Surfs Up on the Connecticut River

Video by Haley Ryger & Rachel Ayotte

HOLYOKE— A surfers daydream lays right between the banks of the Connecticut River. The “Wave-o-Saurus”, located near the dinosaur footprint reserve in Holyoke is a rare standing wave.

Standing waves or stationary waves are developed when there is a high concentration of water rapidly flowing over a jutting rock formation. This formation allows for the creation of a constant wave directly behind. Although it seems as if the surfer is in constant motion, they are not actually moving. The wave in Holyoke is formed every year in the same exact place.

“It’s a really fun standing river wave. It only breaks when its raining out or if the snow melts, usually in the Spring. It doesn’t usually break this early in the season.” Said Rick Napp, Vice President of Umass Surf Club.

The wave can only form when there is an overabundance of river water. It usually forms in April due the liquidation of snow and ice but due to such high temperatures this season, it has formed much earlier. Noticeable ice formations float right along the river as well due to the strange recent temperature changes.

This hidden gem is only known to a few locals and mainly those interested in water sports. Kyle Morose, a local surfer said, “Every now and then I will see 5 or 10 people here. Its real popular with the white water kayakers, they’re always sending it.” Other than that the spot is overlooked due to the dinosaur footprint reserve directly across from the river. Some local spectators will come out if they know a storm has just passed and anticipate a group of expert surfers.

The wave located in the Connecticut river is known to be of expert level and only highly experienced surfers and kayakers should attempt to ride out the wave. Surfers are forced to position themselves in alignment with the wave in order to catch it just in time. After surfers are forced to fight against the current and paddle swiftly to shore.

Although the wave only breaks once or twice a year, it is truly a sight to see.