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Rafting or white water rafting is the challenging recreational outdoor activity of using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on white water or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers. The development of this activity as a leisure sport has become popular since the mid-1970s. It is considered an extreme adventure sport, now rapidly gaining popularity in India.
Below are the six grades of difficulty in white water rafting. They range from simple to very dangerous and potential death or serious injuries.
Grade 1: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill level: very basic)
Grade 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering. (Skill level: basic paddling skill)
Grade 3: Whitewater, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering. (Skill level: experienced paddling skills)
Grade 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed. (Skill level: whitewater experience)
Grade 5: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering. (Skill level: advanced whitewater experience)
Grade 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous that they are effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment.
Rishikesh has become a main hub of river rafting in Rishikesh, North India. It’s an adventure sport best enjoyed with expert rafters and trainers staying at a white sand beach next to the river. It’s one of the much loved destinations of every adventure fan and rafting down the mighty Ganges is every adventure seekers dream come true.
No matter how easy or challenging your rafting experience might be; you should always follow these basic tips to ensure that your thrilling experience is as safe as possible.
Prepare beforehand – If you have never gone rafting, you should educate yourself on the sport. Know what it is and what you should be capable of doing. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try doing a Class V river on your first ride.
Know your physical limitations – Are you a good swimmer? Can you endure upper body exercises for a couple hours? If so, good! If not, try taking some swimming lessons before your trip. Exercising your upper body is good to achieve some resistance on longer rafting trips.
Know the Classifications – Rivers are classified in six classes –from Class I (easy) to Class VI (likelihood of death if attempted). For first timers, a Class II (or even Class III) is a good place to start while still having a thrilling experience. Choose your Class according to your physical limitations.
Know the river – Rivers have different behaviors during the year. Summer rafting is usually calmer, due to low water volume. On the other hand, some rivers take advantage of the melting snow –more water flow– and some even have daily dam releases.
Check local regulations – Some countries might have an age limitation to raft. Some places don’t allow rafters under the age of 12.
NEVER go rafting alone – Rafting should never be done solo. If you’re a newbie rafter, try going with an experienced guide. If you’re experienced, do go with other experienced rafters. But never alone.
ALWAYS listen to your guide – Your guide knows what you should do and when to do it during your trip. DO always follow their instructions. Common things you will hear during your raft will be: lean left/right, bounce, sit in/out, paddle, stop paddling, and high five!
Don’t drink alcohol before the trip – I know you want to have fun, right? But, drinking alcohol before rafting will not only endanger yourself, but also be a risk to other rafters.
Do not raft in the dark – Rafting should be done while there is plenty of sunlight. Try coordinating your trip so that it ends before darkness falls. In some rivers there is “moonlight” rafting, but these should only be done with well-experienced companies and guides. Rafting in a pitch-black river can be kind of creepy!
Choose a good life jacket – ALWAYS wear a life jacket and helmet. Your life jacket should feel comfortable –not too big and not too small. It shouldn’t reduce your movements’ flexibility.
Always have a good grip – Feel comfortable where you are sitting and know how you can get a good grip (with your hands and feet). The ride will most likely be jumpy and you don’t want to fall all the time, right?
Float feet forward – If you get to fall in the water, when possible, do try to jump back into the raft; if not, float with your feet forward. Your feet should float right at the “top” of the water, this will prevent them from getting stuck between rocks or injuring yourself. Let yourself go with the current and NEVER try standing in the river.
These are some of the most important tips you should follow in order to have a successful, safe, and thrilling whitewater rafting experience. Go on and try it, the thrill and adrenaline will make you want to do it again!