Stab Magazine | Guess Who Won $25k For River Surfing In China
456 Views

Guess Who Won $25k For River Surfing In China

Red Bull’s Silver Dragon surf event is still going strong!

news // Oct 7, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

What does surfing look like in the 21st Century? Could be a wave pool. Could be a river bore in China. It certainly ain’t sniffing model glue and eating cat food waiting for swell at Honolua. (Yes, that’s happened, 1970s, early days. We missed the boat.)

For some years there’s been a weird contest in Hangzhou, China. It’s evolved around the “Silver Dragon” tidal bore, which remains off limits and illegal to Chinese citizens. At some point the government and a marketing agency figured out they could attract a loose cadre of international pro surfers to come ride the wave, tempt the non-surfing locals, run a sidebar skate comp, and make it a global action sports spectacle.

Utilizing a team format, this year’s incarnation saw Dean Morrison and Koby Abberton take out an eclectic field of eight other pairings to take home a $25,000 first-place check. However the taxes work out, it’s still a good payday for the semi-retired two Aussies.

Screen Shot 2018 10 05 at 8.19.52 PM

It ain’t quite Red Bull Cape Fear, but the boys will take a victory nonetheless.

Photography

Jean Paul Van Swae

We don’t need to get into the nuances of the format…does anyone really need to understand what the judges are looking for on a mile-long tidal bore in China? Guessing no.

The fact of the business is that Dingo and Koby beat Euro swell chasers Eneko Acero and Natxo Gonzales, who got second, and POV tube hounds Alex Gray and Anthony Walsh, who got third.

The other notable in the event was Mikala Jones, who after struggling with back issues the past few years was back in the water and reportedly surfing well. Him and his partner, Jamie Sterling, finished seventh. Sterling has been surfing the wave probably longer than anyone.

Obviously, what happens in China stays in China, but the big money ticket may have been when Koby allegedly had enough of Alex Gray’s nonsense and got a little snippy with the South Bay kid. Because the wave is tidal and not ocean dependent, there’s significant down time. That’s seldom a good thing on any surf trip, especially when there are personalities that don’t mesh. Who knows what happened. Our sources weren’t obliged to go into detail. But with Koby and Alex, it wasn’t all high-fives and shakas…which is kind of what competition is all about.

That’s not going into the press release, which is unfortunate because it would have made for good copy. What’s also not going in the press release is that apparently the wave wasn’t all that smoking this year. The wind and mud flats weren’t what they’ve been in year’s past. At its best, the Silver Dragon’s an insane wave with spitting, hollow sections, well overhead faces for big carves, and it just keeps going and going and going.

But as noted, it’s also illegal to surf any other time of the year. More than anything, access is going to be the challenge to surfing opening up in China. The government’s going to have to chill and open up rivers and beaches. Look at the weird river surfing culture that’s evolved in Idaho or Germany. There’s a whole subculture or rad humans that live for those trippy, freshwater waves.

The Silver Dragon may be the best river wave in the world. It legitimately pumps and has attracted big-name, big-wave surfers for years, when are the Chinese locals going to get a crack at it? That’s the big question.

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Mountains Died So You Could Surf

The value of sand.

Aug 15, 2022

9:12

UPDATE: People Are Still Surfing ‘La Jetee’ in Reunion Island

Returning to the best & sharkiest air wave in the world, as seen in Mod…

Aug 14, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Female) Surfers

What the Stab reader survey teaches us about taste.

Aug 14, 2022

2:14

Kelly and Local Gal to Win Teahupo’o?

Local insights and a firing forecast.

Aug 13, 2022

These Are Your Favorite (Male) Surfers

Insights from the 2022 Stab Reader survey.

Aug 13, 2022

16:04

Fear And Loathing in Mainland Mex

Parker Coffin, Harry Roach, and the Roark crew embark on an authentic Oaxacan (surf) trip.

Aug 13, 2022

Tahiti Preview: The End Of The Road For 72% Of The CT

And hello there, blob of swell.

Aug 12, 2022

3:24

While Everyone Flocked To Tahiti, Kelly Stayed in Jbay

...And proceeded to rip the hell out of it on a "borrowed" 5-finned Tomo.

Aug 11, 2022

1:38

Can A GQ Cover Boy Take Out Teahupo’o?

Kauli Vaast is your incredibly handsome Tahiti trials winner.

Aug 11, 2022

Watch: Ramble On With Caity Simmers 

An action-rich tour behind the scenes of her triumphant first voyage to Oz.

Aug 11, 2022

PSA: Surf Filmers Not Welcome In Nicaragua

Cameras and drones are being seized on arrival, Stab spoke with two recent visitors.

Aug 11, 2022

Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine 

Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.

Aug 10, 2022

The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo

Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.

Aug 9, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast

Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.

Aug 8, 2022

Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”

"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…

Aug 8, 2022

Zeke Lau & Bettylou Sakura Johnson Win The Vans US Open Of Surfing 

Hawaii dominates HB.

Aug 8, 2022

How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months

Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.

Aug 7, 2022

5:50

Sweeter Than Stolen Honey 

A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.

Aug 7, 2022
Advertisement