Difficulty II at this flow (II(III) normally)
Length 0.17 Miles
Gauge Cedar River at Charles City, IA
Flow Range 601 - 15000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 37 minutes ago 267 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 02/04/2020 2:18 am

River Description

Charles City is Iowa’s First Whitewater Park. DD Wave is arguably one of the best river surfing waves in the Midwest. The whitewater park is approximately 1200ft long with 3 distinct features.

There is typically something to do at flows 600-14,000cfs. The river levels are rain dependent, generally flows are best in spring/early summer. If fall rains prevail, flows can be good into fall/early winter too. It all depends on how much and where the rain falls. End of July, August, Sept are typically the lowest flowing months.

The whitewater park is located in downtown Charles City. Wonderful riverside camping at R Campground. www.rcampground.com. Several restaurants within walking distance of the ww park, Pub on the Cedar, Hotshots, Aromas, Hyvee, Saint Charles Brewing and several others.

Hosted annually, the Charles City Challenge is an action packed day of whitewater fun for the whole family. Loads of awesome prizes and events for all skill levels.

While boaters and surfers are the main users of the park, inner tubers may take to the river during the hot summer months. If you are inner tubing - know your skills/limits, it is strongly suggested to wear a proper fitting PFD, and helmet. Read the signage at the park and USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

For the most up-to-date info check out the Charles City facebook page.

Check out the webcam here www.kayakcc.com
Website www.ccwhitewater.com
Instagram @cc_whitewater
Twitter @ccwhitewater

For the fastest answers DM on FB or Insta, or contact through ccwhitewater.com

Rapid Descriptions

DD Wave (Dam Drop)

Class - N/A Mile - 0.01

Just downstream from the Pedestrian Bridge.

Lots of options at a wide range of flows. Boat, prone, and SUP surfable. The wave is green a majority of the time.
ELF flows. This feature can either be green or foamy, there is no telling what it will do.
Playboat: Some very minor front surfing.
Board: Go for inflatable or a foamie you don’t care too much about as its pretty shallow.

From 600-1000 the wave can be green or foamy, Its usually green but sometimes it feels like foaming up
Playboat:  Front surfing and flatspins
Board: Still shallow, recommended to use inflatable or foamie.

From 1000-1500cfs this is the best trick level for boards! The wave is about 2.5-3ft tall, 25ft wide and pure glass! A good beginner surfer or boater level for learning to surf and more. The whirlpool on river right is a fun ride too!
Playboat: front surfing and maybe flatspins on the lower end of this range.
Longboat: at the higher end of this range (1500) the wave become too flat for a playboat to surf so bring your longer boat and keep on soul surfing. Have seen a sea kayak surf it but purls a lot.
Board: 360s, shuvits, grinds, carving, ollies, and more! Prone and SUP boards both work great!

Playboat: its too flat and fast to surf a playboat. The pocket on river left starts to emerge and you may be able to catch some very mild, small front surfing there.
Longboard: Soul surfing continues
Board: a bit of an awkward level, the wave becomes tricky to catch and you must be just the right to keep from flushing, you gotta move and generate speed. It’s surfable, but can be tricky.

The main portion of DD Wave continues to be green. Eddy access is now from river left. The pocket on river left gets better and better here.
Playboat: the face of the wave is too flat and too fast for short boats to surf. Stick to the pocket for some fun front surfs (closer to 3000-3500 is better)
Longboat: you can still surf a long boat if you want, but most head down to the other features for playboating
Board: SUPs and shortboards work great in the river left pocket, look for the higher end of this flow range for the best surf (2500+ cfs) Below 2500 to 1800 can be another awkward range for boards as the main wave is pretty flat and changes and the pocket isn’t quite formed well yet. The closer to 3500cfs, boards can surf out on onto the green wave face with some skills! 2500cfs to 3500cfs is AWESOME for boards!!!!

The main portion of DD Wave is still green. The river left pocket is still surfable, but it may develop some goofy curlers in it. Eddy access from river left.
Boat: Fun front surfing and flatspins. Blunts, roundhouses, back blunts, airscrews possible with the skills. (it’s a small wave in the pocket, but aerial wave moves have been done here)
Board: SUP and shortboards both work. Eddy access on river left, wade out to the wave and slide on out. Above 4500 cfs or so, you'll have to paddle your board in,  it becomes too deep to wade out. Once you figure out how to work the goofy curler is fun, but can be tricky if you're not used to it.

5500-10000 Eddy access for the main wave disappears, its blocked by a guard curler and the wave itself is green and nearly uncatchable on the fly in boat. Boards may be able to catch the wave, but its fickle and tough to stay on. The swim out to and from the wave is long. On the high end of this sub range 7500-10000 there is a secondary wave that forms behind DD Wave. It changes moment to moment but it does have eddy access and is entertaining to try and surf/spin in a boat. Good for practicing how to wipeout in style.

At about 12000-13800 The top wave can be caught on the fly in a boat or in a sup. Front surfing and spins mostly but its just darn fun to be surfing on that much water through the park. There’s a portion of the wave on surfers left that builds green and then crashes down just a few feet from you, cool to see from a boat! The secondary wave is also catchable so after you flush off the top wave, take a few strokes and you’re ready for another ride. The secondary wave is a bit foamier but very waveish, front surf and spins mostly.

Above 13800cfs all features become flat/washed out.

Tew Shanez

Class - N/A Mile - 0.01

Next feature below DD Wave.

This feature is a generally a wave-ish hole. Its foamy and bouncy most of the time but can green up at super low flows. When its flowing good, its deep enough for freestyle tricks. On the rare occasion this feature forms two fun, friendly foam piles split by a green tongue (*this occurrence is referred to by the locals as Tew Shaning). Eddy service from river right, the feature tends to feed you river left and out. (Why Tew Shanez, you’ll have to ask the locals.)
Its super shallow, can be green or foamy. Can surf in a boat but do not high side!
Still shallow. Can be green but usually its foamy. Can front surf and spin or really low angle cartwheels, but its not that much fun yet. High siding still not pleasant, still shallow!. Can be fun for boards if its green but it doesn’t happen often.
Its typically foamy but can occasionally Tew Shane*.  On the low end of this range, it’s still shallow but can surf/flatspin in a boat. Once flows hit about 2500cfs, its freestyle playboating time!
A foamy wave-ish hole. Eddy access from river right but you’ll need to paddle vigorously to access the feature. It’s deep enough but tough to plug because of its wave-ish nature.
Above 5500cfs eddy access disappears. It remains a wave-ish hole but now catch on the fly. At about 8000-10,000cfs far, far river right forms a fun little beginner wave, but the access to the little wave is challenging as you hav ego paddle/pull yourself up through some willow that are now in the water. Somewhere around 11,000cfs Tew Shanez flattens out.

Exit Exam

Class - N/A Mile - 0.02
This the last feature at the park

This feature is almost always a wave-ish hole, eddy access from river left. Its consistently foamy and controllable for beginners/intermediates. When it’s prime its one of the best spots for play boating. While you can surf the foamy feature on a board, its not much fun, DD Wave is much better. FYI: at lower levels (below 1800) hit your roll as it does get shallow under the bridge. Also make sure you hustle back to the eddy after flushing, otherwise you will be washed below the bridge pier and will have to carry back up.

0-600 Its super shallow, can be green or foamy. Can surf in a boat but do not high side!

600-1800 Foamy, but still shallow. Can side surf and spin or really low angle cartwheels. Too shallow yet for vertical moves, you will hit the bottom with your boat and there is not much pop.

1800-3500 Friendly, foamy, fun! Best levels for play boating are 2100-2600cfs. From 2600-around 3000cfs, its still eddy accessible but it requires quality, powerful strokes to get there and it starts getting flushy. Above 3000 ish to around 3500 its a very mellow front surf catch-on-the-fly, changing from moment to moment

3500-5500 Feature is washed out.

5500+ Feature is washed out.


Gage Descriptions

The gauge is just downstream of the run, therefore should very accurately portray flows in the course.

0-600 CLASS II
600-1800 CLASS II+
1800-3500 CLASS III
3500-5500 CLASS III
5500+ CLASS III+

0-600 extremely low, not much play, maybe some very tame front surfing
600-1800 low runnable, DD moderate playboating, front surf, flatspin, very low angle cartwheels at the higher end of this range. 1000-1500 is the best for riversurfing/sup surfing
1800-3500 runnable, Best playboating levels. Deep enough for freestyle moves! On the higher end of this range riversurfing/sup surfing is great on DD Wave in the pocket
3500-5500 high Playable, but some features lose or have poor eddy access. The top wave is a blast for boats and boards!
5500+ extremely high, Above 5500 eddy access is mostly gone for all features. Some drop in play possible and some secondary waves are eddy accessible but change moment to moment.

Directions Description

Shuttle is carry-up.

No Accident Reports






Steve Weliver


Hannah Ray J


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1197279 02/23/10 Rob Add link to vKWWL video news story.
1200464 08/01/11 Steve Weliver New beta
1201024 02/09/12 Steve Weliver
1201026 02/09/12 Steve Weliver
1214272 02/04/20 Hannah Ray J updated description
1200465 02/09/12 Steve Weliver
1204706 06/09/15 Rob remove broken links
1200350 07/04/11 Steve Weliver
1198167 09/18/10 Rob Change 'proposed' to 'under construction'.
1214273 02/04/20 Hannah Ray J updated stats
1197651 05/15/10 Rob Add new article (link)
1197179 01/30/10 Rob
1200113 05/15/11 Steve Weliver
1200182 05/25/11 Rob Additional news link added.
1200288 06/16/11 Steve Weliver
1200291 06/16/11 Steve Weliver
1209048 03/11/18 Rob fix broken YouTube link
1213507 08/19/19 Hannah Ray J updated stats
1200292 06/16/11 Steve Weliver
1214275 02/04/20 Hannah Ray J updated image position
1214274 02/04/20 Hannah Ray J updated description
1197178 01/30/10 Rob n/a
1197610 05/05/10 Rob Remove broken (dead) link.
1197191 02/01/10 Rob Add dam photos links.
1200345 07/01/11 Rob Add CCwhitewater weblink.
1200351 07/04/11 Steve Weliver
1200352 07/04/11 Steve Weliver
1198440 10/23/10 Rob add new article on progress
1199189 01/27/11 Rob Select featured photo; embed live webcam.
1199577 03/10/11 Rob Add link for March 9 article.
1200385 07/09/11 Rob
1200353 07/04/11 Steve Weliver
1201027 02/09/12 Steve Weliver
1213506 08/19/19 Hannah Ray J updated name