The new river recreation park on the Boise River saw a quiet day on Memorial Day. Despite the 75-degree weather, the cloudless sky and the many riders passing by on the Greenbelt, the water remained deserted.
“I’ve seen 30 kayakers today come get in, try it for 15 minutes, and leave,” Teva-wearing Jim Sutton said. He’s been kayaking in and around Boise for 26 years. When he isn’t boating, he works as the activity coordinator for the kinesiology program at Boise State.
He said he’s happy to see the wave has been built.
“It’s 25 years in the making,” he said.
But Monday didn’t impress.
The wave is constructed with several panels that can be raised and lowered by inflatable airbags underneath them. This adjustable feature lets the wave change with the Boise River’s flow. While the flow was high, the wave worked great, but since the water level has dropped, it needs changes, Sutton said.
After 5 p.m., kayakers started showing up. One, and then three, and then two more, until seven brightly colored boats and paddlers floated by the wave. One would head in, struggle for a few seconds to stay on the wave, and instantly be swept back.
“See, it just flushes them instantly,” Sutton said, standing on the bank. The water flipped the kayakers over almost every single time they made an attempt. They continuously rolled back up and gave their heads a shake.
Part of this has to do, though, with the fact that the wave isn’t officially opened yet. The celebration party for its grand opening will be Thursday, June 28, from 5-7 p.m.
Amy Stahl, community relations coordinator for Boise Parks and Recreation, said as the river drops, the city is doing maintenance on the wave.
“Two people have been hired as wave shaper technicians,” Stahl said. “They will monitor flow and adjust the wave daily.”
Mike Copeland pulled his bright orange kayak out of the water Monday, his blue dry suit and brown hair dripping wet.
“It’s not bad,” he said, sitting on the rocks watching the other boaters. “It’ll take awhile to dial it in. But it’s still fun. It’s always fun.”
Copeland makes outdoor films and has grown up rafting Idaho’s rivers. He’s played on the wave over a dozen times already.
“It’s the best money ever invested in Boise,” he said.
Though he said the wave was not particularly beginner friendly without any adjustments. “It’s dynamic,” he said as another boat flipped.
“But you’re on the river,” Sutton said. “A bad day on the river is still better than any other day.”