Surfing Alaska's Bore Tide

Many years ago, I worked as a tour guide in Alaska, falling deeply in love with the state. One of my favorite drives was along Turnagain Arm, a long and shallow branch of Cook Inlet, a beautiful landscape that is home to a fascinating natural phenomenon. Bore tides occur when an incoming high tide collides with the outgoing tide in a narrow channel, generating a turbulent wave front. Getty Images photographer Streeter Lecka was recently lucky enough to spend six days on Turnagain Arm, photographing the brave souls who venture out onto the mudflats to ride these waves. Waves can reach as high as 10 feet tall, crashing over calmer waters, moving upstream at 10-15 mph. Gathered here are some of Lecka's images of the surfers riding the bore tides of Turnagain Arm.
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1. A surfer rides the bore tide on Turnagain Arm near Anchorage, Alaska, on July 12, 2014. Alaska's famous bore tide occurs in a spot southeast of Anchorage, in the lower arm of Cook Inlet called Turnagain Arm, where wave heights can reach 6-10 feet tall and move at 10-15 mph. The water temperature stays around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.




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2. Two surfers walk through the mud flats to get in position before the bore tide comes into Turnagain Arm on July 14, 2014, near Anchorage, Alaska.




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3. A group of surfers ride the bore tide on Turnagain Arm on July 15, 2014.




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4. A group of surfers ride the Turnagain Arm bore tide on July 14, 2014.




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5. Bore tide waves crash along the shore of Turnagain Arm on July 14, 2014.




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6. A group of surfers ride the Turnagain Arm bore tide on July 15, 2014.




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7. A surfer rides the bore tide on Turnagain Arm on July 15, 2014.




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8. Surfers ride the bore tide as it sweeps up the mudflats of Turnagain Arm on July 15, 2014.




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9. A group of surfers on the front of the bore tide on Turnagain Arm, July 15, 2014.




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10. A kite-surfer rides the bore tide on July 14, 2014.




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11. Surfers ride the bore tide near the shoreline on July 15, 2014.




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12. Leif Ramos holds onto his board and paddle as he catches the lead wave of the bore tide in Turnagain Arm on July 15, 2014.




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13. The sun sets over Cook Inlet, behind a group of surfers riding the bore tide, on July 15, 2014, near Anchorage, Alaska.




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14. A surfer rides the bore tide on July 14, 2014.




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15. Leif Ramos catches and rides a bore tide wave on July 13, 2014.




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16. A group of surfers ride the bore tide in Turnagain Arm on July 15, 2014.




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17. The bore tide sweeps up Turnagain Arm near Girdwood, Alaska, on July 15, 2014.




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18. A surfer rides the bore tide in Turnagain Arm on July 11, 2014.




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19. A surfer reaches for his board after falling off the bore tide on July 15, 2014.




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20. A surfer rides the bore tide late in the evening on Turnagain Arm on July 15, 2014.




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21. Steve Rader packs up his board after a day spent surfing the bore tide on July 13, 2014, near Anchorage, Alaska.