Kayakers take on the waves at a Whitewater kayaking event in Wausau

WPS opens hydroelectric dam to create whitewater on Wisconsin River
Published: Jul. 10, 2022 at 9:13 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Whitewater kayaking is bringing a wave of kayakers to the Wisconsin River. Wausau Whitewater is hosting a recreational release this weekend.

The scheduled release pushes flow rates from the dam to create whitewater. The release of water also causes the river to rush with activity.

“We have a whitewater course here in downtown Wausau that runs off of a dam. The same dam that provides electricity, hydro dam,” said Tom Schrader, the event organizer.

The whitewater flow makes the perfect practice course for paddlers.

“We’ll have about 80 to 120 people show up. They’ll practice river running skills and freestyle skills, just getting better at the craft,” said Schrader.

Clint Massey and Wille Heindel are advanced kayakers. Massey has been kayaking for 8 years while his friend has participated in the sport for 15 years.

“It feels at home, you know. It just feels like I’m with the nature that I belong in,” said Heindel.

Massey said the best part about kayaking in Wausau is being with fellow kayakers.

“You have a whole group of people that are kayaking with you and encouraging you. Getting into features, surfing and it’s just a huge family vibe. It’s a wonderful experience,” said Massey.

The paddlers said kayaking is a great way to get a workout in.

“So it’s actually a lot of core your using when your kayaking. A lot of people think it’s mostly arms but it’s actually, you’re doing a lot of core rotation so it’s a really good ab workout,” said Massey.

Wausau Whitewater’s recreational release isn’t just for the advanced kayakers. The weekend is also a chance for beginners to get their feet wet.

“It’s approximately a 2 and a half hour lesson and it’s $50 for the lesson. So it’s pretty inexpensive and an easy way to get a taste of the sport and see if you like it,” said Schrader.

The next open water event is on July 23rd and 24th. For more information click here.

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