Bono - Amazing Waves at the River
Where are the best surf spots in the world? I think popular surfers have traveled the world looking for the best waves and they choose Playa Grande (Costa Rica), Ulu Watu (Bali), Bondi Beach (Sydney), San Clemente, (CA), Taghazout (Morocco), Teahupo'o (Tahiti), Arugam Bay (Sri Lanka), Tavarua Island (Fiji), Bundoran (Ireland), etc. Most of the surf spots in the world are located in the beach. How if you try to surf in the river? Please relax and I want to take you to travel in my country where we can find beautiful surf spot in the river with the best wave. Curious…please continue to read!
Now, I would take you to the Kampar River. Kampar River is located on the Island of Sumatera (Indonesia). It is a well-known river surf spot because of its tidal bore and it known as “Bono”. So, why do the people called it "Bono"? It caused by the sea water from a high tide flowing upstream into a wide and shallow. It moved rapidly and narrowing channel against the normal flow from the river.
That's why almost every surfer has heard about "Bono". So, I'll ask again, do we can surf in the river? Yes, we can surf here in the Kampar Rivers as well as in the ocean. The tidal wave of “Bono” breaking in the Kampar River and it is a bit different from the European river waves like in Munich (Germany). The locals also called "Seven Ghost", like incarnation of the seven evil spirits. But actually, many of boats have sunk in the Kampar River when caught in the bore. So, the local inhabitants are mostly scared when the wave appears.
Bono is an amazing natural phenomenon. Bono attracted many tourist, both local and foreign tourist especially surfer. Bono wave begins with whistling sound followed by the sound of thundering water. The sound grew louder it will be like the boom of thunder accompanied by waves. Tidal Bore is regarded as a natural phenomenon in the hydrodynamics field. It is closely related to the movement of water masses.
In the Kampar River, the mouth of the river is shaped like the "V", the mass of water entering through the wide mouth of the bay and then restrained, until the tide meets the estuary area. The accumulated water then pushed upstream towards some sort of effect that causes intense pressure when passing through narrow areas that are constantly in the mouth of the bay. This situation gave rise to a wave that varies in upper bay, like small waves up to several meters in height.
Bono waves can produce faces up to 10 feet and also offers rides of several minutes. So, this wave can travel up to 50 kilometers if we want riding it. There are several peaks which produced more than 4 hours of surfable waves daily. But the average ride on it lasts about 15 minutes with wave sizes between 2 up to 5 feet. There's a record about the surfer who can ride it more than 1 hour on one and the same wave.
But normally the Bono wave is mellow. So, it’s suitable for intermediate or even advanced surfer. The beginners can also have a lot of fun experience. They can practice surf maneuvers. Some surfers said that surfing the Bono waves is difficult, because of the quantity of mud in the river. Many people said that “bono” waves similar with the Brazilian wave “Prororoca”. Prororoca is a tidal bore that has waves up to 4 metres high that travel as much as 800 km on the Amazon River. How about "Bono"? The sea water is flowing into the river mouth (Kampar River), at high tide. It produces waves together with the flowing river water.
From the pictures, maybe there's a question, why do the river color so brown? It is not caused by pollution. But it caused by mud and also the high percentage of peat in the surrounding area. In fact the Kampar River has good water quality, like in European rivers.
Based on the world research, Bono is regarded as the best river surfing in the world. It is based on the size of the waves and the length of the waves to survive. There's unique thing can happen with "bono". There are 21 pieces of waves can occur simultaneously. So, 21 surfers can ride Bono simultaneously.
When is the best time to surf in Kampar River and find the "bono"? Bono appears only on special days around the full moon and the new moon. Be careful during rainy season, because the Kampar River has more water. It looks stronger and the waves are bigger.
How about accommodation over there? Don’t worry, there's a small hotel situated in the village of Teluk Meranti with 2500 inhabitants. "Mega Lestari" is located on the shore of the Kampar River. The hotel consists of nine rooms and completed with fan cooling. So, this place is great for adventure. While surfing on the river, there are two modern inflatable boats, completed with the pilots will accompany us. There is surf boards rental (several fun-shapes or short boards), with the price about 10 EUR per day.
Steve King with the world record in Kampar River
Steve King, a 48-year-old British surfer has breaking the world record during his 64 minute surf on the giant Bono tidal wave on the Kampar River in Sumatra (Indonesia), and rode a wave for 12.8 miles (20.5 kilometers), in February 2013. Actually, he already holds two world records for long distance surf rides. Steve King is able to conquer the waves of bono on the Kampar River and able to broke his own previous record, riding the River Severn’s famous bore in 2006 (7.6 miles). Steve said that he has been surfing for 30 years and the Bono on Kampar River was only discovered in recent years. So, she has to do it.
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