Severn bore surfing enthusiasts brave icy conditions to catch those super waves

Dozens of surfers braved the icy weather to catch those spectacular Severn bore surfing waves that can, if you are lucky, take you up the estuary for miles at up to 13 mph (21 kph).

The Severn Bore is a tidal phenomenon that occurs when the incoming tide pushes against the current which is travelling in the opposite direction. The result is a wave that can travel considerable distances. Surfers love them.

The Severn bore starts off slightly upstream of Sharpness and can reach up to Maisemore, and with super tides much further, even as far as Upper Lode Lock below Tewkesbury.

Surfing Severn Bore

Surfers will come out in all weather conditions to catch those super Severn Bore waves.

The two largest tidal ranges in the world – about 15 metres (49 feet) – are in North America, at the Bay of Fundy and Ungava Bay. The Severn Estuary’s is the third largest.

Moon and Sun in rare alignment

We are currently in a period of super tides. This is because the Moon and Sun have moved into a rare alignment where their combined gravity pulls extra hard against the oceans. Their combined pull is now stronger than at any time during the last 18 years, meaning that in 2015 tides will be larger than normal.


TheocAir, a company that sends drones into the air to take spectacular pictures, has captured some fantastic video footage of the Severn Bore and scores of surfers catching waves.

In its blog, a member of TheocAir wrote about his trip to the Severn Estuary:

“As it was a lovely sunny morning today I popped down to Newnham on Severn and then Minsterworth to catch the Bore and the crazy people who decide to try and surf it.”

“I class them as crazy not because of the size of the wave but because to get there I had to scrape the ice off the car and people were wearing bobble hats and gloves, while many brave folks decided it was still OK to jump in the river.”


Surfers captured on camera by the TheocAir drone.

UK caught in super tides, storms, floods and blizzards

Last weekend and Monday have seen several flood-causing factors converge in the UK. Apart from super tides, which on their own can trigger flood alerts, a storm has come in from the Atlantic, bringing with it heavy rains, gale-force winds, and blizzards.

The Environment Agency has issued several storm and snow alerts across the country. It has warned of blizzard conditions that may cause travel chaos well into Tuesday.

Strong winds of up to 60 mph and significant accumulations of snow are forecast for northern parts of the country. According to the Met Office, parts of Scotland could see up to 8 inches (20cm) of snow.

Rececca Yussuf, Sky News Weather Producer, said:

“There will be gusts of 50-60mph around the coasts and hills in the North and West. Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England will see fresh accumulations of snow, especially over the higher ground.”

“The Scottish Highlands can expect significant accumulations of 10 to 20 centimetres (four to eight inches) overnight. There is a risk of travel disruption, with icy stretches on untreated surfaces, and the strong winds will also create blizzard-like conditions over the hills.”

Northern Ireland, the northwest of England and Scotland have been issued yellow “be aware” alerts that last until 3pm on Tuesday.

Video – TheocAir drone films Severn Bore surfers