What California Activity Is Also Popular Here In Wyoming?
Surfing is probably something you haven't ever thought about doing, but you don't need to go to California to do it.
River surfing has been an activity that surfing lovers have been doing for years here in Wyoming. After the snow melt, surfers will ride the waves of Snake River's Lunch Counter Rapids. These rapids are so popular that Surfer Today.com has put them in the top river surfing rapids in the world.
The best waves at Lunch Counter are usually in late May through mid to late June and surfers roll into Wyoming to check out the unique waves.
When the Jackson Lake Dam releases water during snowmelt, the water levels rise and causes the Snake River to flow extremely rapidly causing the constant waves. Surfers will put on their wet suits and head into the cold waters.
It's not a secret that the river's rapids are legendary, there have been white water rafting trips there since the 1800's. River surfing has been a part of the early summer in the Jackson Hole area since the late 70's. In the 1980's Body Glove apparel company brought a group of pro surfers to the Cowboy State to surf the rivers and the word began to spread.
The thing that really sets river surfing apart from surfing in the ocean, the constant wave. In the ocean you may only get 10-20 seconds on the board. In the river, you can stay on the board for long periods of time.
According to river surfers, even though there are spots in Idaho and Montana with river waves, the waves at Lunch Counter are still the best natural river surfing spot.
The biggest issue is the danger involved. If you wipe out, you're going to be swept down river with the possibility of crashing into rocks. Before you ever attempt to river surf, you have to know how to navigate the rapids without getting hurt. Obviously anytime you're in water without a floatation device, there are dangers of drowning.