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Shubenacadie River Tidal Bore in Nova Scotia

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

My Internet Paddling Buddy Magoo gave you a small taste of what the Fundy Tidal Bore is like. I'm gonna give you a large Bite ;-))

This was my second time paddling the Shubenacadie Bore I had done it the previous weekend, and it was awesome! But it was nowhere near what this day would be like.

We had a group of 6, 5 in Whitewater Boats, me in a 13ft Manteo (Recreational Kayak, good in Rough water though). You put in by one of the Rafting Companies launch sites in Maitland NS. You have a couple different options on how to start out, you can either wait till the Bore goes by and ride the waves, or you can paddle about 2km up the River and wait in an Eddy behind this huge rock (20ft sticking out of the water)that disappears in about 15 minutes once the Bore roles by.

The Waves/Rapids on this River are quite different from a normal Whitewater River. The Tide coming in, hitting the River current flowing out creates some very interesting water to paddle. In a longer boat like mine you can try to Surf some waves, but WW Boats just don't have the speed to go against the tidal flow and Surf. Enough explanation about that, if ya need more details, email me ;-))

So, we get down behind the Rock and wait. For me this is the worse part cause the Eddy's not that big and there's 5 other Kayaks in it which are a lot more mobile than mine.

When the Rock covers completely, that's our time to head down River. So, I follow one of the Leaders out into the Waves, at this point they are from 4-5ft in height. I didn't notice till we got to the end of this, that one of our buddies was swimming, by the time we realized, we were too far up the River to get back to them. They were OK one of our group did stay with them.

Now the Rapids/Waves on this River come on you out of the Blue. It was while we were looking back that the second set came upon us. Well, they were MONSTER SIZE!! On average I'd say about 14ft in height. I just kept on paddling and keeping it straight. It was quite funny at one point, cause as I was going up the side of this wave one of my Buddies was trying to Surf down it in the opposite direction :-) My Kayak was almost completely out of the water at the top of these waves. The last wave crashed on me, but I just paddled right through it.

The rest of the Paddle was rather tame compared to this set, back to 4-6ft waves which last anywhere's from 30 seconds to a minute. Although, in one stop near the end of the run (Anthony's Nose), the rapids last for about 20 minutes (the other spots they last maybe a minute at most). This is a Great play spot.

All told the run we do takes about 3 hrs, about 15km in length.

It is the most consistent piece of Water in Nova Scotia and can paddle it from April to October. You do have to pay close attention to the Tide times though, which you can get from the Rafting Companies. That would be one of the negatives about this paddle, lot of Rafts all playing in the same Rapids. Everyone gives everyone their space, but at Anthony's Nose you have to keep a sharp lookout. The only other negative would be the Mud. Where this River is very turbulent it is very cloudy. The Takeout and put-in are a wee bit messy as well. (I have a Dry Bag/Shower which works great at the takeout).

Overall, it's a Great time with a lot of exciting moments!


Take Exit 10 off HWY 101 between Halifax and Truro, head towards Maitland (about 20 minute drive from turnoff). Put-in is at the Maitland Museum, right beside "Shubenacadie River Runners". Takeout, well that's a little more complicated, email me and I'll show ya once WE get our Kayaks ready to go ;-)) (always looking for Paddling friends)


Scott Cunningham has a book out, "Kayaking in Nova Scotia" that gives a great review and map of the river.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location