Sunday, May 5, 2024

The tide in Hangzhou Bay

Tidal bore at the Qiantang River (Hangzhou Bay)
The Bay is known for hosting the world's largest tidal bore, up to 9 meters (30 feet) high, and traveling up to 40 km (25 mi) per hour.
The oldest known tide table (AD 1056)is for the Qiantang River and may have aided ancient travelers wishing to see the famous tidal bore.
The tide rushing into the river mouth from the bay causes a bore which can reach up to 9 meters (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 harbor.

The tidal bore draws in tourists where in the middle of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, there would be crowds celebrating the wave in the "festival of the Silver Dragon" and thousands would line the streets and watch the tidal wave roll in from the sea.
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. 
In ancient China, riding the bore was an important ritual but the practice only existed during the Song dynasty (960–1279) and peaked in the 12th–13th century before becoming banned and lost in time.
Ancient surfers would ride the waves as part of a ritual dedicated to the god of waves or the "Dragon King", and also to help entertain the emperor. 
However the practise later became banned after officials criticised the tattooed surfers or "nongchaoers" as being arrogant people, who neglected their family obligations.
The first person in modern history, documented to ride the bore was Stuart Matthews from England whose 1998 record was riding the bore for 1.9 km.
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 km. 
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". 
It was also the first of its kind surf contest to ride on a tidal bore that was dubbed as the "most unusual wave in the world".

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