Tidal Bore

Large Tidal Bore
Class: III Tidal Race Length: 10km
Location: Maitland NS Character: Tidal Race, No Exit, Warm
Optimal tidal variance:13m – 15m Gauge: Low Tide+3h


This is a very large volume, high speed, tidal race with very few exit points. There are also occasional logs/debris floating in the river as well as powered zodiacs during the tourist season. Separation from your boat and or lost gear are the biggest hazards. Always paddle with multiple people, and you should have a very strong self-rescue/roll. If you miss the take-out you could be on the water for significantly longer than expected, so you should have ample water/food to stay in your boat for 6 hours.


Shuttle Setup Time: ~45min


Our primary put in is at the public park next to River Runners just past the town of Maitland. During the summer their parking lot can get quite busy, so they have asked us to park down by the basketball courts once we’ve unloaded our boats. At the very least park as far away from the building so as to not interfere with tourists and visitors to the small center. They have always been very friendly with us, please do as they ask so we can maintain a positive relationship. To put in follow the mow’d path up over the bank towards the wooden pier that stretches out onto the mud. We put in on the left side, usually dragging our boats past the grass and then using our kayaks like a sled and sliding them down the hill to avoid getting stuck in the mud.


Our primary take out is at the green creek bridge on riverside road. just off of Pleasant Valley Rd. Just before the bridge the road widens and there is room to park 2-3 cars there. We have had gear stolen from this location so it is not recommended that you leave any valuables in your car parked here, and to make sure that you leave one person with the boats at the end of a run. If you get off the boar early you’ll have to slog through thigh-deep mud to get up the slope to the parked cars. If you wait long enough, especially on large tidal days you can paddle almost all the way to your car. Green creek can be hard to spot from the river if you’ve never been before so it’s always strongly encouraged that you paddle with someone who knows the river your first time. It can be identified by looking for a giant cannon up on the hillside Bore Left after anthonys nose, if you see the cannon, it’s time to get off the river.


Feature Start is 3 hours after low tide at Burncoat head

All tidal information is based off of Burncoat head tidal times. The tidal bore arrives at river runners about three hours after low tide at burncoat head. This can change by 15-30min depending on tidal range, wind etc. It is easy to tell if it’s already passed when you arrive as the river will increase in height quickly, and the current will be going inland.

Best conditions: Low river (late summer without recent rainfall), 14-15m tidal range, Minimal Wind. **

** In 2015 Leigh Woltman and Karl Vollmer paddled the tidal bore at the 18 year high, over 16m, it was a unique experience, which will happen again in 2033.

Run timing

The tidal bore is a very fluid feature and must be timed very precisely. Each feature forms up and dissipates in 10-15min at any one location. You need to be in the right spot at the right time, as due to the current and size of the river there usually isn’t time to re-position once a feature has started. The larger the tide the short the time between features, generally. The below list is from tidal bore runs between 14 and 15meters. Different tidal variances and weather will cause the timing to shift, once you’ve run it a few times you’ll be able to just adjust on the fly.

Timing for hitting the features is listed below in Bore time, which is the number of minutes after bore arrival. When the bore passes you at the top of the river note the time on your watch and use it to plan your down-river progression. Positioning is relative to the ocean flow, not the river’s natural flow. When looking inland (upriver) Bore Left is on your left, Bore right is on your right.

B+0 – Bore leading wave, expert option is to wait Bore Left against the sandbar and ride the wave in 3-4″ of water. Quite risky as a capsize results in hard impact with sand.

B+10 – Small standing waves near launch site Bore Right, these do not always form

B+15 – Small standing waves near Bore Left where it opens into the basin, these form if there is currently a sandbar in that area, changes through-out season

B+20 – large circular eddy forms Bore left where it opens into the first basin, can be hard to time, but fun to spin around in

B+35 – Bore right standing waves should start forming on far right bank of open basin

B+45(ish) – After open basin waves turn to haystacks, move down and pause at top of narrow section (This is the Killer K) once you see the waves forming get in and enjoy the right (16ft vertical is possible, non-breaking so not scary!)

B+1hr20 – Killer K over next two turns later in sight of bridge you may get nice waves on either inside or outside of turn (left or right very much depends on sandbar alignment

B+1hr40 – Bore Left right after bridge where river turns sahweet wave forms, I’ve ridden this one for 20+ min

B+2hr – Across entire Bore, under the power lines across the river stuff is everywhere, enjoy

B+2hr30 – Bore left at Anthonys nose (in sight of power lines before next bend in river) giant eddy line can be super fun to power across

B+3hr00 – Head towards Green River (Bore left at bend in river by anthonys nose) you’ll see a flat area and grass with a river carved through it, head up that a ways until you hit the bridge (and road)