The flat shelved rock (for which the river is named) creates hydraulic jumps that are a blast. At the lower discharges it should afford many surfing opportunities. At the larger levels, a thrill but probably not technically challenging.
One report forwarded to AW includes descriptions of being in troughs that "I could not see out of and at least one haystack that I avoided that was probably 7-8 feet tall."
Benjamin Swain provides (2008-04-07):We put in at the Hidden Paradise campground just outside St Paul, rather than the old 421 bridge. A fun beginner river, some good surfing waves.
Ran on 3-18-2010 at 750 CFS. A few playspots downstream of Hidden Paradise CG. Put in at 421 Bridge. Out at Conns Creek. Not extremely quick current at this level and waves were such could be run Open Canoe without flotation. Would prefer to run over 1,000 CFS. Talked to some locals who also preferred at higher levels.
Ran on 4/10/2010 at 1000-1100 cfs. I agree with all of these statements. The most fun rapids are just after the bridges at the tri-lake/Hidden Paradise campground section of the river. The last 20 minutes before the take-out at River Road were super flat/smooth and relaxing. Not a good river level for beginners who have never paddled whitewater before--we had 5 canoes and 4 flipped at some point--some more than once.
Levels of 200 cfs plus are reportedly class I. Somewhere above that, some large standing waves appear.
Benjamin Swain provides (2008-04-07):
Prime window is said to be 800 cfs to 1200 cfs. Around 1000 cfs it gets borderline Class II. A group ran it at 1600 cfs and said it was fast and there were few eddies. Looked like a bad level to swim at.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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The Mini Wave
Surfing the Flatrock
Catching a wave
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