Bombora is an indigenous Australian term for an area of large sea waves breaking over a shallow area such as a submerged rock shelf, reef, or sand bank that is located some distance from the shoreline and beach surf break. In slang it is also called a bommie.
As the wave passes over the shallow area its shape is raised and steepened, creating a localised wave formation. The size and shape of bombora waves makes them attractive to surfers willing to take the risk of riding what is generally considered a hazardous pursuit.
These formations can pose a significant danger even in good weather as a bombora may not be identifiable because it may not always have breaking waves.
The term Bombora was given wide circulation by the airing on ABC TV in 2009 of a documentary titled Bombora - The Story of Australian Surfing, which received a nomination for the 2010 Logie Awards in Australia. The documentary explored historical dimensions of the relationship between surf culture and Australian cultural identity.
Well known instances
- Cowaramup Bombora ("Cow Bombie") - near Margaret River, WA, location of the 2011 and 2015 Oakley Biggest Wave award-winning rides.
- Dobroyd Bombora - in Sydney Harbour, NSW.
- Jibbon Bombora - at Bundeena in the south of Sydney
- Outer Bombora - at Yallingup, WA.
- "The Bommie" - on the northern side of The Penguin's Head, Culburra Beach, NSW.
A bombora is also a term used for a sketchy surf spot where waves seem to break on the outside.
- Collins Dictionary. Example, "Manly itself has [...] the offshore Queenscliff “Bommie” (bombora), joy for big wave riders.", Australia's 8 greatest surf spots, Australian Geographic.
- Bird, Eric (2008). Coastal geomorphology: an introduction. John Wiley and Sons. p. 17. ISBN 0-470-51730-1.
- "Boating Handbook: Safe Operation" (pdf). NSW Maritime. Retrieved 2009-06-18.[dead link]
- "Bombora". Screen Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "Bombora - The History of Australian Surfing". ABC Commercial. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- Arjun Ramachandran (2008-08-25). "One dead as boat hit by wave". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
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