If generally surfing is done on sea waves, there is something unique in the Riau region. In Riau, surfers do not surf in the sea, but in rivers. For the people of Riau, this type of surfing is called Bono Surfing, and its location is on the Kampar River, Pelalawan Regency, Riau.
The term "Bono" is intended for the big waves in the Kampar River. The phenomenon of rolling waves on the Kampar River is nothing new. People have been used to seeing the big waves since the time of their ancestors. In fact, according to local stories, Bono waves are the embodiment of seven ghosts who often destroy canoes and ships.
Still from the same story, it is said that the Bono waves were once used as a test of fighting dexterity for every Coastal Malay warrior. Bono waves on the Kampar River can be said to be quite high. At certain times the wave height on the Kampar River can reach 4-5 meters. Definitely no less challenging than the waves in the open ocean.
Kampar River is included in the number 5 longest river on the island of Sumatra. Its length reaches 413 km, where the upstream is in the District of Fifty Cities (West Sumatra) and empties into the Malacca Strait.
This rare natural phenomenon in the Kampar River occurs due to the meeting of tidal currents with river currents. Quoted from Kompas.com, generally the peak of Bono or the highest wave can be predicted according to the full moon calendar, or based on the qomariyah calendar.
The uniqueness of Bono Surfing is that the waves are opposite to the direction of the river current, so the pressure is quite heavy. Unlike big waves in the sea, bono waves can reach a length of about 200 meters to 2 km following the width of the river.
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Trying Bono Surfing is not only a challenge for local surfers, but also for foreign surfers. The local government looks at this as a tourism potential. Until there was an annual event titled: International Bono Surfing Festival and Bekudo Bono. Both of these festivals became the target of world record-breaking by local and international surfers.
In 2013, for example, British surfer Steve King and two of his friends competed in Bono Surfing agility. They managed to break the record after surfing 12.3 km for 1 hour 13 minutes. This record was later broken by James Cotton who managed to do bono surfing as far as 17.2 km, and successfully recorded his name in the Guinness Book of The World Records.
In addition to agility competition through Bono Surfing, the government also packs this annual surfing event very nicely. One of them is the addition of the Bono Jazz Festival agenda and camping ground at the 2019 Bekudo Bono Festival. It is hoped that the government's creative efforts will attract more local and international surfers to do Bono Surfing on the Kampar River.