St Francis Bay surfers ride China’s Silver Dragon river wave

By Bev Mortimer

Photo of Silver Dragon wave,  with Dale on jetski and Billy on the wave

For the second year in a row St Francis bay surfers Dale Staples , aka Ducky, and Shaun (Billy) Payne are riding in the World’s first Tidal Bore surf competition called the Silver Dragon Shootout on the Quiantang River which runs through the city of Hangzhou.


These intrepid and adventurous local surfers were invited to participate again this year after surfing the gigantic wave last year. Today they won the qualifying round with Billy achieving a 10 barrel and Ducky scored two 8s.
The pair will now be in the ‘Finals’ tomorrow representing Team SA in China and will be up against Team France and Team USA/California at 2 pm tomorrow (South African time)

According to Wikipedia the river and Hangzhou Bay are known for the world’s largest tidal bore.

photo of landscape tidal wave by gwydionwilliams – originally posted to Flickr as 2009_07_21_DSC04892, CC BY 2.0,

“The tide rushing into the river mouth from the bay causes a bore which can reach up to 9 metres (30 ft) in height, and travel at up to 40 km per hour (25 miles an hour). Known locally as the Silver (or Black) Dragon, the wave sweeps past Hangzhou, menacing shipping in the harbour.
“This is the world’s largest tidal bore, a long breaking wave known as the Silver Dragon which sometimes reaches 30 feet high.
“In August 2013, the tidal bore turned out stronger than expected due to Typhoon Trami, reaching more than twice its usual height as it broke on the flood barrier, sweeping it and injuring numerous spectators.
“There have been attempts to surf the tidal bore. The first person to ride the Bore was Stuart Matthews from England. The 1988 record was 1.9 km by Stuart Matthews.Then, in October 2007, a group of international surfers brought by Antony Colas, did several attempts, one wave being ridden continuously by French Patrick Audoy and Brazilian Eduardo Bagé for 1h10min, for 17
“In September 2008 a group of American surfers convinced the Chinese government to allow them to surf a section of the river.
In November 2013, Red Bull held the first surf competition on the river, called the Qiantang Shoot Out. The bore is considered the most unusual wave in the world for a surfing contest.”

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