The feeling of gliding over the water with the cool breeze blowing across your skin and the melodic movement of the waves beneath your raft is breathtaking. White water rafting attracts extreme sports enthusiasts and adventure-seekers all the time with its exciting rapids and wild nature. It’s relatively simple to do, and there are offerings all around the country. But if it’s your first time going white water rafting, here are some tips that can help.
1. Pick an Appropriate Trip
Some rafting adventures are more advanced than others, with larger rapids and waterfalls. Choose a course that you’re comfortable with and that meets your adventure level.
2. Wear Sunscreen
Being out on the water and under the sky for long periods puts you in sight of the sun at all times. Even if the sky is cloud-covered, sunburn happens. Packing sunscreen and applying it before you set out on the water will save you from burns and later discomfort.
3. Have the Proper Clothes
What you wear matters. You don’t need to buy a fancy wetsuit, but you shouldn’t just wear a swimsuit either. With water, there’s always the chance of getting wet, so you want to wear something that will fit under your lifevest and also cover the skin. Long- and short-sleeve tee shirts are always good options. Be wary of cotton though, as once it’s wet, it can take a long time to dry.
Sneakers work if you’re in a pinch, and they’re better than flip-flops, but the best footwear options are sand shoes and strapped sandals.
Sunglasses will shield your eyes from the sun, but they can also easily fall off. If you decide to bring sunglasses, make them a pair you’re okay with potentially losing.
Among all the questions people ask before going rafting, what to wear might be the most integral to your enjoyment on the water.
4. Balance Yourself in the Raft
To stay seated and balanced as the raft bounces over the waves, be mindful of your seating position. Your feet should be tucked under the side of the air tube that runs around the raft, and you should be sitting on the outer edge. Sitting this way will keep you and the raft balanced.
5. Listen to the Guide
Guides are experts and have been rafting on the river longer than you have. They know its quirks and curves. By following their instructions, you can ensure that you’re prepared with the knowledge of how, where and when to paddle. They’ll be instructing you throughout the trip on how to navigate the turns and rapids, and they’ll show you how to stay in your seat. If you don’t listen, you may find yourself in the water.
6. Paddle With the Team
To get anywhere on the trip, you go with your team. Paddling faster or harder won’t help if it’s not in sync. The guide will teach you how to row at points throughout the trip, but it’s up to you and your fellow rafters to match your strokes.
Strokes should be even with oars, dipping far enough down that enough water is moved and pushed back by the paddle.
7. Be Prepared to Swim
Even when you listen to the guide and paddle perfectly, rafting doesn’t always go according to plan. If you find yourself out of the raft and in the water, it’s important to know what to do. Your life jacket should keep you above water, and your helmet will save your head from knocking into anything solid after you fall in. Once you’re above water, look for a rescue line or paddle that you can grab to get back on the raft. If none is near, just keep swimming.
If someone else falls out of the raft, you should know how to help them. Be ready with your paddle or rescue line to pull them back to the raft and to safety.
Embrace the Adventure
White water rafting is an adventure not many people get to experience. By keeping an open mind and an open ear, you can make sure your first trip is a great success. You’ll be planning your next one in no time!