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Front Page » July 21, 2011 » Recreation Focus » Water Rafting Is a Popular Sport
Published 1,501 days ago

Water Rafting Is a Popular Sport

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Outdoor enthusiasts are always looking for new ways to experience the majesty and excitement of the great outdoors. Water rafting offers fun, thrills and a chance to enjoy nature for all types of people.

There are many who have never run a whitewater river before. But that doesn't mean this isn't the time to try. There are trips available for all skill levels and even those people who do not classify themselves as the adventurous type. Once a person starts rafting, they often find it addictive and want to go again and again.

Those thinking about a rafting trip who have never been out on the water before should consider a few things.

* Individuals should find a rafting tour company that has experienced/certified guides who will be responsible for the safety and training of all first-time rafters.

* Individuals should check with a doctor to be sure that he or she is in good physical health. Although there are rafting trips that allow passengers to sit back and enjoy the ride, many trips are hands-on experiences, where adventurers must paddle and maneuver the vessel along with the guides.

* Let others know of rafting plans. Although rafting is relatively safe, especially when in the presence of experienced guides, there is inherent danger to any physical activity --especially at high speeds. Keeping family and friends abreast of plans means they'll be expecting a status call when a rafter reaches safety at the end of the run.

Depending on the tour company used, there may be a brief training that precedes a rafting trip. Guides will give lessons on the equipment, terminology and safety procedures. While it's not necessary to know how to swim to go rafting, it may help a person to feel more comfortable on the vessel. All passengers will be wearing a personal flotation device, such as a life jacket.

Individuals can check with their instructors as to the best clothing to wear for the trip. As a rule of thumb, it's best to dress for the water temperature rather than the air temperature. Wear a wet suit in cooler temperatures or whenever there is prolonged exposure to mist and kicked-up water. In hotter temperatures, a wet suit may be too hot. Avoid wearing cotton, which doesn't dry quickly when wet. Old sneakers or secured water shoes are a good idea as well.

Sunscreen is essential when out on the water to protect against sunburn, even in cooler temperatures. Those who wear prescription glasses should secure the glasses with an athletic strap.

Whitewater rafting can be a family affair, and some rafting companies will allow children as young as age 4 or 5 to participate in the adventure. Individuals can check with the company to examine the rules and regulations they have regarding the trips.

Classes of Rapids

Those new to whitewater rafting can choose among different levels of rapids when planning their trips. Many prefer to start off on beginner rapids and work their way up. Others --with the help of a guide --simply jump into more advanced rapids. Here are the different classes of rapids.

Class 1: Small, rough areas with no skills really needed.

Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks and small drops that might require maneuvering.

Class 3:Requires experienced paddling skills as there may be some moderate whitewater and 3-to 5-foot drops.

Class 4:Whitewater with large waves, long rapids, rocks, and maybe a considerable drop. Generally whitewater experience is needed.

Class 5:Whitewater with large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks, and hazards. There may be large drops that require precise maneuvering.

Class 6: Expert rapids that are even posted as dangers to those with plenty of whitewater experience.

Water rafting can be an exciting experience for people who enjoy the great outdoors. Begin researching trips now for the upcoming season.

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