The famed Pororoca tidal bore on Brazil’s Amazon River is no easy beast to tame.
When the tide hits the confluence of the Amazon and the Atlantic Ocean just right, it results in waves up to 4 m (13 ft) high that can travel for hundreds of kilometers. This tidal bore has earned a reputation as a surfing hotspot, drawing some of the world’s best to ride the Pororoca for some length.
Previously on KickassTrips we looked at how World-class surfer Picuruta Salazar surfed this wave, that he calls “without a doubt the best wave that God has put on this planet.” This Pororoca ‘God wave’ got its namefrom the ancient Amazonian language of Tupi and it translates as ‘great destructive noise’.
Now all-out waterman and world renowned Stand-up Paddle Boader (SUP-er) Robby Naish was looking for a new challenge. And he thought SUP-ing a ‘God wave’ sounded like one. So he took his gear and went to Brazil. And even on a SUP he managed to surf the longest wave on our planet.
But anybody can ride waves downstream. Robby Naish prefers going against the grain. So he decided to attempt a world record by attempting to become the first person to cut across the Pororoca. And as is common with Naish when he sets his mind to something, the famed water sports athlete, with the backing of Red Bull, recently broke the world record for the widest ride of a river bore on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). He cut across the Pororoca’s daunting tide, and paddled 450 meters (1,476 ft 4 in) over the Arari Pororoca, crossing from bank to bank.
Naish has enjoyed a long and storied career on the water. A 24-time world windsurfing champion — winning his first world title at age 13 in 1976 — Naish has also branched out to kitesurfing and now SUP since retiring from competition.
“A lot of people call me ‘Waterman’,” Naish said. “But I see myself as a ‘board’ person. It doesn’t matter if it’s surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddle, skate, or snowboard. I love the feeling of gliding, whether on water or some other surface.”
Having competed around the globe in his career, Naish received a unique challenge on the Amazon, as the combination of river movements, heat, and the particularities of the massive ecosystem made the attempt a tall task.
The fickleness of the bore itself played a major role.
Due to its tidal dependency, the bore appeared at a different hour each day, with Naish beginning his daily preparations at 6 a.m. across three days of attempts.
“The main challenge with the width record was trying to get from one side to the other as the bore tide wave shifts, because it is never connected all the way across at once,” Naish said afterward. “You weren’t just standing there riding one peak for ages. You had to look at the contour of the side of the river and figure out what to do to follow the wave.”
Naish completed his 450-m crossing in just under 10 minutes, which is way shorter than Martin Strel’s Amazon record, swimming all 3,375 miles of the mighty river in 66 gruelling days. Naish might be the ‘waterman’, Strel rightfully goes by the nickname of ‘Big River Man’
Many times an unofficial world record holder for high speeds and other categories in his windsurfing days, this successful attempt marks Naish’s first fully authenticated Guinness World Records achievement.
“This was the first time anyone has organized an actual challenge and record that we were trying to achieve,” Naish said. “It was neat and exciting, sort of opens the door for opportunities to think about more things that could be attacked from that perspective.”
And, if you ask the 51-year-old, he isn’t done breaking records yet.
Whether or not they have anything to do with board sports is a different story.
“There are definitely possibilities out there with all the things that I do, so I’m going to have a look,” Naish concluded. “I’m definitely going to pull the Guinness World Records book out again and look at what the options are. Grow a big beard or something.”
But then he faces some stiff and hairy competition in the form of Christophe Rehage and his Longest Beard journey.
Pretty damn kickass