ride the Maranhão Pororoca - quite fitting really.
  • Experiencing the jungle on day one of surfing as we waited for 90 minutes on the bank to be picked up while vultures hovered overhead. Potential presence of river sharks and crocodiles prevented us from re-entering the river to paddle with the tide, while fear of Jaguars and other large predators prevented us from venturing inland!
  • Being the first European to take the drop at the Outer Banks on day two of surfing. The wave was a violent foaming 2 metre wall of soup that drove Steve and I bank-ward such that we had to bail for our lives!
  • Getting the long righthander on Cash Points (second bank) to myself on the same morning after Steve and Sergio's first tandem attempt went awry. The shoulder held up around 1.5 metres for approximately another 1km providing plenty of time for manouveres and arguably delivering one of the longest rides of the week - since we picked up the wave right on the re-form after the narrow channel.
  • Relaxing on the river bank after the morning surf at one of our boat driver's holiday home, sampling cocount milk and a number of other sweet and savoury fruits from his garden.
  • Scoring the largest wave of the trip on day 3 at Outer Banks - a shoulder averaging 2.5 metres. Certainly the most powerful wave I have ever experienced on a river.
  • Watching Fabrice finally get a nice long left to himself in the narrow channel after two days of frustration with engineering problems and being stranded alone on the bank.
  • Appearing on Arari radio with the rest of the team.
  • The Brazil versus Europe football match on Saturday evening at the local indoor stadium. Having been announced on local radio, we were greeted on arrival by a vast sway of screaming girls - very brief bizarre moment of idolatry!
  • The Arari night life on our last night, including large consumption of Brama, a mix of techno and samba music at the local night club and my introduction to the very beautiful Maria :)
  • Meeting an excellent crew of boatmen and surfers from Sao Luis, including the ever comedic Glauco - our principle guide - and of course Sergio, Noelio and Junior.
  • The copious amount of rice, spaghetti and beans that were ritualistically consumed twice daily following a slice of corn sponge cake and water melon for breakfast.

In short the atmosphere could not have been more friendly. We were the first white-skinned Caucasians to visit Arari which clearly created considerable fascination with the locals of the city who were most welcoming. We shared lunch with the Mayor on day two as Sergio pushed forward his case for Pororoca tourism in the area, as well as being accompanied by the Global TV network for the first two days. As with any excursion to surf a new tidal bore, the adventure was more than just a sports holiday - it was a life changing experience which has seriously altered my outlook and world view. To see people living with such simplicity in a city which might be classed as third world yet with no worries and a constant smile on their faces vividly demonstrates the fallacy of material wealth.

The trip has also created a new community of bore riders beyond the friendship that already existed between us and the Mascaret crew for a number of years. This bond has been strengthened and now our family of muddy river folk has grown to include the very talented and skillfull shortboarders of the Pororoca. Sometimes communication across languages can be a barrier, but the universal language of tidal bore surfing brings everyone together as we all share the same passion and the same understanding of what it means to ride the waves generated at the end of a process initiated by gravity.

Auera Auara!

Posted on Thursday, Mar 17, 2005 at 19:25:50.

Comments on Surfing the Pororoca (5)

α comment

Can I be the first to put my name forward to be on the next excursion! Looks awesome what an amazing experience, some good photos? Just had 6-7 ft glassy perfection in Fuerteventura recently,but would give it up in a flash to have had that experience. Well done guys

Posted by Golden boot
Friday, Mar 18, 2005 at 11:32:51

β comment

hey golden bootie! will we be seein ya back on the severn in april ??? fuerte sounded pretty spot on, but think the brazilian girls would win me over ;)

Posted by Lone Wolf aka Toes
Monday, Mar 21, 2005 at 00:13:47

γ comment


Has anybody a video, what I can download? I have seen a documentation on tv.

just Great

Posted by Turtledancer
Monday, Aug 22, 2005 at 08:56:07

δ comment

Hi, i have just finished designing and writing this site, about Homes in Fuerteventura I thought i should ask some true fuerteventura fans?surfing is great in fuerteventura..but what do you think of the site?let me know

Posted by Fuerteventura Homes
Wednesday, Oct 05, 2005 at 15:04:35

ε comment

Pororoca es el sueño para cualquier surfer. Correr una ola interminable en el río debe ser una experiencia increible.

Posted by Maxicalzon
Thursday, Feb 02, 2006 at 11:43:23

Breadcrumbs Trail

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