Surfing the Silver Dragon: Hanging ten on Hangzhou's Qiantang tidal bore

by Aimee Groom
Posted: September 10th, 2010 | Updated: July 25th, 2012 | Comments
Surfing the Qiantang Tidal Bore, Hangzhou People have been gathering on the banks of the Qiantang River in Hangzhou on  the 18th day of the 8th lunar month for the past 2000 years to bear witness the bizarre phenomenon of a wall of water, up to 9 meters high, thundering past. It actually happens once a month on a much, much smaller scale but on this particular day,  the heavens align, gravity takes a step forward and the waters surge with a vengeance through the narrow bottle-neck of the Hangzhou Bay. The Qiantang tidal bore is the largest in the world and it has been causing a sensation since the days of the Tang Dynasty. Known as the Silver Dragon, the noise of its turbulent waters is said to be like the hooves of a thousand horses that can be heard from miles away. It was only in 2008 that a couple of American big wave surfers convinced the government to let them get out there and ride the beast—raging along at 40km per hour it breaks for over 30km, giving plenty of opportunities to pull some rad moves, and now it's an annual event pulling in thousands of spectators. Wabsono and Surfing China have just have just announced which surfer dudes will be taking on the challenge and it'll be Haiwaiian big wave chargers Jamie Sterling and Mikala Jones, Endless Summer co-star Robert "Wingnut" Weaver of Santa Cruz and Mary Osborne of Ventura, co-star and longboard winner of MTVs "Surfer Girls" show—she's the first surfer dudette to hang ten with the dragon, and I'm sure she'll give the boys a run for their money. The Qiantang Tidal Bore event takes place on September 23rd to 25th in Hangzhou, China. It's a popular time to visit the city, so we recommend booking a Hangzhou hotel in advance. If you're going to be in the area, it's certainly well worth a look (with or without surfers) and certainly not something you see every day. Although visible from the banks of the river in Hangzhou, it is far more dramatic in Yanguan, a small town (with a picturesque old section) about 40km northeast of Hangzhou. You can get there by bus from Hangzhou's East Bus Station (20 RMB). The most popular viewing spot in Yanguan is from the Guanchao Resort Park, which costs 20RMB to enter, but any spot on the bank is as good as another.
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