Mascarussia : the White Sea Mystery

ADVENTURE / TRAVELS ACTION SPORTS AND SURF OUTDOOR ATYPICAL

Mezen, Russia

Don



But what the fuck is a Mascaret ? That’s a tidal prodigy creating a series of waves going upstream for dozens of km in about 120 rivers worldwide. Mostly on spring tides periods.

The phenomenon corresponds to a sudden rise in the water in certain rivers blessed by a funnel-shaped and shallow estuary, caused by the rising tide during spring tides. It occurs in the mouths and lower reaches of some streams when their current is thwarted by the flow of the rising tide. Unnoticeable most of the time, it occurs during every new and full moons. The most spectacular tidal bores can be seen at the mouths of the Qiantang in China, the Hooghly in India, the Amazon in Brazil, the Kampar in Indonesia, the Sittang in Burma…


Imagine you can ride to the hypnotic rhythm of a lunar wave, a wave going up the river for dozens of kilometers, from a few seconds to more than an hour, until your legs turn like jelly after countless turns on a seemingly never ending wall.

Never ever a tidal bore has been ridden in Russia, our game will be to find that phenomenon somewhere in the White Sea, not far from the Arctic Circle, in spite of hungry bears and myriads of mosquitoes. Since the Mezen River experienced tides of 9-10m, it is likely to harbor that lunar wave. Decision has been made, I will go around the full moon of August 22, 2021. It is therefore a question of finding and surfing the "Bor" of the White Sea. A “Bor” also called Nakat or Val, we will have to find out.

In May 2015, I was part of a scientific conference in Caen on tidal bores with representatives of different hydraulic laboratories and institutes from China, England, Italy, France and Russia. This is where I met Elena Dolgopolova from the Moscow Oceanographic Institute.
She performed a real convincing demonstration, by analyzing sharp hydrographic data, to prove the potential presence of a tidal bore, which none of us had ever heard of.

Except that she never had the budget to go there for a field study, and she was only able to unearth one small video on VK, the Russian YouTube, of a micro-bore, including here is a copy. I therefore kept in touch with her to find out if it would be possible to set up a joint operation and to know more about this famous "Bor". 5 years later, nothing has progressed, the administrative complications linked to budget restrictions, made our project stillborn.

By rummaging again on other video sites that I found an amateur clip, done by a local fisherman, not that exciting on a surfer’s level, but proving the presence of that wave in another river in the White Sea, with a rather promising bank profile, knowing that occurs about 40 km from the mouth. Enough to shelter a wave of 50 to 80cms, or even bigger, lower in the estuary.

Through the video comments, I started talking to Eugene, a young paddlesurfer from St Petersburg, also very curious to discover the phenomenon in his country not far from there. Less than 1000 km from his home! Let's go!


Who are we?

“There are waves everywhere, everything is a question of quality and frequency” This is my motto. Me, it's Antony “YEP” Colas, self-proclaimed spotologist, who, for more than 30 years, has crisscrossed the oceans and seas, surfboards under his arm. Journalist and photographer since 1995, through YEP, my little company, I am also the author of the “Stormrider World Guides” trilogy, some kind of Lonely Plant guide for surfers, sold over 150,000 copies worldwide.

Among the various types of waves, the tidal bore has become, since 1998, my favorite playground with more than thirty expeditions beyond my usual muddy spot: Dordogne and Garonne rivers.



What's the money for?

This trip to the White Sea will be my 31st Tidal Bore expedition, outside my home spots, since 2005, the year I organized a bore-rider meeting on the Pororoca in Brazil. Until then, I have more or less managed to finance my research expeditions by selling texts & photos to magazines, and / or by pulling a "research" budget out of the marketing of my surf travel agency. But the disappearance of the print media (that used to pay rates) and the Covid pandemic have dried up my funding tracks.

It is therefore a question of absorbing the costs associated with a fortnight in the Archangelsk Oblast region. Which is 1200 € of flights & transport (Bordeaux - Paris, Paris St-Petersburg, St-Petersburg – Archankelgsk, Arcangelsk- Mezen), 600 € of boat costs (over 4-5 days) for the reccie of the surrounding rivers and 600 € of costs on site, accommodation (most probably tent) and food. + Visa (100 €). Pretty much a budget of 2500 €


Un mammouth du surf sorti des glaces 14 May 2021

Eugène vient de dénicher un surfer local de la région d’Archangelsk ! Il arbore les couleurs Pomor sur sa planche home-made ! Tel un mammouth sorti de la glace !


Francois Hamant
Jérome Cordoba
20
J-C Gauthier
10
Bruno Boué
70
Bruno Boué
Olivier colombié
20
gilles quinton
10
Marla Rabiquétal
100
Yann Hemery
50
Adaoz Wave
20
Clement Lambert
200
Pierre Dupouy
100
CAMPY CAMPER
200
Théo Barrère
50
Guillaume Germain
50
Laurent Velasque
20
Benjamin Dupal
200
davina bulot
antoine etchegaray
MATHIEU CERRAMON
20
croizit frederic
20
Oliver Fitzjones
50
Jerome BLANCO
30
Robert Bridges
50
Marc Bérard
20
Edward Rubin
200
Ludovic ARNOUX
50
Erwan Simon
15
Jean-Jacques Brissaud
20
Grenier Vincent
10
Michel Alzuyet
20
Thomas Schroder
50
David Badalec
20
Mathis PELLERIN
20
Philippe Bonneton
20
Pierre Duvelleroy
Gaetan Sene
10
Jean Pierre Nadal
50
thomas chaise
20
Hervé MANIFICAT
20
Benoit Duthu
100
Hubert Chanson
10
Nicolas Dejean
10
David Le Quement
100
Erwan Simon 12 May 2021 à 11h06


Un mascaret en Russie, j'aime l'idée !

YEP 06 May 2021 à 15h36


Je vous ai amené une petite contribution financière et j’espère que vous allez bien vous marrer! A bientôt au line up! Pierre Duvelleroy