This past weekend I went back to visit my alma mater, Augustana College, in Rock Island, IL. I think now I know enough about the area to at least give some information about riding on the Mississippi River.
The river temp yesterday was a balmy 59 degrees, while the air temp was closer to 50. The winds sweeping down off the bluffs are extremely gusty and swirl around quite a bit leading to completely dead areas in the middle of the river. Average wind speed was NNW probably about 17mph, but using a wind meter we were able to record gusts as high as 35mph. I'm not sure entirely why, but there was no boat traffic whatsoever. No barges or steamboats. Though we are technically at flooding classification right now, there was very little debris as well, with only a few large tree trunks washed up on the shores.
Launches are definitely impossible without a buddy, so it should be considered an advanced launch with trees, rocks, playground, and gazebo all downwind. Large rocks line the shores for miles both up and down river, so there isn't a lot of room for error near any shoreline. I prefer to kite the river when the wind is blowing against the current, otherwise, it's a little riskier if you lose your board when you're boosting big. Once you're out on the water, however, it's fantastic! While there is a bit of chop, it's nothing too difficult to handle, considering how relatively small the waves can be. The wind, as I said can be extremely gusty, but certainly nothing worse than Wolf Lake.http://imgur.com/NHY8SG4
Shoot me any questions if you have any! I'll try to get the coordinates posted for the launches for different wind directions too...
I'm the guy in the obnoxious board shorts, always. Twitter: @chi_surfer