For all you stand up paddle boarders out there that have refined your flat water skills and want to take your skills to the waves then please take a look at our basic wave guide. All of these types can be found here in the UK and also in the South West.
Beach Break – The beach break is where the waves break on the sandy seabed. This type of wave is the best to start surfing on. This is the most common type of break found in the UK. Good examples of this would be Fistral Beach, Newquay or Bossiney near Tintagel. This sort of beach break is great to learn as the sand is usually quite forgiving even on your beloved paddle board.
Point Break – The point break is a wave that breaks onto a rocky point. A good example of a point break is Bells Beach in Australia. In the UK we have Lynmouth or Millock near Bude.
Reef Break – The reef break is a wave that breaks over a coral reef or a rock seabed. These waves are usually the classic ones that you can see on the surfing videos. These waves can be unforgiving if you happen to wipe out badly, but they can be the most rewarding in their perfection. Porthleven and Thurso East are some of the best examples.
The other types of surf able waves are found on rivers. The most famous of all is probably the Severn Bore is one of Britain’s few truly spectacular natural phenomena. It is a large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet.
The Severn Bore (one of 8 in the UK) is one of the biggest in the world but bores also occur on the Seine and Gironde in France, on the Indus, Hooghly and Brahmaputra in India, on the Amazon in Brazil, on the Petitcodiac, New Brunswick, and also the Knik Arm bore at the head of Cook Inlet, Alaska. By far the biggest bore in the world is the Ch’ient’ang’kian (Hang-chou-fe) in China. At spring tides the wave attains a height of up to 25 ft (7.5 m) and a speed of 13-15 knots (24-27 km/h). It is heard advancing at a range of 14 miles (22 km).
The shape of the Severn estuary is such that the water is funnelled into an increasingly narrow channel as the tide rises, thus forming the large wave. The river’s course takes it past Avonmouth where it is approximately 5 miles wide, then past Beachley and Aust, then Lydney and Sharpness where it is approximately 1 mile wide, and soon the river is down to a width of a few hundred yards. By the time the river reaches Minsterworth it is less than a hundred yards across, maintaining this width all the way to Gloucester.
Other UK rivers that also have bores are as follows;
The River Dee, England / Wales
The River Dee has a tidal bore which attains heights of between one to two meters which can travel up to sixteen miles inland from Connar’s Quay in Flintshire, Wales, where it’s five mile wide estuary narrows to a mile wide channel, sending waves surging through to Chester Weir in the City of Chester in Cheshire, England.
The River Eden, Cumbria, England
This ninety mile long river in Cumbria has a tidal bore which can attain heights of around one meter which travel at speeds of up to nine miles an hour between it’s estuary on the Solway Firth in the Irish Sea through to Wetheral Weir in the village of Wetheral in Cumbria.
The River Great Ouse, Cambridgeshire / Norfolk, England
East Anglia’s one hundred and forty three mile long, River Great Ouse, has a tidal bore colloquially known as the Wiggenhall Wave. The bore attains a height of around one meter and travels between it’s mouth at Kings’ Lynn in Norfolk to the Norfolk village of Wiggenhall, a distance of about ten miles.
The River Kent, Cumbria, England
Known as the Arnside Bore, this twenty mile long river has a tidal bore which occurs between it’s river mouth on Morecambe Bay through to the Cumbrian village of Arnside, one mile away. The bore can attain a height of up to one foot and takes just over two hours to travel the one mile to Arnside.
The River Lune, Lancashire, England
Small rolling waves of around a meter high have been located on this river between it’s mouth at Lancaster on Morecambe Bay in the Irish Sea through to the coastal village of Snatchems, a distance of about three miles.
The River Mersey, Merseyside / Cheshire / Greater Manchester, England
England’s seventy mile long, River Mersey, has a tidal bore which attains a height of around five meters and travels at speeds of around eleven miles an hour, between it’s mouth on the Irish Sea at Liverpool Bay through to the Cheshire town of Warrington, a distance of about thirty miles.
The River Nith, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
This seventy one mile long river located in south west Scotland has a tidal bore which can attain a height of just under one meter. The bore travels at speeds of up to six miles an hour between it’s mouth at Kingholm Quay on the Solway Firth through to the village of Glencaple, a distance of about three and a half miles.
The River Parret, Dorset / Somerset, England
This thirty seven mile long river situated in south west England has a tidal bore which can attain heights of up to two meters and speeds of up to six miles an hour as it makes it’s way from it’s mouth at Bridgwater Bay on the Bristol Channel through to the Somerset market town of Bridgwater, a distance of around three miles.
The River Ribble, Cumbria / Lancashire, England
The River Ribble is tidal from it’s estuary on Lancashire’s Irish Sea coast through to Fishwick Bottoms, situated between Preston and Walton Le Dale, a distance of around eleven miles, where slow rolling waves of around one meter high can regularly be seen.
The River Severn, England / Wales
The River Severn bore is the world’s second largest tidal bore. This mega bore can attain heights of between ten to fourteen meters and travel at speeds of between eight to thirteen miles an hour, The bore is one of only three in the world which can be surfed, due to it’s five mile wide estuary on the Bristol Channel narrowing to a mile wide channel as it makes it’s way through to Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, a distance of about twenty five miles.
The River Trent, Midlands / North East England
The Trent Bore, also known as the Trent Aegir, attains a height of between one to two meters and can travel at a speed of about twelve miles an hour, from it’s mouth on the seven mile wide, Humber Estuary, through to the Lincolnshire town of Gainsborough, some fifty miles away.