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Roxy Professional Longboarders Jen Smith and Chloe Calmon are jet setting on an experience of a lifetime to surf the Silver Dragon, a tidal bore in Hangzhou, China. This is only the fourth time China has ever allowed anyone to surf in the river, and our very own Roxy girls will be competing in the Silver Dragon Shootout Surf Contest! Chloe’s been lucky enough to surf in the river before, so she knows exactly what to expect and has a head start against the competition, but Jen’s done her research, and it sounds like she’s ready for the adventure! This is one of the most unique surfing experiences we’ve heard of, so we caught up with Jen and Chloe as they were getting ready to leave, and they filled us in on everything we need to know about surfing tidal waves and traveling to China.
Chloe’s Travel Tips and China Tricks
Last year, when people saw me walking on the street with surfboards, they thought I was crazy and tapped me to see if I was real! Ha! This time, I’ll make sure learn a phrase in Chinese that I can explain to them!
I’m also bringing a 1. lightweight springsuit, and my 2. favorite bikinis, for the river. More importantly, the 3. surf essentials for the competition. It’s a must to bring a spare leash in case it snaps and all the other basics including fins, and wax which are easy to forget when packing for a trip. Plus sunscreen and sunnies!
The most important thing to know about before traveling there is the culture. The Chinese have an ancient culture that cherishes small details and gestures, from giving a business card to eating with them. So it`s helpful to watch some videos on the internet about Chinese etiquette and respect!
How to surf a Tidal Wave by Jen
The tidal bore is a massive wave that forms in the river on the full moon when the tide is pushing upward. This one specifically happens when the river narrows and the river bed raises slightly, causing a compression of water which then turns into a surf-able wave that goes for over 50 miles!
You get into this wave with jet skis. One person is driving the ski and one is on the back with a board. The driver finds the spot you want to start riding and drops you off with your board while moving with the speed of the wave.
Each team has their own side of the river, and only two teams surf each day. We get scored on the distance we ride the wave, maneuvers we do, and sharing waves with teammates (which is my favorite). I’m looking forward to riding the Silver Dragon until my legs give out!!