A flat spell at your home break can quickly lead a surfer to reminiscing of rides had in bygone times.

How about that time we had it pretty good last fall?  You know, the sessions with 5 mile rides. The one where you could catch the wave right after breakfast and ride it till lunch. Foot cramps from doing so many turns on the standup board. . . .  That was pretty sweet.

SUP Magazine published one of these aerial views of the Turnagain Arm boretide in their winter issue. It drew a great response and they have just posted a follow up on their site – here. Their post includes an edit of some video I shot on the same flight these photographs are from.

Bore fever. It had us in a frenzy. See some boretide surfing history here on Surf Alaska. This winter I’ve been returning to look through these photos occasionally. I still find it totally mind blowing and can hardly believe it myself. But truly, we were getting rides that lasted 5 miles and 45 minutes. There is still an incredible amount to learn about this wave. There has been a long history of pioneers catching the Turnagain bore using all sorts of crafts from surfboards to kayaks. With the recent introduction of the standup board it’s finally turned into something that really interests me.

It’s winter now though, and the arm is filled with chunks of ice making it unsurfable. Come spring, we will be ready to explore other sections of the bore we saw breaking last year.

Till then, here is a collection of photographs I made one morning from my powered paraglider (click the link to learn about my use of this contraption).  This was a sunrise bore with gorgeous lighting and a really nice face.  Sometimes we would score sweet rides like this, other times it would be a survival session as we bounced around in front of a violent and frothing 2ft pile of foam.


The boretide making its way up turnagain arm.

Standup paddle surfers (Dave Calkins, Eric Newberry, Claire Donahue) waiting on the tide.

As the tidal bore wave makes its way up Turnagain arm it changes faces many times reacting to changes in current and water depth. If you don’t like what you are riding now, just hang on, it might be a perfect peeling glassy shoulder in a moment.

Mike McCune, Dave Calkins and Eric Newberry standup paddle surfing the Turnagain Arm boretide

Eric Newberry attempting to catch back up to the wave.

Sometimes the wave goes through a section where it’s too small to stay on it. Or it carries you into water so shallow that it become unsurfable. And then some of us have been known to goof up and fall off. In the event of losing the one and only wave that you are going to see till the next tide cycle (12 hours later) sheer panic ensues. If you can focus that sudden hysteria into your paddling it’s actually possible to catch back up to the wave and get back on it. There are some strategies that help this maneuver a lot, but the main thing is paddling with everything you have. Which is surprisingly easy when you are only a few feet from a seemingly endless ride!

Mike McCune cruising near the end of the ride as the bore fades away.

If you play the course up the channels right and don’t fall off and lose the wave, it’s possible to ride the bore wave till its final moments at the end of Turnagain Arm.

Dave and Mike meet back up after taking two different channels up the arm.

Note: all photos are copyrighted. If you would like to publish them please ask permission. It’s easy, just contact Scott Dickerson.