One of the most prominent and used features at Rock Island, Tennessee from 1999 until 2009 was Brave Wave. It is a wave I named the first time I got on it, which was after a big flood in 1999. The eddy service is awesome, but you have to be fast to catch it every time, and the bottom of the eddy has an undercut rock that makes it a bit tedious for many. “Brave Wave” as in you have to be brave to surf it. The higher your skill set the less brave you need to be as you could catch the eddy high most of the time.
Well, in 2009 we had another big flood, nearly 100,000 cfs. After the river went down to around 10,000 cfs, we saw that Brave Wave was GONE!! I am pretty sure I cried. It was our wave surfing training grounds for Clay, Nick, Dane, Stephen Wright, Emily, and I and lots of guests as well. I won the Buseater Worlds training on Brave Wave, and so did Emily. Nick won Thun and third on Buseater, and Dane was second on both. Stephen Wright was 3rd in Thun…. While we also training in Uganda, etc.., Brave Wave was our home spot.
EJ’s Winning Ride on BusEater At the World Championships after years of training on Brave Wave…
From 2009 until April 2019 we didn’t have a good wave to train on. The “Top Wave” got a lot of surfing time but it was not very exciting or easy.
This March we got a rain that created 107,000 cfs peak and it ran over 100,000 cfs for 12 hours. This is in a river that typically has from 1,500-3,600 cfs in it. We knew that something would change, but not sure what…
The Seal launch rock at the put-in disappeared, which I think I cried about that one, too. We had to wait on the rest of the river as Center Hill Lake jumped up 30 feet and flooded out the rapids. Finally, the lake went down and the rains came again.
I was away at an FLW Bass Fishing Tournament and returned from there with a friend, Scott Eliston. I was going to teach Scott to roll and then run the rapids. We walked down to scout Brave Wave Rapid when, without thinking about it, looked across the river and saw an epic wave!!! Brave Wave was BACK!!
The only thing I can think of, is that a rock fell in upstream of the wave making it go away. That rock then got washed downstream and the bedrock that once made Brave Wave is, once again free from obstruction.
I have done 8 sessions on Brave Wave in the past 6 days! I am training for wave surfing once again in my backyard!
From what I can tell here are the levels and what you can expect:
3,000-3,800 cfs: Steep, foamy, righty shoulder but very tight! All hole and wave moves possible, but not easy.
3900-50000- same as above, but the green face gets bigger as the water goes up.
5-7000- Face gets big, wave “squares up” and has two shoulders, moves get bigger and easier.
7-9000- Gets taller and greener until it becomes hard to stay on at 9,000.
Rock Star 4.0 is perfect for this wave- it is fast, retentive, and easy to take off. At the lower Levels you can loop it HUGE!
Front surfing an Antix is also fun!
Rock Island is now twice as fun, again!
See you on the water!