The Rio Araguari gives way to the mightiest pororoca in the Americas. Feared by the native locals, it can form swell upto three metres high and travel continuously for 45 minutes at speeds reputedly exceeding fifty kilometres an hour, laying waste to everything in its course.
The river is located about 200km north of Macapa, the capital of Amapa state, deep in the Amazonian rainforest, and only accesible by boat from the sea. It is a 16 hour boat ride from Macapa to the most seabound island in the northern basin before a further ride north to the mouth of the Araguari. With the Amazon basin's sediments stretching so far out into the Atlantic, the pororoca can actually, and uniquely, be seen breaking before it enters the confines of the river mouth!
Although many pororoca breaks throughout the Amazon Basin have now been discovered, the Araguari is really the true home of the sport. It was the first wave to be conquered in 1997, it is probably the largest breaking pororoca and certainly breaks over the longest distance. Pioneers of the wave believe it could be surfable continuously for about fourty minutes and several surfers have layed claim to the world record for time spent on a wave. It would appear the current champion is Eraldo Gueiros, claiming a 17 minute ride in 2000.
Serginho Laus describes vividly the hunt for the pororoca. Beaten by pounding rain, on his first attempt he rode the wave for 16 minutes. On the second day, their boats ran aground, got beaten to pieces, and one of the team disappered upstream, caught in the turbulent pororoca soup, only to be picked up much later. Fortunately, no one drowned, yet the experience seems to be repeated regularly by those hunting out the pororoca.
In May 2001, the Araguari became another venue for the developing Brazilian Pororoca Surfing Tour.
'To surf the pororoca is the maximum in adventure tourism, because it has to be hunted.'
Pororoca photogrpaher, Ramid Joao