The ‘Bravest’ wave at Rock Island, Stephen Wright and Albert Binkley

The 20′ falls here at Rock Island is such a gift to kayakers, but at 20,000 cfs it’s the backwash goes back for days! On certain days, though, the water falling 50′ through the gates of the dam races across the flat, bedrock bottom upstream of the falls to create unique high-speed waves where the current starts to slow down – and sometimes they break enough to catch. While the water above and behind is quite shallow, the wave can rise up 5, 10, or even 15′ – making it incredibly hard to turn down despite the danger below.
Today was one of those days when there’s enough eddy on both sides to surf – so long as you have your paddle and SCRAMBLE to shore right behind the wave. Jackson Kayak Team member Stephen Wright got to show our new neighbor, former Keener, and current Jackson Kayak customer service intern Albert Binkley this amazing wave and it’s unique challenges today. While few tricks were thrown, watching those boats bounce across the ripples and boils shooting up the face added to the excitement of just standing below the thunder of the falling water exploding into the river bottom upstream. Enjoy the shots!

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