Surf’s up, in the middle of Redding.
The Bureau of Reclamation has released 36,000 cubic feet per second of water from Shasta Dam. One result is that the water flowing over the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District (ACID) dam in Caldwell Park located in central Redding has formed a condition that white water enthusiasts refer to as a “standing and breaking” wave.
The Bureau is continuing the high-volume release of water from Shasta Lake in response to the recent series of storms. Releases from Shasta and Keswick dams ranged between 32,000 and 35,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) on Friday.
Kayaking enthusiast Ron Rogers of Redding cautioned that kayakers must be white-water proficient and properly equipped for big water conditions.
Rogers also strongly encouraged kayakers to take advantage of the high flows in groups. “Don’t do this activity solo!” he added.
Drew Coe of Redding said his goal, and that of many other expert water enthusiasts, is to keep this current wave feature open for competent paddlers.
“It’s a class 3/4 wave, so time on the water is key to success,” he said. “Solid bracing and rolling are a necessity.”
People ignorant of those terms would be advised to admire the white water action from the shore’s safety.
Coe warns people to not enter the waves along that stretch of the ACID dam unless they have fundamental whitewater skills and whitewater rescue skills. But for those who are experienced, and who do possess those skills, these white-water conditions are a rare and exciting opportunity.
The fact that this condition is within Redding city limits also sparks conversations and dreams of a “whitewater park” recreation area that would bring people like Coe and Rogers from far and wide for the chance to surf or kayak a class of big water winter waves not typically seen in this region.
“It really makes downtown Redding one of the best places in the West to be a paddler for a couple of weeks every decade,” he said. “Plus, I literally walk from my house with my boat on my shoulder.”
Kayaking enthusiast Rogers recommends that everyone who intends to enter that stretch of water should first call and inform the Shasta County Sheriff’s dispatch at 530-245-6540.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service is forecasting pleasant weather through the weekend but another “atmospheric river” is expected to slam into the West Coast Tuesday night and into Wednesday, with rain continuing through the following Monday.
Video by Jon Lewis.
Doni Chamberlain contributed to this story.