of the American River
Ligare goes big
best playspot has a terrible name. That's all there is to it. The Gay
Wave is apparently a popular alternative lifestyle hang out in the
summer months. When the Middle Fork American and North Fork American
are flooding for a combined flow of 20,000-30,000cfs this spot is as
good as it gets. Located about a mile downstream of the Highway 49
crossing, the wave is big fast and bouncy. Eddy service is epic, nearly
a mile long and feeds right onto the wave. Watch out for the occasional
tree in the river.
Yes it's that wide, plenty of room for a party surf!
you can either hike out a steep trail to the road, or continue on
through the Auburn Playpark at high flows. Skirting to the far left is
highly recommended. Then it's also possible to take out by hiking once
again, up to the top of the road. If you don't want to hike, there
really isn't any good news. Even if you paddle down to Folsom Lake and
a few miles to Rattlesnake Bar, you still have to hike about a mile of
flat, because the park will be closed when water is high enough.
At high water the old Auburn Dam was quite a problem, although it was
ran at low flows. Thanks to Reg Lake for sharing these classics.
A few years ago the dam was removed and a playpark was put in.
Unfortunately there is no access to the playpark, so it doesn't get
used as often as it would if it didn't require a two mile hike to
At high flows it's best skirted far on the left side of the channel.
Chris Zawacki flirts with danger.
If the water is up and you are questioning how worth it is, Scott
Ligare says it's the best wave he's ever surfed!