If you have never tried white water rafting, now is definitely the time. This sport is one of the most exciting and challenging things that you can do in life. There are a few things that you should know before heading out on the river though. You will need to be prepared for the physical requirements of the sport, be prepared and know how to stay safe.
White water rafting puts extreme stress on your upper body muscles, specifically your arms and back. You will (or should be) sitting the entire time so your arms will do the majority of the work by paddling and propelling your raft forward or around turns. If you have any health problems that may prevent you from doing this, you should check with a doctor to see if you can handle the strenuous workout. You also don’t want to find out about a health problem while you are on the river as it would be difficult to get medical attention mid trip. If you are going rafting for the first time, you may want to do some weights in the weeks before your trip is planned. You will be working as a team with the other people in your raft, you do not want to be the weakest link. And no one wants to hear you complain the entire time that you are tired or in pain.
When you sign up for a white water rafting trip, they will generally offer you a package. This package will include most of your supplies and frequently includes a sandwich lunch that you will bring with you in your raft. You may opt to rent a wet suit (either full or half varieties) and water shoes for your excursion. I highly recommend a full wet suit if you have never been rafting before. Keep in mind that you will get wet! No matter how careful you are to avoid water, it is going to happen. Sometimes that water is extremely cold, you will be much happier if you have a wet suit to protect you. Water shoes are another great addition to protect your feet. You can wear normal sneakers but you will most likely ruin them, and that just wouldn’t make for a good trip. You must, repeat, must, have a life jacket on. No matter how good a swimmer you are and how sure you are that you plan to stay in the raft, a life jacket is non negotiable. You are surrounded by rocks and could be knocked unconscious if you fall out of the raft. A life jacket will make sure that you stay afloat. Along those same lines, a helmet is a requirement as well. This will protect your head in case of an accident.
Lastly, you should remember that accidents can happen. People do fall out of rafts, frequently. In order to protect yourself you need to know what to do when this happens. Once you fall out, make sure that your feet are pointing down stream, not your head.. This will ensure that as you travel along rocky outposts in the water, your feet are banging up against rocks, not your head. Very important. Your team members will locate you as soon as possible and drag you back in to the raft grabbing you under your arms. Be safe and prepared and you will have a ball.
Sydney Garrison is an avid cyclist and sports enthusiast. She is also a partner in an online bike rack store.