I found this within the Unsponsored archives and thought it might be of interest. Before the changes to the Tees Barrage Whitewater course this is what the course was like. It was so long ago I had forgotten that there even was an island river left at the top of the course! Enjoy.
Inlet gate – Easy Rider
A smooth surfaced green wave that can be very easy or very hard to catch depending on the rate of flow down the course. Given the correct kayak and skill you can surf all day forward/backwards, flat spin and on a good day side surf. If you do miss getting on to Easy Rider you could always pretend you were aiming for one of the smaller waves on the following wave train. It must be noted that if you know you won’t be able to catch the wave that a wave wheel is possible, but it is shallow!
After Easy Rider the course bares to the left. Configuration at this point of the course is dependent on the positioning of the bollards. But generally on this corner there is a small breaking wave that will allow surfing, spins and very low angle cartwheels. This area of the course provides an ideal warm up spot and practice area for break ins/outs, ferry gliding etc…. Once you pass the island river left you are heading down the first straight.
Always has a number of surfavble waves. The one just after the foot bridge being the biggest. This wave is worth a surf and possibly a few ends.
This favourite of many forms on the first sharp turn. Unlike the small waves Happy Eater is formed by the gradient of the course. Its character can alter dramatically depending on the flow rate and the angle of the two bollards positioned just up stream. At present Happy Eater is a fantastic wave where spins, cleans and blunts can be achieved. This is the ideal place to get your first foray into flat spins yet is challenging enough to push the experts. If you’re not getting flushed out, you’re not trying hard enough! Just below Happy Eater river right is a large bollard that will always form a stopper. Try get some ends in it – it’s worth a go.
After the Happy Eater pool the back straight begins with assorted bollards forming numerous waves. Most can be surfed, spun on or even wave wheeled. This section under goes the most changes and many paddlers simply paddle straight through. Many of these waves are worth a go.
Once a very meaty stopper Cruncher has mellowed in its old age. Again one of the larger waves it shape is governed by the shape of the course and the bollards placed up stream. Over the last two years developments have taken place to give paddlers a retentive hole that can be cartwheeled. It is possible to but takes practice. A deflection plate river left and concrete tube right have pushed the wave into the centre and towards the section of the course that has a deeper floor. Cruncher is a good wave that is often left free of the hoards of paddlers who usually stay at Happy Eater.
UPDATE: – Crucher has recieved a revamp (July/August 02). An additional deflection plate has been added and bollards repositioned to force the main wave perfectly over the hole. Cruncher in now retentive enough for cartwheels and splitwheels in either direction. The depth of the hole also means that boats such as Riot Glides can cartwheel without fear of hitting the bottom. The wave is currently at its best and most retentive before the water level drops to reveal Valentines.
As you move down stream form cruncher you run down a nice slope into Valentines. The wave when fully formed is a highly retentive wave with enclosed ends. Like Cruncher, Valentines has a deeper floor. The key to playing in Valentines is to keep moving, once you stop the wave is very reluctant to let you go. Spins,blunts, cleans, cartwheels, and loops are possible here. This wave is worth a few hours of play.
As the tide rises and the water level at Valentines rises too which turns Valentines initially into a surging wave and then into a small broken wave river right. Surfing and a couple of ends are possible. At this sort of level the Valentines pool is great for stern squirts and flatwater cartwheels.
This particular wave strikes fear into many and when the tide is very low this wave is indeed a monster. Many paddlers spend time simply staring at it and psyching themselves out. The run into Acid drop is straight forward with no real danger or obstructions. At this point I would like to mention the following, DON’T RUN IT IN THE CENTRE!, use some technique and run it correctly. Some paddlers even attempt to run over the concrete believing it to be the safe option only to find themselves sucked back in for a few power flips, DON’T DO IT. If you have managed to break through the wave when it is big in the centre that is down to huge amounts of luck and little skill or you may have been paddling something over 3m long. When big this wave cannot be approached by paddling as hard as you can and hoping you get through. If you bail and your boat becomes stuck and it is then a serious danger to the other paddlers and rafts that use the course.
However it is fairly easy to run Acid Drop in even the shortest of play boats – check out this image for the correct line. As the tide rises Acid drop becomes a fantastic cartwheeling wave that is retentive enough for ends but shouldn’t give you a good kicking. The best indication is the water level in relation to the steps. As you sit in either eddy with your boat pointing upstream you will be able to see a set of steps on your left. If the water is close to the base of the lowest step the level is just right. Below this level you must be confident in your abilities, the wave is good fun until the water reaches the level of the lip (the concrete edge of the course) below that the wave becomes serious and part of the Teesside WW course folk law. Above this level the wave still remains playable but easily flushes you out. The course at is deepest below Acid drop but the wave itself is formed by a concrete ramp. If you initiate the cartwheel to far up stream you will hit the bottom and it will hurt.
If big the area below Acid drop is quite boily and provides an excellent area to stern squirt, cartwheel or practice ferry gliding. Just keep out of the tow back and watch the eddy lines.
When the water is high there will be no sign of what monster lies beneath the surface.