Playspot: Spain, North-West, Portugese border, River Miño, Miño wave
What's it like
Depends on the flow, which is regulated by the Frieira electricity station. The 'ecological flow' is 25 m3/s and when the station is working, it varies between 125 and (hardly ever) 800 m3/s.
Best time is summer, when the station release creates water levels between 125 and 225 m3/s, exceptionally reaching 325 m3/s. Depending on the water level, you'll find different sorts of playspots:
Up to 125 m3/s: The famous wave forms at this level. It consists of several playable waves in a wave train. The first one is smooth and open (horizontal moves), followed by a more closed wave that breaks in the upper part (vertical moves). At this water level there used to be another beautiful playspot, a bit before the bridge, but due to exceptionally high water levels it was flushed.
Above 125 m3/s: it's worth to travel up to Frieira and put in below the dam. At the beginning of the first rapid, next to the right bank there is a nice playspot. Further down you'll find huge surfable waves.
If you don't feel like paddling you can get off the river at Pousa Station. ( 4 km. )
As there is no scale, you have to watch the river level at the put-in: if you see rocks and sand in the middle of the river, it is low. If the walls on the banks are under water, it's too high.
The water is normally warm and entering the wave is easy. No danger if you have to swim for some reason (you can drop your paddle while you surf...).
How to get there
The Miño river forms the border between Portugal and Spain in this area.
Starting in the very north of Portugal, near the Atlantic, take the road that crosses the country - IC 1 - direction Melgaço. Just before you arrive in this little village, you see a cross that indicates Spain to the left, but you turn right, and then right again and follow a little road that goes right to the water. There you can park your car and enter the river. Paddle down 500 meters to get to the wave (not visible from the starting point).
After a great day on the wave, you'd better have saved some strength: you must paddle up to the starting point (making 3 portages).
For water level information you can contact Arrepions: +34 986603009, or the Station in Frieira: +34 988494001.
There is some footage of Shaun Baker here in the video ID (#1).
You can find more pictures of the Miño in the book "Kayak en Galicia".
Every weekend during summer there are lots of paddlers on the river, as well as rafts. The fishermen are not violent...
H2O-Spanish National Whitewater Association