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


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Evelyn O’Doherty
Evelyn O'Doherty, owner & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0, worked her way up the ranks in the world of stand up paddling. A former surfer gone rogue, Evelyn stepped onto a SUP for the first time in 2009 when a plaguing neck injury kept her out of the water from surfing. Discovering the core benefits and expanded perspective on the water that stand up paddling brings, Ev immediately was hooked. She became a strong SUP racer in the North East and a year-round SUP surfer, gathering multiple top brand sponsorships including becoming a team rider for Starboard SUP and a national ambassador for Kialoa, as well as celebrating all aspects of the sport with additional brand ambassadorships including lululemon athletica, Clif Bar, Cobian, Kaenon & Indo Board. Her love of watersports and commitment to advocacy in preserving our marine environments led to a short film made with The Nature Conservancy as part of their Clean Water initiatives on Long Island, NY, called "A New Perspective". Evelyn just keeps paddling. Today, she's stepped up to take over the helm at Standup Journal after having worked for the magazine for 2 years as senior online editor. Her dedication and belief in the power of print to immerse readers in the watersports they love even if they don't have access to the water in a daily existence plus a powerful desire to spotlight the amazing people doing rad sh*t on the water is what drives her vision for Standup Journal 2.0. Evelyn welcomes the conversation about how to make the magazine benefit as many people as possible and encourages feedback, letters to the editor and communication at . Now, as owner/publisher for Standup Journal., Evelyn continues to live in East Hampton NY where she has daily access to the water. When the swell is working, you can find her in Montauk rattling around in her Ford Ranger surfboards hanging out the back headed for points East.