In the ancient Amazonian language of Tupi, pororoca translates as ‘great destructive noise’. This noise refers to the emergence of a massive tidal bore in the Amazon, that rolls in once a day and once a night for a period of about three weeks, every year around February/March. The crashing, churning wall of water can reach up to four metres high, travelling 13 km inland, and dashing any trees and houses in its path to smithereens.
World-class surfer Picuruta Salazar calls it ‘without a doubt the best wave that God has put on this planet.’
And of course this wave had to be surfed. When surfers first went to surf the pororoca in 1996, the locals, in tears, pleaded with them not to do it. Naturally, they tend to keep a respectful distance from this legendary monster. Not so for the world’s surfer addicts.
In 2003 a group of surfers travels for days into the depths of the jungle to battle this greatest of waves.
Bill Heath’s 2003 documentary about this adventure, Pororoca: Surfing the Amazon, captures this kickass adventure about heatstruck surfers, high on malaria pills while battling with piranhas and a riverwater full of debris from the shores of the river (often entire trees).
The Brazilian Picuruta Salazar defies all of the dangers riding the wave for an incredible 12.5 km lasting a full 37 minutes. The longest time ever captured on tape riding the wave is also by Picuruta, lasting a kickass 43 minutes, making it the world’s longest wave!