Every now and then an opportunity crops up for us to do something a bit out of the ordinary. So when an email arrived, looking for surfing Stormtroopers to promote the new Start Wars film, I just couldn’t say no! (Sounds a bit random, but the connection being that some scenes were filmed in nearby Puzzle Wood in the Forest of Dean). Not only have I always been a Star Wars fan, but also need very little encouragement to get up to the Severn Bore.
It was no problem to enlist the help of three other Boreriders; Martin Admamson, Dean Broad and Steve King, and we sat back and awaited the delivery of our stormtrooper outfits.
The Severn Bore is very unpredictable and can change from tide to tide. So our aim of getting pictures and video of all four of us surfing together was a bit of an ask, but we decided to give it our best shot anyway. The unpredictability of the water levels and the bore is kind of the draw to the river anyway.
It was a bit of a relief when we found out we had a photographer on a boat with us as this would give us a better opportunity of getting those pictures.
The costumes were thankfully very light allowing good movement and avoiding us getting waterlogged. But the helmet was a little bit of an issue as soon as it got wet as not only did it get heavy, but the mesh over the eyes got covered over with water!
We found this out the first spot we got in. The wave was small as predicted in that spot and a few of us had helmet issues. The photographer on the bank didn’t look very optimistic at this point.
We knew the other guy was on the river with Steve King so we headed to the next spot, which was probably going to be our best opportunity to get us all together.
The wave came around the corner and with a bit of luck we positioned ourselves together and paddled into the bore.
I jumped up and positioned my helmet, which thankfully lined up straight and I could actually see ok in front of me. I could here the guys cheering and began to realise all of us were surfing the wave together, it was a truly great moment. I could even here the Star Wars tune being chanted!
The bore had a little poke to it and was breaking well, but having limited vision has its drawbacks and I soon got caught out as the wave died where I was and I fell off the back, but I did manage a short ride on the trailing wave as a bonus.
We hopped into the boat and did manage to get in at one more spot where Martin managed to get a nice ride in and Dean took a now well-documented, dive in to the wave.
It was a very surreal morning on the river, living out our childhood dreams and dressing up as icons from our favorite films. It was even more surreal to see the footage and pictures go viral across the web and feature in news papers all over the country. It just shows that sometimes you just have to give it a go!
Just looking forward to seeing the new film now and one dilemma…do I wear the suit?!