Playspot: Finland, Lieska area, Ruuna Rapids, Neitikoski.
What's it like
Half wave/half hole, some 10 to 15 meters wide (good playing at all water levels). It´s deep so you won´t hit the river bottom (slalom boats cartheel here). Neitikoski is the Finnish name (Neiti=miss and koski=rapid) for the rapid that starts with the play hole and ends with a wave train. For an even bigger picture, the river Ruunaa has a series of rapids and long pools, that start close to the Russian border. Neitikoski is one of 10 or so rapids along that route.
It is not the easiest hole to link multiple ends. You can spin easily in both corners, the left corner being steeper, so it´s pretty easy to throw right hand verticals there. It's harder to initiate in the foam pile because it´s rather unstable.
Median flow is about 70 m3/s of cold, dark, but very clean (drinkable) water and nature here is beautiful. At high water levels there's a good eddy on river left, at low levels on both sides.
Not the most rewarding place to start practising as an absolute beginner, but swims would be safe (the spot is 100-200 meters before a lake).
How to get there
If you drive from Helsinki, then the route to Lieksa goes like this: Helsinki - Lahti - Heinola - Mikkeli - Varkaus - Joensuu - Lieksa. These are the names of the major towns that are along the fastest route to Lieksa. From the Helsinki-Vantaa airport it´s about a 6,5 hours drive (580 kms). See also the map on the Lieska homepage.
When you are about 8 kms from Lieksa, you´ll see a sign "Ruunaan Kosket", which means Ruunaa rapids. Turn right there and drive about 25 kms until you get to the Neitikoski camping area, which is owned and maintained by the Finnish Forest Service. The rodeo hole is on river left. You won´t see it directly from the mainland, since it´s behind an island (which is accessible via a wooden road). The put-in is usually the sandy beach next to the public sauna and you just paddle across the lake. An alternative is to leave your car at the end of the paved road that passes the restaurant/info-building. The wooden road starts there so you can just carry your boat 200 meters to the wave/hole.
Info about the Ruuna Rapids on the Lieska homepage.
In 1999, the Finnish rodeo championships and Eurocup rodeo took place here.
Nearest weather station (°C):
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