Terminator Wave

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Quick Facts

  • Class: IV
  • Type: Play Feature
  • Length: 20 meters (66 feet)
  • Alternate Names: Paradise Wave
  • Previous Rapid: Pillow Rock
  • Next Rapid: Terminator
  • Interactive Map: Futaleufu River Valley
  • River Section: Middle Futaleufu, Terminator Section


A detailed sketch illustrating the key kayak lines of Terminator Wave
A detailed sketch illustrating the key kayak lines of Terminator Wave

Located just above the Terminator Rapid, on river-left, is a massive, super fast wave with a breaking face known as the Terminator Wave. The wave is capable of supporting three kayaks on it simultaneously and will make most flat hull boat go airborne. Behind the wave is the You Won’t be Back Hole followed by sizable rock at medium to lower water levels. The wave is serviced by Gold’s Gym Eddy a name that will make perfect sense once you spend some time in it.

High and Low Water

At low water the wave face will become steeper and often develop a random breaking crest. At high water the wave can flatten out and becomes faster, making the wave difficult to catch and surf in a smaller boat.


Surfing the Terminator Wave.
Surfing the Terminator Wave.

You can scout the wave from the river-right side from Last Action Eddy but this will require you to ferry across a pushy section of river just above the approaches to the center-line of Terminator rapid.


You Won’t be Back Hole is the greatest hazard associated with the Terminator Wave. If you blow the surf and end up in the hole you probably won’t be able to get back to the eddy or the surf-wave. The other hazard is the possibility of breaking a paddle or blowing a spray skirt on the surf-wave itself. Directly behind the wave lies the Class V+ center-line of Terminator, not a place anyone wants to be with faulty equipment, or when out of their boat.

Maximizing Play

Gold's Gym Eddy service to the Terminator Wave.
Gold's Gym Eddy service to the Terminator Wave.

The Terminator wave is best caught from the Gold’s Gym service eddy on river left – all effort should be made to catch and stay in this eddy. The eddy can be reached by ferrying directly across the river from the river-right side or can be caught by picking your way along the river-left wall. When you see the wave move out toward the face and cut inside to the eddy before you hit wave face.

To catch the wave put the nose of your kayak as close as possible to the rocks and surf out with a shallow angle. Surfing out to the wave is just about the only option as there won’t be time to pivot your boat with a more aggressive ferry angle, especially in a small boat.

Once on the wave expect to go airborne frequently and spin if you can. Most paddlers fall off the wave by allowing their bow to purl in the wave trough and endo-ing or pirouetting out. A quick roll and recovery is essential to avoid the You Won't be Back hole behind the wave. Good luck and have fun!


Corran Addison and Dan Gavere on the Terminator Wave. PaddleQuest 1996 Video

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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