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Over Bridge

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The western bank has become a popular entry for surfing the bore. This is strongly due to the ease of access to the river from the A48 which runs parallel at several locations. Bore riders can therefore get ahead of the wave for a second (and third attempt).

As a result three locations along the river have become most popular with both surfers and canoeists. Excellent rides can be had at all three if conditions are right along with some impressive faces. However, only local knowledge and regular reconnaissance give the surfer an understanding of how the wave will perform. Therefore expect variable performances - what is a good wave one day may be a ripple the next (ask the welsh longboarders about April '99 at Newnham).


Newnham Channel Newnham Channel is one of the first spots where the wave becomes surfable. The Channel runs for over a mile from above Newnham Nab to beyond The White Hart in Broadoak. The Channel is encased by a large sandbank running off the east bank. The wave can be very fickle though, and ranges in height from 1 to 3 feet. A good indicator is the amount of water in the river (low is good) and the amount of surface water spread out in the lagoon opposite the nab (narrower the better). Unless exceptionally large tides it is advisable to stand some way up the channel and allow the tide plenty of time to gather up and reform. The shoulder generally breaks left, though a right can sometimes be obtained off the west bank.

Newnham can be a very crowded spot with both canoeists and surfers and it is wise to observe anyone close to you at all times. Also avoid surfing too close to the main sandbank in the whitewater - on large tides the following current can be very powerful and the rip on to the banks can make the paddle back very gruelling.

There is a carpark at the north end of Newnham with facilities and Jaqui's Cafe for hot drinks. It is a direct paddle out from there onto the sandbank. Booties are advisable as the reeds can be very sharp!

Newnham is an excellent spot for long rides when the banks are right. The Citizen (7th October 1967) documents a ride by Rod Sumpter of 6 miles from the top end of the Channel (by the White Hart) around to Longney! Since the formation of the BRC the longest surfboard ride was by Twinkle Toes in August 2000 surfing around 2.8 miles from the lower Channel to below Rodley (on two consecutive days!).

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Severn Bore Pub

The Severn Bore Inn Now in the river, the wave below the Severn Bore Pub walls up fairly quickly over a mud slab off the east bank, about 250 yards down from the bend. This wave only tends to work on large tides and low levels of freshwater, but when good is very powerful and a great spot to watch wipeouts! Firstly the wave breaks off the bank (barrelling when over four foot) and then sections out into mid river. This is not an easy takeoff and many people have spun out over the falls at its mightiest! The wave then pulls back to the east bank as it rounds the bend. The wave is generally only effective if over three foot off the bank but can break around five foot at the peak of the tide cycle. The average distance of the ride is around half a mile, although people have surfed further when conditions are good.

This wave, also known as Wipeout Lounge can be very crowded. More than a hundred people have been in the water before and with around 50 foot width this is very crowded indeed. Expect boards and boats to go flying in all directions!

The Severn Bore Pub is hospitable and serves a breakfast for bore chasers. There is also a small carpark at the south end of the Pub, and a footpath along the river bank. Entry is a simple slide down the bank (but watch stray boulders on the waters edge).

It takes about ten minutes to drive to the Pub from Newnham and the bore takes around fifty five minutes, so plenty of time for a coffee at Jaq's Caf.

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Over Bridge

Over Bridge Below Over Bridge is a straight running for a couple of hundred yards followed by a sloght bend down to the Parting. The wave forms off both banks below the bend, but tends to be weak in the middle unless a large tide. Low water levels are also important here and it is a good idea to test the mudbanks on the east bank to see where the wave will break. If large the wave walls right across the river. It is important to surf to the west side as this is the only way through the bridges. If the wave makes it to the other side it will continue right through to Maisemore making the total ride over a mile and a half. When small the wave does not connect across the river. Although it may appear to wall up it backs off quickly in deep water 100m down from the railway bridge.

Again this spot tends to get too crowded. In fact too many people to even fit on the wave. Skill and good judgement are a pre-requisite of catching a good ride. Collisions are not uncommon too with canoeists adding to the frenzy!

There is not a lot of space for parking and considering there can be over 200 people on the bridge on a big bore adds to the troubles. As bore surfers tend to arrive later than viewers common practice is to park on the verges wherever there is room (LOCK URE CAR! Thieves have lurked under the bridge!). It is a quick paddle down stream or a walk over the bridge and down the footpath.

It can be a bit of a tight race to make it on time at Over from the Severn Bore Pub, especially if rush hour traffic, but we have never been late yet and there have been some slow trips!

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The Search

OK, so we're only giving out information on three spots and they are the busy ones. But these locations are also relatively safe to surf therefore the most sensible place for someone that doesn't know the river.
The BRC have put a lot of time into learning the wave at different places under different conditions and the success of the search brings its own rewards to each of us. For this reason it would not be fair to reveal all to the newcomer as an important part of the bore experience, connecting with the river, would not be acheived.

Everyone is free to go out there and look, and good luck in your search. Just remeber to be polite on other peoples lands, and close any gates you go through. And at all times show respect for the river, 'cause it can sometimes put on an unexpected display!

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