The Qiantang River (simplified Chinese: 钱塘江; traditional Chinese: 錢塘江; pinyin: Qiántáng Jiāng, also known as the Qian River) is a southeast Chinese river that originates in the borders of Anhui and Jiangxi provinces. An important commercial artery, it runs for 459 km (285 miles) through Zhejiang province, passing through the provincial capital Hangzhou, before flowing into the East China Sea through Hangzhou Bay. Above Hangzhou, as far as Tonglu, it is known as the Fuchun River (富春).
The river is also the southern terminal of the ancient Grand Canal that links five major rivers in China from north to south, and enables water-borne traffic to travel inland from Hangzhou as far north as Beijing.
The Qiantang was previously known as the Zhe River (Zhejiang: 折江，means "crooked river"), Luocha River, or Zhi River. It was renamed "Qiantang" (literally "Qian's Seawall") in honour of the kings of Wuyue (907-978), whose extensive hydro-engineering schemes in large part ensured the prosperity of the region in later centuries. When it was built in the 1930s, the First Qiantang River Bridge in Hangzhou was the first steel bridge to span a major river in China.
The river and bay are known for the world's largest tidal bore. The oldest known tide table (1056 AD) is for the Qiantang River and may have aided ancient tourists wishing to see the famous tidal bore. The tide rushing into the river mouth from the bay causes a bore which can reach up to 9 metres (30 ft) in height, and travel at up to 40 km per hour (25 miles an hour). Known locally as the Silver (or Black) Dragon, the wave sweeps past Hangzhou, menacing shipping in the harbor.
In August 2013, the tidal bore turned out stronger than expected due to a typhoon, reaching more than twice its usual height as it broke on the flood barrier, sweeping it and injuring numerous spectators.
There have been attempts to surf the tidal bore. The previous record was 11 seconds. In September 2008 a group of American surfers convinced the Chinese government to allow them to surf a section of the river.
In November 2013 the first surf competition was held by Red Bull call the Qiantang Shoot Out and considered the most unusual wave in the world for a surfing contest.
- Zuosheng, Y.; Emery, K.O. & Yui, X. (1989). "Historical development and use of thousand-year-old tide-prediction tables". Limnology and Oceanography 34 (5): 953–957. doi:10.4319/lo.1989.34.5.0953.
- "Tsunami-Like River Tides Are Surfing's New Frontier". National Geographic. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- Cianciulli, Mike (2008-09-18). "China Surf Blog, Round Two: Final Day(s)". Surfline.com. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "Surfing The Qiantang River in Hangzhou, China".
- " A Visit to the Hangchow Bore I" Popular Science Monthly Volume 72 Wikisource February 1908 ISSN 0161-7370
- " A Visit to the Hangchow Bore II" Popular Science Monthly Volume 72 Wikisource March 1908 ISSN 0161-7370
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