Fear the Big Wave Going Through The Amazon

By Brandon Gaddy

So there is this huge tidal wave called “Pororoca”  which comes up to four meters high and travels 800 km up the Amazon River and other rivers which people surf. According to wikipedia.com this is how the big wave got it’s name: “It’s name comes from the indigenous Tupi language, where it could translate into ‘great roar.’”

When asked about the Pororoca, Virginia surfer Devin King said, “It’s pretty insane because the waves are so huge and it’s dangerous because if you fall in the bad part you can probably die or be seriously injured.”

Joanna Klein of the New York Times writes of the Pororoca, “It comes only with the new and full moons, when the river is very shallow and the ocean tide is high and the water flows in from the Atlantic Ocean rather than the other way around.”  When the river and ocean meet, the Amazon River reverses and the water goes upstream so fast and with so much force.

In Ms. Klein’s article, Brazilian surfer Serginho Laus said, “The river is so dangerous because not only is it a big wave and comes with so much force like tsunami, but you have to worry about the tropical animals like the jaguars, piranhas, crocodiles and snakes, and the tropical diseases. You can’t go alone.  You need to have a crew, with boat pilots and locals that know the way of the river.”

As Mr. Laus says, you can hear the wave an hour before it comes. In 2003, Mr. Laus broke the record by riding the wave 6.3 miles for 33.25 minutes. Unprofessional surfers travel to Brazil to surf or paddle the humongous wave, but Mr. Laus thinks that only professionals should surf it.  “While it might sound tempting for any normal surfer to book a ticket to Brazil to try and paddle into the Pororoca, Laus told the Times that the powerful wave (which can be heard approaching an hour before it arrives) should only be handled by professionals,”  write Ms. Klein.

Well personally, I would never ride a wave as big and with so much force like that because I’m scared of the water and I don’t know how to surf. However, another reason why I’m so scared of doing that is because of the dangerous man- eating fish and animals in the Amazon. I feel like other people would love to surf waves like that and maybe that’s one of their dreams to surf that wave you have to be a good surfer, and I’m terrible at surfing. Mr. King would brave it in the future if he had the opportunity.

“Yes, if I have the money to go all the way to Brazil and there are some big waves,” said Mr. King.

Of course a lot of people are very scared to surf the big waves, so they invite non-surfers and spectators to a  festival as the surfers prepare for it. I find it very interesting that these brave men and women have enough courage to surf the world’s longest wave. “Even if you’re not ready to ride, you can attend one of a number of festivals celebrating the Pororoca in Brazil this spring. The most famous is São Domingos do Capim in Para State. But Mr. Laus said he “prefers the rawness of the river at Mearim in Maranhao State,” according to Ms. Klein’s article.

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