Earlier this week I got a call from good friend and worldwide adventure extraordinaire Troy Henkels, telling me that he and a friend were going to attempt to kiteboard a bore tide in Turnagain Arm! I couldn’t miss a rare photo opportunity like that! I’m not sure if anyone has ever kiteboarded a bore tide before – ever.
For those who aren’t familiar with bore tides, I should explain. You see, Turnagain Arm has the second largest tidal swing in the world. The difference between low and high can be as much as 35 feet. Because of this big swing, when the water begins returning into Turnagain Arm after a low tide, it usually begins flowing in a large wave, sometimes as high as 6 feet tall, and moving at speeds of 10 to 15 mph. The wave in the photo had to be close to 6 feet. Almost more impressive then the size and speed of this wave is the roar of sound it creates as it moves up the Arm.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a very good position to capture the moment when Troy and Mark blasted through the huge wave from “up stream”, but the wave was big enough that both men disappeared briefly in the frothing wave before emerging on the far side. In the above photo, Troy is working hard to catch back up to the wave, but unfortunately the wind direction and currents prevented him from overtaking it. I was really pulling for him as I would have been in a great spot had he been able to catch back up to the fast moving wave.
I don’t know how these guys are able to do it, they have to balance and deal with so many different factors- they have fast moving currents going two different directions, changing wind speeds and direction, freezing glacier silt laden water, it is like they are walking a tight rope of numerous forces – and they balance it all on a tiny little board! Knowing Troy, it won’t be long before he has this challenge mastered.
Long time readers may remember this post on Troy.