Fred Hamilton cresting a wave at Sombrio Beach.

Fred Hamilton cresting a wave at Sombrio Beach.

Boarders board a two-hour super bore

Sooke resident Fred Hamilton surfs a 29 km bore, then co-coordinates a record-breaking ride.

Sooke surfers are an adventurous lot, and they sure do get around.

Fred Hamilton, who recently strayed from Sooke to find work in Halifax, co-coordinated a group of surfers who set out to break a boarding record: a 29 kilometre, two hour surf board tour on the Petitcodiac River, which is located in south-eastern New Brunswick. Hamilton, along with fellow surfer Yassine Oulihal, got this grand event off the ground.

“I was actually back in Halifax on ship for the last six weeks and my friend Yazzy and I decided to pull the trigger on this long term project we’d been toying with for the last 10 years,” writes Hamilton in correspondence with the Sooke News Mirror.

“We went up on reconnaissance mission to scope it out and actually surfed it before all the media hype, just the two of us, down river from Moncton where no one could see us. Our goal was to return to surf this river time and again in the future on days where the ocean was flat.”

Together, Hamilton and Yazzy got the surfers involved, and before they knew it, the event had turned into a media frenzy.

“A report I requested confirmed that (the) story was covered in the Canadian media 172 times this week (74 times on national TV; 58 in news websites; 20 articles in national daily newspapers, etc.), and the story was viewed (or read) by 22,534,250 Canadians (we have 34 million people living in Canada!),” said Hamilton. “This is just unbelievable!”

Having already surfed the bore on the earlier reconnaissance mission earlier, Hamilton decided to put his talents to use on the Sea-doo.

“As much as I would have liked to have been the one surfing it the whole way, we needed my skills on the Sea-doo for safety on the first days, picking surfers up, jumping ahead of the bore and putting them back into the wave. Had we had more Sea-doos and more trained operators, things would have been different.”

According to the city of Moncton’s media monitoring site, this puts Hamilton and Oulihal among the first surfers to ride the Petitcodiac River.

The Petitcodiac River has a unique tidal bore, which is a tidal phenomenon where the leading edge of an incoming tide forms a wave that travels up a river. Recent restoration of the river (it was dammed in the 1960’s) has caused this tidal bore to return. At one point, before the damming, it could reached a wave of two metres.

Hamilton enriches the history lesson: “The installation of a causeway … essentially dammed the river, creating a lake above it and killing the river below it. Over time, the tidal bore almost disappeared, and was nicknamed the ‘total bore.’ David Suzuki and other prominent environmentalists have covered the tragedy and pollution concerns over the years and this river became a sore spot for New Brunswick and particularly Moncton.”

Since 2010, the river has been allowed to flow agaon. And slowly — but much quicker than the anticipated 20 years — the bore is returning to the Petitcodiac River.

Bores occur in only a few locations worldwide. The wave grows during a full or new moon.

Thanks to the efforts of Hamilton and Yazzie, along with the four surfers who rode the wave under media scrutiny on July 23, Moncton may well become a new surfing destination.

Hamilton references a letter he received from Ben Champoux, the Moncton Director of Tourism, following the event.

“This week, you guys brought the river back to life, you gave the river back its soul, and gave our people back their pride!   Simply put, you changed the course of history for our community!”

More than 1,000 people lined the shores near Moncton to watch.

A video of the surf is available to watch at http://youtu.be/lYPPuzcncBw

The next super bore on this river is expected to occur in August, 2014. When asked if he plans to surf it, Hamilton responds, “By August 2014, it will be too crowded for my liking! I’ll be moving on to the next project….”

We’ll be watching.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read