What You’ll Find at Whitewater Park
Wausau Whitewater Park located in downtown Wausau is nearing it’s 40th year in operation. From its inception, volunteers have collectively made the park what it is today. At about a third of a mile long the park has something for everyone. The lower portion of the course is designed to be beginner friendly as the bottom 4 features are a great place to learn and fine tune your surfing and spinning skills in the forgiving holes and wave train. Instruction starts downriver as new ones learn their paddle strokes, basic ferrying, and wet exits in the wash below the course. The course is utilized for both slalom and freestyle events. Both the slalom and the freestyle can be scaled to be challenging or a friendly citizen style event.
The Class II+ course starts above the dam, with foot access along the river left sidewalk. Put in the lake and run the canoe/kayak friendly dam (not a lowhead). There is a large crashing wave and the initial view is spectacular. From there the first holes of the park are shortly downstream under the railroad bridge. There is river access just upstream of this hole for those who don’t wish to run the dam.
Proceed downstream where there is another playable hole under the Washington street bridge with great eddy access
As you round the corner the next notable feature is “diagonal “. Commonly underestimated, this is an retentive hole and can easily avoided by running the green water to the river right.
Shortly after that the main feature of the park is Big Drop. It is a beautiful feature from the river and for novice boaters quite a thrill. At least once during the summer there is a wave riding competition called “Ride the Bull” held in the wave of Big Drop where the each competitor hopes to ride the wave for 8 seconds. Those that do, win bragging rights and a cute bumper sticker commemorating their ride.
Right below Big drop is Little drop, an intermediate/advanced feature where a freestyle competition is held each August and throughout the seasons rec releases you will see boaters throwing loops, McNasty’s, cartwheels, or whatever is in their bag of tricks.
River Etiquette for Paddlers during Recreational Releases:
- Paddle at your own risk.
- Paddlers are responsible for your own safety and self rescue.
- Please be prepared to move out of any play feature or position at any given time for people swimming or for paddlers that might not be in total control for your own safety.
- A paddler who is already engaged and playing in a hole or wave generally has right of way and upstream paddlers should safely eddy out and wait for the downstream paddler to finish their ride and safely exit the feature before advancing downstream.
- Be sure that both the paddler above and paddlers below the feature are alerted to the paddler coming downstream.
- Paddlers staged in an eddy waiting their turn to get into a play spot must first let the waiting upstream traffic pass.
- Leave adequate room for paddlers coming downstream to also get into the eddy.
- Be aware of people swimming and paddlers who have lost control of their boat, who may be unable to stop from coming through a feature when you are playing in it.
- Keep a close eye on upstream traffic while in the feature so that you can move out of the way of swimmers or out of control paddlers for the safety of all at all times.
- Enjoy Whitewater Park! We’re glad you’re here!