Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pororoca



Twice a year, between the months of February and March, the Atlantic Ocean waters roll up the Amazon river, in Brazil, generating the longest wave on the Earth. The phenomenon, known as the Pororoca, is caused by the tides of the Atlantic Ocean wich meet the mouth of the river. This tidal bore generates waves up to 12 feet high which can last for over half an hour.



The name "Pororoca" comes from the indigenous Tupi language, where it translates into "great destructive noise". The wave can be heard about 30 minutes before its arrival, and it's so powerful that it can destroy anything, including trees, local houses and all kind of animals.
The wave has become popular with surfers. Since 1999, an annual championship has been held in São Domingos do Capim. However, surfing the Pororoca is especially dangerous, as the water contains a significant amount of debris from the margins of the river (often, entire trees).


The record that we could find for surfing the longest distance on the Pororoca was set by Picuruta Salazar, a brazilian surfer who, in 2003, managed to ride the wave for 37 minutes and travel 12.5 kilometers. A surfer’s dream: riding an almost never-ending wave.

Surfers have only recently realized the extreme challenge of surfing the “Pororoca”, despite the fact of the large risks involved; ship waste and wreckage, poisonous snakes, to name just a few. This massive wave gives them the chance to surf and stay on their boards for an extremely long time.

The Pororoca is not at all predictable; sometimes the wave allows the surfers to cut huge turns, as if they were on the ocean, while other times it lets them drift.


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