The Payette River Games wrapped up on Sunday when Ben and I loaded our tents up and headed back down to Boise. We spent Monday surfing and hanging out at the park, talking to locals and getting everyone’s thoughts and feedback. It was awesome to see so much support and appreciation for the park. During the lunch hour, there went from four to 20+ surfers and kayakers in the water. A local on shore commented “It’s my favorite place to run. I get to watch people having fun doing what they love.” Local kayakers said the new park is a “game changer for the kayaking community in Boise.” It’s really rewarding to see the features functioning at a high level and impacting a community.
I got to try my hand at river surfing, which was a blast. I’d only ever been in the ocean before, and the amount of wave time logged on each ride is causing huge progression in the sport. Locals were performing huge leaps onto the wave, landing on their boards in a front surf. The FUS crew from Germany was tearing it apart with huge airs, attempting tricks like kickflips that typically aren’t seen anywhere outside of a skate park.
That afternoon there was a huge community event centered around the whitewater park, designed to showcase the features and rally support for Phase 2. A number of professional kayakers and river surfers came down from Cascade to take part in the festivities.
Team Dagger representative Chris Gragtmans said it well when he pointed out how unique this park is: the Boise river park is a well-designed, multi-use venue that united disparate communities. This is not easily accomplished, yet was confirmed by the 100+ in-river users including surfers, kayakers, boogie boarders and swimmers, as well as several hundred on-shore users all enjoying the venue together.
The economic impact the park has had on the surrounding community is readily apparent. Already, a surf shop sprung up next to the park, something that would have previously been unheard of in a landlocked state like Idaho. A set of townhomes is slated to begin construction on the riverfront, evidence of the rejuvenation sweeping the neighboring trailer parks. The additional use and public attention the park brought to the area is doing great things for the neighborhood.
The park owes a lot of its recreational success to the WaveShaper’s adjustability. WaveShaperTM 3 has the capacity to make a smooth, stable wave across any range of flows. Real-time adjustability means that Ryan (the wave technician) could change it from a perfect kayaking wave to a perfect green face for surfing at the push of a button, depending on who is next in line. It even has the capacity to tune while a rider is on the wave, making it steeper or flatter to cater to the riding style of each individual user. I’d never been on an adjustable feature before, so this was pretty eye-opening to me. Side-by-side features allow for both a kayaking hole and surf wave simultaneously- the best of both worlds.
As it got later and the event wound down, we finally peeled ourselves away from the wave and hopped back in the car only a few hours behind schedule. With a long road ahead and plenty on the mind, the drive home capped off a hugely successful trip.
Until next year, Idaho.