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VIDEO: Riding the dragon

To most, a tidal bore is a phenomenon in which the leading edge of an incoming tide forms a wave of water that travels up a river and against the current.

To the X Games crowd of action sports fans, the world’s largest tidal bore is a rare opportunity for urban surfing.

Nicknamed the Silver Dragon, this powerful tidal bore occurs annually where China’s Hangzhou Bay narrows westward into the Qiantang River, drawing thousands of tourists to witness waves ranging from three to 30 feet rolling upriver at as much as 25 mph.

The Silver Dragon, which sweeps through Hangzhou every autumn, is world-renowned as one of the few surf “locations” China has to offer. Depending on the moon phase and its relation to the changing tides, the Silver Dragon tidal bore can sometimes be a smooth rolling wave or a raging big one.

Click play for a short film about the Silver Dragon’s impact.

The latter is what drew a crew of hardcore surfers to the scene last autumn for the Qiantang Shoot Out, an organized event sponsored by the sports energy drink maker Red Bull.

Click play to watch a news report on the event.

“To some it’s a massive, destructive force of the river, but to others it’s a fun way to surf,” is how one competitor describes the powerful Silver Dragon.

A group known as the Tidal Bore Research Society has ranked the Top 10 Tidal Bores in the world, spread across the globe in eight countries.

Click here for information, with ample photos, about some of the other largest tidal bores in the world.