▷ What is rafting ?
We have compiled a comprehensive guide that includes all the information you need to raft. Below you will find useful explanations of the practice of rafting and its historical origins.
What is rafting ?
Rafting and whitewater rafting are outdoor recreational activities that use an unsinkable boat or raft. There are different levels of difficulty depending on the current of the water in which the sport is practiced. It can be done solo, but is more often done in groups and requires good teamwork to manage water. River rafting, canoeing and white water rafting are the most popular styles of this sport.
Historical origins of rafting
Throughout human history, people have practiced rafting on rivers for travel or fishing. This adventurous sporting activity has been known to have been practiced since 1811 and the modern version became popular in the 1950s.
The first known attempt to practice this extreme sport took place on the Snake River (a river that originates in the Rocky Mountains in the USA), without any current rafting equipment. The river is called Mad River because of its dangerous course. Later, the first successful commercial voyage on the river was made in 1940.
Rafting was then practiced individually with rafts of 3 to 4.3 meters equipped with double-sided paddles. Modern rafting and whitewater rafting is done with multi-person rafts and single-sided paddles. The boat is propelled by a team on board. The team is guided by a professional rafting guide on the back of the boat, who controls the boat's navigation and speed by directing the team.
Rafting can be fatal in some rivers, but today it is practiced by many people and is a safe outdoor sporting activity in identified areas. This sport also has competitions and an international rafting federation. Most "tourist" trips are suitable for beginners and you can easily find day rafting trips, rafting trips with camping and white water rafting depending on your level of experience.
What is white water rafting ?
White water rafting is more active than traditional rafting. Taming the river with teamwork and overcoming the fear of dangerous waters makes this sport very exciting. The best part about whitewater rafting, which sets it apart from other action sports, is the ability to share the joy of the action with those you love. It is a 200 year old activity that shares a common history with rafting. Like rafting, it is practiced in teams of 8 to 12 people with a rafting guide. There are rafting tours in different places around the world. There are six degrees of difficulty, also known as the international scale of river difficulty.
- Class 1: skill level is very basic. You can try this level with your family and children.
- Class 2: requires basic paddling skills. It is practiced on rivers that have rough waters and rocks.
- Class 3:You must have some rafting experience for this level. There are tours that offer this level of white water rafting.
- Class 4: At this level, you should be more experienced and able to perform maneuvers in medium waves.
- Class 5: Only professionals are allowed to white water raft at this level. There are big waves, drops, so you need excellent maneuvers.
- Class 6: This level is the pinnacle of whitewater rafting and can be seriously dangerous, even for professionals. Class 6 rivers can damage the best gear and there are very few people who have completed all sections.
How to go rafting ?
The rafting can last as long as you want and you can go solo by canoe. There are multi-day rafting trips where you can camp or rafting trips for the day. Whitewater rafting, on the other hand, is more extreme than the others and there are duration options of 3-4 hours depending on location. You can go rafting solo or with 2 or 3 people. Whitewater rafting requires teamwork and is done with 8-12 people depending on the size of the boat.
The best time to go rafting may vary depending on the site. Some rafting trips can be good in spring and you can have beautiful time observing nature around the river. In Norway and Sweden, some people canoe on the fjords to watch the migration of whales. You can always find different experiences in this sport.
Rafting is fun to learn and requires attention. The best way to learn is to join a rafting course, but it's good to know some rafting tips before you try. There are a few safety rules that will make rafting more enjoyable.
Choose your clothes according to the season in which you are going rafting. A wetsuit, a waterproof jacket and good water shoes are sufficient for cold weather.
Always wear a vest rescue and a helmet. These gears will keep you relaxed and avoid unwanted dangerous situations.
Listen carefully to your guide before rafting. He will tell you about the rules and the commandments. Launching is one of the most important commands the rafting guide gives to prevent the boat from capsizing. The goal is to keep the boat and your team on the water.
Your paddle is one of the wheels of the boat. Keep it tight and don't let it fall.
If you fall in the water, keep your head up and your feet in the current. This will help you swim more easily and you can use your legs to push yourself against the rocks in the river. You won't be in the water long because your team is with you and if you swim close enough to the boat you'll soon be on the boat.
Trust your rafting guide because they won't put you in danger. Excursions can have exciting moments but know that they are planned. They will warn you of the dangers during the safety speech before the rafting. Always listen to them before and during rafting to enjoy the action safely.
What equipment is needed for rafting ?
As with many sports, knowledge of rafting equipment will help you learn about the sport and better understand the safety rules. You can buy (or rent) the rafting equipment and rent a boat and paddles at the rafting sites. good quality gear will give you a better rafting experience.We have listed some of the equipment you need for rafting for you:
- Rafting boat
There are different types of rafting boats depending on the style of rafting River boats, fishing boats, canoes, rowing boats, paddle boats and inflatable kayaks are some of them. Inflatable rafting boats are the most common for water sports and are supplied by the rafting operator or rafting shops. The size may change depending on the usage, and the quality is the most important thing you need to pay attention to.
- Life jacket and helmet
This equipment is essential for rafting for your safety. Never underestimate the power of nature and always wear an approved brand life jacket and helmet before rafting.
- Rafting Shoes
Water Shoes will protect your feet from sharp objects. Shoes with a good sole, quick drying and breathable material are the best options for rafting. They offer sufficient protection.
- Rafting Paddle
The paddles must be made of carbon and of good quality.
- Rescue bags
Rescue bags are good safety equipment that can be useful if you fall in the water. The bag consists of a rope attached to you and the person in charge of the rescue on the boat.
- Rafting Clothing
There are two types of rafting suits for thermal insulation of the body. The insulated suit is suitable for spring, and the drysuit is good for protecting the body from the cold in winter. Shorts and quick-drying t-shirts are sufficient for summer.
What is the best season for rafting ?
Rafting is a sport that depends on water levels of rivers and water flow. From spring, water comes down from the mountains and fills river beds. It can therefore be practiced from March to October, but it is generally done in summer. You can choose any month depending on how busy it is. If you want to try this sport without the crowds, you can do so in March, April and May, as rafting tourism peaks in the summer.
March and April are the start of rafting season and the water can be cold. In addition, excursions are cheaper than in other months. The summer season, which arrives with the month of May, is the period when the rafting tourism activities begin. From this month, the rafting training programs for children begin and it is quite pleasant to go rafting in May.
In summer, rafting tourism peaks and these months are the busiest for rafting. You can find rafting trips several days a week. At the end of the summer season, after August, rafting trips and the number of people doing them begin to decline. Autumn offers the most beautiful natural landscapes you can see while rafting.
Beginners are recommended to try this sport in summer , during rafting trips where you can find a guide. Each river has its own time for rafting, so you should check the rafting location information before making arrangements.