Getting Wet on The Dallas Wave

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Photos by Harry Wilonsky
For the moment, at least, it isn't easy to access The Former Trinity Standing Wave, known, for now, as The Dallas Wave -- though that's but an unofficial working title being floated out there (see what I did?). Willis Winters, assistant director of Parks and Rec, offered to show it off Saturday morning, and he instructed us to meet him at the 8th & Corinth Station so we could follow. The white-water feature is but a few minutes' drive away, but over an impromptu gravel road and beneath transmission towers and the Corinth Street bridge.

There's much work to be done on the project between now and its soft opening two months from now -- it's still very much a construction site, much of it related to the Santa Fe Trestle project that, when it's done, should connect Moore Park with the other Trinity rails. But as we've seen in the past, that hasn't stopped kayakers from donning their wetsuits, climbing in their cockpits and paddling out to the aquatic treadmill.

There were more than half a dozen men in boats out in the drink Saturday; they insisted it was warmer in the water than on the shoreline, where cloud cover and brisk winds kept us company. To a man they approved of The Dallas Wave (which is actually two waves), even on Saturday, when the water level was as low as they'd seen it in recent months. And they laugh at those who scoff at their submerging into the Trinity, where "water quality" is often considered an oxymoron.

Winters, standing with us on the shore, loves the location, which one day, perhaps sooner than later, will feature barbecue grills and other park-like amenities for bystanders and kayakers alike. "There's the downtown Trinity," he said, pointing toward the skyline, "then the natural river," looking downriver, toward the woods-shaded water flowing toward the Audubon Center, among Dallas's greatest treasures -- and best-kept secrets.

"Sometimes, when I stand down here," said Winters, one of the city's finest historians and most passionate advocates, "I forget I'm in Dallas."

The 7-year-old who lives in my house took the photos, but of course. And more follow.

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Upside-down in the Trinity River, completely on purpose

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Until the put-ins are completed, this is how kayakers enter the wave.

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Ozark Homesteader
Ozark Homesteader

That looks like a really friendly wave.  As an OC1 boater, I'm pleased to see the C1 boater in the last (best) pic but wish the reporter knew that that's not a kayak!

SJ
SJ

I went down there the other day and wow, what a bunch of a-holes. I guess they think that since they play in toilet water that somhow gives them the right to be like that? It was like they thought they were Patrick Swayze's crew in Point Break - just complete jerks. They can have their sewage water.

Patches
Patches

Who did you talk to? What was the context? Everyone seems friendly to me.

SJ
SJ

The context was a FISTFIGHT.

djtejas
djtejas

I guess any moron can post stupidity here...???

BigDaddyD
BigDaddyD

Stop spreading your hateful lies. I've been down there with all the paddlers and everyone is friendly and helpful. No one's ever been a jerk or had an elitist attitude toward anyone. Everyone treats the river and others with respect down there.

SJ
SJ

"All the paddlers"? You weren't down there with me I guess. Your assertion that you know "all the paddlers" is elitist in itself. There's already gangs poaching time on the wave, and some of the gangs aren't too friendly, you know what I am saying? I guess you'll find out soon enough when its your turn. I hope you get jostled off the wave. I hope you get threatened. You make these kayakers out to be suburban choirboys out for some recreation. Truth is, most are tattood up party animals looking for their next rush. Sometimes that comes from extreme sports, sometimes a can of Red Fox, and sometimes it comes from assaults and worse. They don't care, and you don't have a freaking clue about any of it. Until you get that clue, I would suggest that you SHUT YOUR IDIOTIC MOUTH.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

This guy is absolutely right. Have YOU SEEN THE CHAOS AND DESTRUCTION that follow this mid-aged 8-5 working crowd to the towns they visit?!?!

I once heard that some whitewater kayakers slaughtered a whole village in Eastern PA just to put on a run they were denied access to! Women and children were deskinned, then there skin was turned into a tent, and within that tent those DIRTY hippies did TERRIBLE THINGS (like talk about the ENVIRONMENT!)!

THE WHORROR

SJ's_Mom
SJ's_Mom

Fuck off SJ.

SJ's_Mom's_Worst_Nightmare
SJ's_Mom's_Worst_Nightmare

I will take you if I ever see you at the wave. The turf wars start now tough guy. As far as you are concerned, anonymous a-munch, its MY wave. Stay home. LOCALS ONLY. I hope you run into Heddon's gang out there. They'll take care of you. What kind of kayak do you have? TELL ME TOUGH GUY!

Engmofo
Engmofo

Ben do you know if a helmet & PFD are reqd. to surf?

Ben
Ben

No. But they would be a good idea. Logs float down the river all the time and could easily get jammed in between the wave features.

I took this photo about 48 hours before the coffer dam was removed. Almost the same spot where young Mr Harry took the first photo in the story above

http://img29.imageshack.us/img...

I think that should serve as good reference as to what is under the water. Lots of rocks and concrete. Take a header and it would probably really hurt. Alot.

The guy who surfed the wave on a surfboard was a former professional surfer who has surfed Mavericks and all sorts of really hairy places. He wore a helmet and PFD.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

While I am sold on the idea.

Unless those guys are a city official or a professionals hired to work on the project How about they wait until the rapids are Officially OPEN for public use before they use them ?

Yes its cool yes its fun .

But there need to be Keep out Warnings Posted until the area is Completely finished

All you need is someone like me Floating just below the Rapids face down in the river with Tags trailing the equipment I just bought at Dicks sporting goods .... To Spoil the fun....

BigDaddyD
BigDaddyD

True, the construction isn't completed, but we have not been going down there without permission. We've been invited on several occasions to paddle the waves for various reasons. We've been asked to test them for the engineers, we been asked to demonstrate how the wave works for various city groups, and we were invited down there for this article and other members of the press. There will also be other events and demonstrations prior to the official grand opening.

I'm sure some people have paddled down there or snuck in, but it is a navigable waterway and there are other ways to get on the river without going through the construction site.

chris
chris

Its a navigable river, so I don't believe anyone can stop the boaters. Even if construction was happening.

Rooster
Rooster

You couldn't pay me enough to kayak in the toxic waste dump known as the Trinity River...

Ben
Ben

I guess it depends upon where you draw your line in the sand. Some people(alot of people) eat fish at turtles out of the river without thinking twice. Most of the fisherpeople I have come across are elderly and have been eating fish and turtles out of the river in the Joppa area their entire lives.

It's not so much the e.coli in the water that is the worry. It's the PCB's and heavy metals from decades of industrial dumping that is the worry. If you worry. I really don't think you should unless your momma raised you on Trinity River catfish.

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

Add that to the list of crazy stuff white people do along with: hiking along the Iran-Iraq border, sailing the world alone, hot-air ballooning alone, among other things.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

oh thats right, why would anyone want to see the world when they can do those same things attempting to cross the texas mexico border!

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

Say what you will about crossing the Texas-Mexico, but the point remains those people are trying to flee a shit hole, where as the crazy ass bored-out-of-his mind white dude runs to shitholes looking for "adventure."

Engmofo
Engmofo

So answer me this Should I choose to take my life in my hands & actually SURF this , is anyone going to object?

Ben
Ben

Already been surfed with a surfboard. You are late to the party, nancy.

Flow needs to be higher though to get the hydraulics right. It's really low right now. Lowest I have seen it in a very long time. Maybe since the winter of 2006. if you go further downstream you can really see the sandbars and gravel that are not usually seen.

I have spent alot of time along the Trinity and gotten a feel for the water quality. Worst time to go is right after a rainstorm. Those next 24 hours or so are all storm drain runoff from streets and gutters as the Able, Baker, Charlie, Delta stations fire up and hurl tons of really nasty runoff up over the levees and into the river. Best time to go is a few days after a rainstorm when the area lakes start to equalize their elevations. The water in the Trinity will be made up of 95% cold water flowing out of the bottom of Grapevine and Lewisville lakes as they release water.

Engmofo
Engmofo

I'm guessing longboard. Got a 7'8" egg that would work well there I think. Thx for the advice about the levels

Ben
Ben

The Santa Fe Trestle Trail and the Santa Fe Trail share a similar name. That's it. There are no plans to link the two. The current construction will end just short of the north levee.

If one wants to visit and the gates are locked, you can walk a shorter distance by stopping at the gate where Industrial Blvd(Riverfront) dead ends on the north levee and hoofing it from there.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Right -- sorry, meant the other Trinity trails. My bad. Much obliged.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Amoebiasis is a hell'uva weight loss plan.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Awesome pics, Harry!

Ed D.
Ed D.

Indeed. Love the juxtaposition of the kayaks with the DART train.

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