Surfing the tidal bore on the Gulf of Martaban

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Martaban Gulf tidal bore in full swing. Anthony Colas and team chase it.
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Anthony Colas and team had quite a time trying to make this shot happen.  Timing and precision are everything when attempting to surf a bore tide as big as Lhaine Lone on the Gulf of Martaban.

Shooting Martaban Bore Babel Press
Surfing the tidal bore on the Martaban Gulf. Photo by: Babel Press

Surfing the tide:  Martaban tops out as one of the largest tidal bores on the planet

On the tide-dominated coastline on the Gulf of Martaban, tides can range between 4–7 m with the highest tidal range at the Elephant Point in the western Gulf of Martaban.  The tidal surge, and hence wave, is created by the Salween Sittaung and Yangon rivers emptying into the waters of the Gulf.  During certain full moons and other atmospheric conditions, these moving tides can produce swells that a surfer can ride for miles.  That was what Anthony “Yep” Colas and crew were after.

With a combination of persistence and stoke, anything can happen.  Check out this sweet adventure in Colas’ own words below.

We had a hard time finding a boat, driving like crazy up and down the country.  After seven days of an intense search, two days after the tidal range peak, we finally found a good resin boat.  However, it only had thirty hp.  This would have been decent in a medium bore (1m to 1.5 m) but the Lhaine Lone (local name) is a big one!  It’s peak was probably around 2.3 to 3 meters somewhere down the Gulf which would translate into the World’s Top 5, possibly even Top 3 for largest tidal bore.

We only saw the tail of the aquatic beast, two days after the tidal peak.  Even then, the bore broke at 2 meters at a racing speed of 25 kilometers per hour.

We almost sank the boat.”  – Antony “YEP” Colas

The documentary of the trip will be edited soon by Babel Press in New Delhi.


About:  Anthony “YEP” Colas
YEP since 1995
Maldivesurf since 2004  Safari boats and board rentals in Maldives
Author of the Stormrider Guides (Low Pressure publishing)
NEW World STORMRIDER Guide collector’s edition to be published fall 2017