Spectacular Severn bore waves enjoyed by scores of surfers this weekend

A UK drone photography company took some spectacular video footage of keen surfers enjoying bore waves moving up the Severn Estuary, the estuary of the River Severn, the longest river in Great Britain.

A bore, bore wave, or tidal bore, is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of an incoming tide forms a wave which travels in the opposite direction of a river’s or narrow bay’s current.

The Severn bore forms somewhat upstream of Sharpness and reaches as far upstream as Maisemore. On particular high tides it can reach as far as Upper Locke Lock below Tewkesbury.

Severn Bore Surfers

A drone captured some super images of surfers on the Severn Bore this week. (Image: TheocAir)

The Severn Estuary has the world’s third largest tidal range – about 15 metres (49 feet) – exceeded only by the Bay of Fundy in North America and Ungava Bay in Canada.

During the highest tides rising water is funneled into the Severn into a wave that travels up to 13 miles per hour.


TheocAir, a drone photography company, took this fabulous video footage of surfers (below) taking advantage of the “super tide”, which is also bringing fears of flooding in Severn estuary areas.

A member of the TheocAir team who took a drone down to the Severn Estuary, wrote:

“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 have come out in record numbers, despite freezing morning temperatures.

Why do super tides occur?

Super tides occur when the Moon and Sun move into rare alignment, thus creating a very strong gravitational pull. The combined gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun occurs more frequently in the spring. Their combined pull at the moment is at an 18-year high, meaning tides this year will be larger than normal.

Several flood-causing factors have converged this weekend in the UK. Apart from super tides, a storm is sweeping in from the Atlantic – the two together will significantly increase the risk of flooding across the country, the Environment Agency has warned, especially along coastal areas.

The Environment Agency warns of super tides, gale force winds, heavy rain, snow, storms and flooding, probably continuing until Monday.

TheocAir Video – Severn Bore