• Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
  • Kampar Bono Waves
Monday, September 9, 2013

Enjoy Bono Waves Kampar River!

Enjoy Bono Waves Kampar River!

Waves or tides are generally formed due to water or wind flow changes occurred in the foreshore or seaside, the billows are used for surfing. Hence, watching people surfing on the beach is a common thing. But, watching people surfing on river stream is something unusual.

The activity is a surfing activity with a surfing board on the waves, not rafting or canoe paddling. Surfing on river can only be done in few places in the world. Those places are supposed to have current waves which form big and long river waves.

One of places where we can surf on the river is in Indonesia, besides some rivers in South America, China, and Europe. This must be our pride. The exact location is in the estuary of Kampar River – Kuala Kampar Sub-district – Pelalawan Regency – Riau Province – Indonesia. The river waves are called Bono waves or Bono billows. The smaller Bono is located in the estuary of Rokan River – Rokan Hilir Regency, Riau Province – Indonesia.

Bono that is waves or tides occurred in the estuary of Kampar River, Riau, Indonesia is a natural phenomenon as the result of the encounter of river stream to sea and ocean currents into river due to tidal. According to some international surfers who have surfed in Bono waves, Bono waves are the biggest river waves they have ever come upon.


The estuary where Bono is formed is named Kuala Kampar by the local people. The waves can reach up to 6-10 meters in height depending on the circumstances of when they occur and the point location. Based on Malay folklore entitled Sentadu Gunung Laut, every warrior in Malay coast has to conquer Bono Waves to improve their fighting skills. Beyond mystical things, it makes sense as “riding” Bono can be defined as maintaining body balance.

Bono is actually located in two places, the estuary of Kampar River and the estuary of Rokan River. Local people call Bono in Kuala Kampar as Bono Jantan (Bono Males) because the waves are big, and Bono in Kuala Rokan as Bono Betina (Bono Females) because the waves are small.

In the past, because of mystical belief in that location, there must be “Semah” ceremony held at morning or noon prior to riding Bono. The ceremony is led by BOMO or Datuk or the village elder to utter a prayer for the Bono riders to be always safe and protected from any danger. In addition to mystical story that (maybe) corresponds to Bono waves, there is a story about Banjir Darah di Mepusun (Bloodbath in Mepusun) or Mempusun Bersimbah Darah (Mempusun is Covered by Blood) and the establishment of Pelalawan Kingdom 1822 AD.

Today, local people in Kuala Kampar regard Bono as “friends of nature”. Brave local people will “ride” Bono with their canoes not with usual surfing boards. Canoeing on Bono waves becomes an agility activity. Otherwise, this activity is too risky as making a mistake on canoeing will make the canoe slammed by Bono waves; usually the canoe crashes in pieces.


Based on Malay folklore, Bono waves occur due to the embodiment of seven ghosts that usually crash canoes or boats crossing Kuala Kampar. The big waves are very terrifying for local people, there must be Semah ceremony held like explained above to across it. This wave is very deadly whenever canoes or boats dealing with it. Frequently, canoes crash in pieces because of being hit by the waves or wrecked because of being pushed away by waves then hit the river bank. Many boats have to turn back or sink because of it.

Based on a story from local people, there were seven billows formed by seven ghosts. In the Dutch colonial period, the Dutch’s ships are hardly entering Kuala Kumpur because of this wave. One of the Dutch commanders ordered to shoot the waves with cannon. Wondering why, one of the billows shot by Dutch’s cannon never has never shown up again until now. That is why there are only six large roll Bono waves now.

Seven ghosts or Seven Ghost Waves are seven Bono roll waves with a formation of one roller in front and six others following behind it. Because one of the billows was crashed by Dutch, there are only six remaining with a formation of almost on a line entering Kuala Kampar. The Dutch’s ship and the people have never been found until now. The Seven Ghost Waves can appear in specific spot locations.


From the study of Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Bono is called Tidal Bore or tide-bore/bore/aegir/eager.eygre. Actually, Tidal Bore is formed in many countries with different shapes of roll waves. That is why Tidal Bore is named after their local names. In Riau, it is named Bono, Malaysia names it Benak, in Ken River England, it is called Arnside Bore and some others name it Aegier. It is called Pororoca in Amazon River, Un-Mascaret or Le-Mascarin in France.

Bono Waves are formed when the tidal wave occurs and sea water is entering Kampar River. The sea water velocity entering the river meets in position with river stream going towards the sea. The waves are the result of clash of the two currents.

Bono is formed only with tidal waves. And, it will be bigger when sea water is in large tidal wave with driving rain in the estuary of Kampar River. The swift river streams due to rain will collide with the swift tide of sea water entering Kuala Kampar.

The Bono wave’s formation begins with a whistling sound followed by the roaring water sound. The roaring sounds grow louder like a boom of thunder accompanied by Bono magnitude waves. Today, the sound can be heard when Bono waves occur in the night. In one day (24 hours), Bono will occur two times, high tides at noon and at night. Usually Bono at noon is bigger than Bono at night. But, because of the place and environment conditions, the Bono’s sounds at night are louder.

The Bono wave’s velocity reaches up to 40 km/h and even 60 kilometer away to the upstream when entering it kilometers away and ends in Tanjung Pungai. The number of Bono wave is more than one which is usually going along or on a line. Sometimes, the waves are on the left and right side of river banks, sometimes gathered in the middle of the river. The waves formed are usually in white color or brown similar to Kampar river water color.

Sizes of Bono waves vary depending on the location, the time, and the river stream velocity. The velocity is influenced by wet season both in the headwater and downstream, and along Kampar river watershed.

Bono is usually formed on 10th-20th of Malay month in Islamic year which is usually called as old moon (bulan besar) or full moon (bulan purnama) by local people. The big Bono waves are commonly formed on 13th-16th of Malay Month in Islamic year. Besides, Bono is also formed every waning month (bulan mati) which is at the end and beginning of the month (from 26th to 1st of the next month).

In 2013-2014-2015, Bono is predicted to be formed on this estimation schedule below:

This schedule is made by Attayaya based on moon phases.


September 05-07, 2013 (W)
September 19-21, 2013 (F)
October 04-06, 2013 (W)
October 18-20, 2013 (F) (B)
November 03-05, 2013 (W) (B)
November 17-19, 2013 (F) (B)
December 02-04, 2013 (W) (B)
December 17-19, 2013 (F) (B)


January 01-03, 2014 (W) (B) – on the 2013 New Year
January 16-18, 2014 (F) (B)
February 01-02, 2014 (W)
February 13-15, 2014 (F)
March 01-03, 2014 (W)
March 13-15, 2014 (F)
March 30 – April 1, 2014 (W)
April 13-15, 2014 (F)


October 22-24, 2014 (W) (B)
November 04-07, 2014 (F) (B)
November 22-24, 2014 (W) (B)
December 05-07, 2014 (F) (B)
December 21-23, 2014 (W) (B)


January 02-05, 2015 (F) (B) – not on the 2014 New Year

Descriptions of the estimation:
The schedule of when Bono Kampar River 2012 formed is calculated by Attayaya Zam based on the month and year of Malay calendar or Hijriyah calendar 1433-1434 H.
(F) = Full moon/the middle of Malay month.
(W) = Waning moon/the beginning of Malay month.
(B) = Bono Waves of Kampar River which has big shapes from 4-6 meters in height. Besides, the average waves are 3 meters in height.


Bono waves are formed in the estuary of Kampar River. The nearest village to the location with lodging facilities is Teluk Meranti village, Kuala Kampar. Meanwhile, the surfing location is around Pulau Muda village. From Teluk Meranti village to Pulau Media village, speed-boat transportation is available to take about 30-40 minutes.

The location of Bono waves can be reached from Pekanbaru city to Pangkalan Kerinci (the capital city of Pelalawan regency), then head to Teluk Meranti village. The trip can be made by using land transportation (car, bus, motorcycle). The trip takes about 5 to 6 hours depending on the road conditions and traffic jam.

The trip from Pekanbaru to Pangkalan Kerinci passing through Eastern Sumatera Causeway (Jalan Lintas Timur Sumatera) takes about 1-2 hours. From Pangkalan Kerinci to Simpang Bunut, it takes 30 minutes and gets into the Bono Causeway (Jalan Lintas Bono) to Teluk Meranti village which takes about 3-4 hours.
By water transportation, the location can be reached through Pangkalan Kerinci harbor beneath Pangkalan Kerinci Bridge. From the harbor, we can take speedboat to Teluk Meranti village which takes 4-5 hours by paying 125.000 IDR/person. Taking the trip with your own vehicle is better as you can arrange your departure schedule without depending on public transportations’ drivers or waiting other passengers.
The route we take to reach the Bono waves location is land route by using transportation service as follows:
Pekanbaru – Pangkalan Kerinci (25,000 IDR/person).
Pangkalan Kerinci – Teluk Meranti village (55,000/person).


The lodging at Bono is usually still in local people’s houses (homestay) and the cost is about 50,000 IDR – 100,000 IDR per room for two people. Since Bono waves neither look beautiful enough nor big enough in Teluk Meranti village, need you to rent speedboat to Kuala Kampar around Pulau Muda village to watch beautiful Bono waves. The rental fee depends on the desired distance of location from 300,000 IDR – 600,000 IDR per speedboat. You can rent the speedboat to follow wave’s movement, so the speedboat will be in front of the waves in the secure distance. The local people can show you the location of the best, biggest, and longest Bono waves. ENJOY YOUR TIME! HAPPY SURFING ON BONO WAVES KAMPAR RIVER!

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