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Suck River

  Grade:   2 to 2       Rating: river rating
  County:   Roscommon   Date updated:26/04/2008
  Section Length:   25 meters!   Version: 2 (History)

Brief River Description

When there is enough water the river will flow over the weir and the dam gates will be opened. If gates are opened there is one long 20ft wave (Class II) that is extremely stable.

Put on is from the steps above the weir. Paddle over wier and possible the easiest entry onto a wave is possible thanks to the concrete Salmon Leap, which allows you to paddle up the side wall and drop straight onto the wave. The Suck is extremely shallow in this area (no deeper than 3 Ft all around the bridge)and even shallower (~1.5ft) at the wave. The depth severely limits what moves are possible here.

A fast flowing series of man made pool drops from 1-3 ft. Great access and safe parking. An ideal place for introducing beginners to whitewater with some play potential at the right levels.

Directions to the Put-in

Athleague, Roscommon. 8 kms from Roscommon town on the Galway Rd (N63). In Athleague village, exit the N63 at Keane's supermarket. The bridge is 150m away and has ample parking at the Angler's Center. Check the river before unloading gear as this is a small dam and does not always run!

Second spot of note is in Ballinasloe. Coming from Dublin on the N6 you pass the dock on your left just before the new Shearwater Hotel. Take the 2nd left turn just after this down Harbour Rd. Left again a few hundred metres down this road (you should pass the old Square D factory on your left now) and continue out the narrow road until you come to its end which is at the lock gates. Park here, get in just upstream of the gates and paddle to the far side of the island.

NB: Check with the gatekeeper what time the car park is being closed at!

Directions to the Take-out

The wave is on one side of the village bridge. The take out is on the other side of the bridge. Total river distance ~50m! Park and Play.

Run the rapids, get out at the bottom and head up to the top again!

River Description

The weir is a 6 ft drop into shallow water.

The wave is below the gates, when opened.

Further downstream, on the edge of Ballinasloe, the Suck drops in height a few metres. A man made run of approx 500m consisting of a series of small drops/holes/waves can be found on the far side of the lock gates at Poolboy. This is the only other place on the river of interest to whitewater paddlers. It's a great spot to introduce beginners to fast moving water and there are some strong eddies and one or two small play wave-holes. It is short enough to run several times with excellent access. It is also going to be a crossing point for the new N6 dual carriageway, which has yet to impinge on the river. The river may not be accessible in a few months so now is a good time to check it out.

Local issues

To my knowledge, this wave was first surfed by my brother Sean about 5-6 years ago. Because of this I want to name the wave Sean's wave! Access is excellent. Parking is excellent. The bars in Athleague are great, especially the Bridge House which is always open and is only 50 m away.

River level gauge

This playspot needs water. It is at the site of an old mill and the gates there are still used to control the flow of the river through Athleague. When enough rain has fallen, the gates will be opened. In order to have enough power in the wave 1)water should be flowing over the weir; 2) enough water should be flowing to cover the right side bottom wall of the Salmon Leap and of course 3) the gates have to be open. It is a hit and miss wave and we use it because we live locally. It is not worth travelling to, but if you find yourself driving back down to Galway with a boat on your car, it is worth a quick stop. Especially as the scenery is so lovely there.

The rapids are best on a medium level, too high and theres nothing there. Check the last rapid and decide if its worth getting on. Thats the one in the pictures. Pictured at the ideal level.

River Hazards

Only hazard is the shallowness of the water in all spots. It is deep enough to roll behind the wave.

None really in Ballinasloe.


Original Author: Mark Burns
Latest Author: Eoin Hurst
(Full History)

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