Today was the first development day for modification to the feature named “Happy Eater” at the Tees Barrage International White Water course. The course uses the Rapid Block system as used in the London Olympics. The blocks are bolted to the floor of the course and can be configured to create a range of features.

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Before the multi million pound upgrade to the course “Happy Eater” was a breaking wave/relatively gentle stopper that was superb for flat spins and blunts. Since re-opening many paddlers have expressed that they wanted something like the old “Happy Eater” back. Thankfully support from the management team at the barrage has resulted in a a new Facebook group being created and a chance for paddlers to design the layout of the course.

Tees Barrage Rapid Block Dev Day June 2013 – HD from Unsponsored on Vimeo.

I’ve been involved in mods on various parts of the course for some time but it is great that we already have development days booked in for the next few months. A huge amount of progress was made tonight with a pretty good feature being

After trying 3 or 4 configurations tonight I can draw the following conclusions:

Keeping the block 1 x high at Happy Eater gives just enough clearence for paddlers who capsize.
The block river right on the eddy line helps to straighten and centre the flow.
What happens in the pool below the feature is what is going to make the difference.