Watch Robby Naish rip up a wave… in a river

Windsurf legend Robby Naish has ridden a lot of waves – but few like this. Join him on the Amazon.
By Josh Sampiero

Waves have names, and those names have meaning. Sunset, Pipe, Jaws… all pretty easy to figure out. The tidal bore wave known as Pororoca, which travels up the Amazon River in Brazil, is no different. 'Pororoca' means 'a great roar' in the local indigenous language – and it often roars for 800km up the river. It's the perfect place for incredibly long wave rides.

"This was, by far, the longest wave I’ve ever surfed. I’ve tried tidal bore waves before in Indonesia and France, but to be able to ride a wave for almost two miles was amazing”, says Robby Naish, 24-time world champion windsurfer. “I’m in the middle of Amazon, being able to know a complete different place, new people, a new kind of wave, that I wouldn’t ever know during my windsurf career. So, I’m pretty stoked to be here.”

The scientific explanation is that it a tidal bore wave generated by the meeting of the rivers flow with the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The wave is said at times to be strong enough to rip 10m trees up from the roots, and is associated with the world record for the longest ride on a surfboard, at 43 minutes. The biggest hazards? Not rocks, reefs or sharks, but the high amount of sometimes very large debris in the water – as in, entire trees.

For Robby, this ride was simply about expanding his horizons. “People usually call me a ‘waterman’, but I see myself as a board-rider. A waterman would like diving, and I don’t; they would like fishing and I actually don’t even like to eat fish!” says Robby. “It doesn’t matter if it’s windsurf, surf, kitesurf, stand-up paddle, or event skate or snowboard… I like to stand and ride something. What's cool is that in my windsurf time I wouldn’t be able to come to a place like this, as there is no wind here, so the SUP board opened up a great new opportunity!

Watch: Robby Naish on JAWS, the original big wave spot

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