River surfing is the sport of surfing either standing waves or tidal bores in rivers. Claims for its origins include a 1955 ride of 1.5 miles along the tidal bore of the River Severn. Surfing on standing waves has been documented as far back as the early-1970s in Munich, Germany, today offering the world's largest urban surfing spot.
Idaho and surrounding states are home to some of the best man-made and natural standing waves in the U.S. They range from the technological wonder the Boise River Park with its adjustable flash panels to Peace Wave near Riggins.
Close by is Wyoming's premier wave is churned up by the Snake River’s Lunch Counter Rapids just outside of Jackson Hole. It has been an open secret among surfers for years. The waves are produced when snowmelt and release activities from the Jackson Lake Dam cause water levels to rise and the river to flow 8,000 to 12,000 cubic feet per second.
During most years, the Lunch Counter wave is active for two to six weeks, usually from late May until June. But the wave is inconsistent, sometimes lying dormant for days at a time. This year, however, the folks in Jackson Hole have been experiencing a rare event, with the river producing consistently ridable waves for 40-plus days, and at the time of this writing, the waves are still pumping.
For more information about river surfing and SUPing, boards and gear, contact Idaho River Sports!
The Sky Tower Films video below was shot at the Boise River Park during a severe cold snap in December 2014 when temps dipped to 10 degrees.