Deschenes Rapids at Low Water - Lower JJ's Wave

Lower JJs playwave is located below the Deschenes Rapids on the Ottawa River in the city of Ottawa. It's a fun little wave good for spinning and blunting. The wave shows up at low water.

Water Levels: The wave comes out at low water with the Britannia River Gauge reading about 57.7.

Safety: DO NOT RUN THE DESCHENES RAPID from above! The Deschenes Rapids are dangerous at all levels. The rapid along the Quebec shore runs through an old hydro facility that has crumbled. As such, it is full of potential pin spots that can kill if you run it from above (see the pictures below). Never paddle alone.

Location: This rapid is located between Aylmer, Quebec and the Britannia area of Ottawa on the Ottawa River. To get to the surf wave you have to paddle up from below the rapid on the Quebec side.
Click on the map to interact with it. To get there cross the Champlain Bridge turn left at Boulevard de Lucerne. Head west until you get to a set of lights. Turn left here onto Chemin Vanier and follow it to the parking lot at the end.
The pictures above show the furthest channel running through the structures and you can see that there is rebar in the water here.

The remaining structures are essentially big strainers. There are multiple holes and potential pin spots throughout the walls.

Below the structures, near the Quebec shore, is a great little surf wave.

Wave character: The wave is like a small bowl with a pile that keeps even the shortest boats surfing on it. This wave, called Lower JJ's, is great for spins and decent for blunts. You can front surf this thing forever. Right above the wave there is an old fishing boat pinned against the structure which has a rope attached to it. This rope extends downstream to the eddy abutting the wave and could be a hazard. This eddy is quite boily and, at times, you feel that you are being pushed into the wall nearest the wave. About 100ft below the wave is a small shallow pourover and there is some lumber just downstream of the pourover. The wave itself is very deep but there is still potential for rebar under the water there so be careful.


Peter Karwacki said...

Deschenes rapid is an opportunity!

Maybe its time we consider drafting a proposal for the rehabilitation of the site?

We could suggest the development of a coffer dam upstream which would put the old dam in dry dock, then refurbish the site by pulling down the old structure.

IT would cost millions of dollars to do this but once finished we might have a significant new paddling resource: what do you think?

Peter Karwacki

Unknown said...

The rebar has got to go, NCC has money - they should remove it! Especially if it's already killed someone!

Mark said...

Hi folks,

I found your pages after googling for info on these hydro ruins. And while I'm not a whitewater enthusiast I do canoe a bit, and can certainly appreciate how interesting this run would be for you if it could get cleaned up!

I was there this past hot Friday and was able to get on the small island due to the low water level, and took some photos.

It would be interesting to find archival photos of this structure being built, because they would've had to do what is being suggested for a cleanup - a cofferdam across the channel.

Unknown said...

is this the best spot in the fall?