Last Wave is a Rock

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Quick Facts

  • Class: IV
  • Type: Drop-Pool
  • Length: 75 meters (250 feet)
  • Alternate Names: Wina
  • Previous Rapid: Puma
  • Next Rapid: Cazuela
  • Interactive Map: Futaleufu River Valley
  • River Section: Lower Futaleufu, Bridge-to-Bridge


A detailed sketch illustrating the key kayak lines of Last Wave is a Rock
A detailed sketch illustrating the key kayak lines of Last Wave is a Rock

After Puma comes Last Wave is a Rock. This rapid contains some of the best catch on-the-fly surf waves on the Futaleufu. These waves are "special waves" that get even more special as you proceed down the wavetrain. With each passing wave the surfing gets better and better. The last wave is the most special of all – consisting of a large rock which develops into a violent boat eating pour-over at medium to high flows. This rapid is a reminder that good things don’t last forever and why bad things happen to good people - who forget where they are.

High and Low Water

The waves of this rapid are created by a "damming effect" due to the rock that sits in the middle of the channel. At low flows this damming effect is lost and the waves tend to flatten out and lose speed. At low flows the rock is also more exposed making it easy to avoid. At high flows this rapid will wash-out.


The "Rock" at low water from the Spectator Area.
The "Rock" at low water from the Spectator Area.

Boat scout from just left of center above the rapid. A scout from shore can be accomplished from river-left but it is very difficult proposition. If you run this rapid the one thing you need to know is that: "the last wave is a rock".


The only real hazard in the rapid is the "Last Wave". However, errant kayakers usually come through the wavetrain with so much speed they blow through the pour-over. For the unlucky few that get caught the hole can be violent and retentive. Take note that you can also skirt the hole on river-left if there is not too much reactionary current coming off the wall.

Moving around the "Rock" at low water.
Moving around the "Rock" at low water.

Play Opportunities

Try and catch and surf all the waves in the wavetrain, especially the one just in front of the rock. When you have had your fill, eddy out on river-right.

Where to Swim

Swim toward the river-right eddy.

Where to Rescue

Rescue kayakers should be positioned in the river-right eddy across from the "Last Wave".

Where to Portage

Up-top on a low water run of The Last Wave is a Rock.
Up-top on a low water run of The Last Wave is a Rock.

Running the Rapid

Running this rapid is a test of will power, and counting ability. There are about seven big waves on this rapid before the Last Wave. Seven is a best-guess-estimate from over twenty years experience of running this rapid. Sometimes there are more than seven waves, and sometimes less than seven. A general rule of thumb is that if you reach a wave count of seven your great day of paddling is about to become a really memorable one. Don’t forget to wave to your non-mathematically challenged friends, who will be watching you from the eddy on river-right.

Copyright & Terms of Use

  • Copyrights: (Copyright © 2006, Expediciones Chile) All photos, maps, diagrams, text and computer code is the copyrighted property of Expediciones Chile with all rights reserved.

  • Terms of Use: Any type of reproduction, republication, or re-transmission for commercial use is prohibited without the expressed, written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users of this Wiki guidebook may print copies of the text, images and diagrams for personal river running use only. Users may not alter the diagrams or text without expressed written permission of Expediciones Chile. Users must read and acknowledge the disclaimer before printing. Printing implies acknowledgment of the disclaimer.


  • Disclaimer: Under no circumstances should paddlers substitute the information and diagrams in this guidebook for their own sound judgment on the river and their collective experience running rivers. This guidebook is based on Expediciones Chile's twenty years of experience running the Futaleufu River. However, the diagrams and descriptions found here are only approximations of what paddlers will find on the river once they get here. They are not to scale and nor are they completely accurate. Water levels change, rocks move around, landslide debris can enter the river at any time making the diagrams obsolete. Expediciones Chile also reserves the right to update these diagrams and descriptions at any time as we find better ways to illustrate and discuss the rapids. Use this guidebook at your own risk.

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