Playing at Falls Dam

Several years ago, I discovered the area on the other side of the Falls Lake dam, which is the start of the Neuse River. It can be a great park and play spot, with a short stretch of several cool water features that offer a nice standing wave, several cool rapids, and plenty of places to practice ferrying across moving water.

Unlike places further downstream, like the Gunnison Rapid near Poole road or the site of the old Milburnie Dam, that are directly affected by rainfall, the Falls rapids are dam controlled and so you can only go out there when they are releasing from the Dam. I’ve found that around a 1300-1800CFS release is probably the sweet spot for me and while I’ve been out there at much higher rates, once it gets above 3K practicing ferrying is about all I can do. However, at the lower rates, there are several nice surf spots and plenty of places to play around.

The year I discovered this cool play spot was exceptionally wet and so there were a number of releases. I think I made it out there at least 30 times, most of the time with one of my buddies who was practicing for his 5 Star BCU assessment. Unfortunately, we’ve had a very dry spell this winter and before, so there have been much fewer releases this year and so, combined with scheduling issues, I’ve not been able to make it out to the Dam as much as I would like in the past year.

However, I caught the tail end of the most recent release this week, which peaked at around 4K CFS, but was running at around 1300CFS when I went out there. Just as I was getting out from a short hour long session, a guy who had been taking pictures around the dam approached me and asked if I would do one more run in order for him to take some pictures. I obliged and he was kind enough to email them over. Several of them are below:

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