Ten Tips For Whitewater Rafting Beginners

White water rafting is an exhilarating adventure that entails a guided rafting trip down the river with distinguished levels of difficulty. However, the Class I and II rapids are ideal for beginners that want to try out whitewater rafting.

The following ten tips will get you ready for your first thrilling whitewater rafting adventure, where you will have a memorable opportunity to socialize, exercise and bond with Mother Nature.

1. Pick an expert Licensed Whitewater Rafting Company

This is crucial to having a worthwhile whitewater rafting experience, as it will ensure your safety during the adventure. Go for a company with several years of offering expert-guided rafting trips. Highly trained whitewater rafting guides can guide you from beginner classes to more extreme classes. Be sure to ask lots of questions without fear regarding their training and, more importantly, which government entity trained them.

2. Wear a life jacket and helmet at all times

The importance of wearing protective gear when going on a whitewater rafting expedition cannot be overemphasized. A helmet and life jacket are critical for your safety. Ask your guide to help you fit your jacket and strap all buckles to ensure it fits perfectly, so that you don’t have a difficult time being eased back into the boat in case you fall off. They may feel a bit heavy and tight-fitting at first, but that is normal. Just make sure you are comfortable before boarding.

3. Ensure you have the essential items

A reputable whitewater rafting company will provide all the gear you need to insulate and keep yourself comfy. Some of the most essential items for whitewater rafting include:

  • Wet suit
  • Proper river footwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Strapped sunglasses
  • Dry laundry
  • Water bottle

4. Remember to firmly grip the paddle

To avoid getting a serious blow to your face, always hold the paddle securely. Failure to pay attention to how you handle the paddle could lead to a lifetime scar or nasty bruises. One hand should be on the “T” grip always, and the other on the shaft at the bottom of the paddle. A good rule of thumb is to ask your guide to take you through the proper technique for handling the paddle before starting your adventure.

5. Pay close attention to your guide

Before your thrilling ride down the river, your White water rafting guide will usually give a mandatory safety talk. Pay close attention to what they say. This will entail what to do in case of common accidents or any other encounters downstream. One of the most common difficulties in whitewater rafting is high siding. This is when your boat hits a rock and destabilizes its equilibrium. The guide will address this by shouting “high-side”, in which case you will have to throw all your weight to one side of the boat to avoid capsizing.

During the trip, the guide will also share interesting facts about the wildlife, nature, and history of the region where you’ll be having your white water rafting experience.

6. Paddle in unison with your team

It’s paramount that you follow the guide’s paddling commands. Every member of the team has to play their role by paddling vigorously and being aware of one another. You also need to brace yourself while paddling to avoid falling into the river.

7. Learn the proper swimming technique

There are two important swimming techniques you need to learn as far as whitewater rafting is concerned. The down rivers position entails floating on your back with your head up, feet pointed downstream, and knees slightly bent. The other position is more suitable for rescue situations and involves lying flat on your stomach, facing where you are headed, and swimming until you reach the shore. Be sure to consult your guide on the proper swimming technique for different situations.

8.  Avoid carrying electronics on the boat

Unless you have a waterproof device, you should always leave your electronics behind before boarding a boat. You risk losing it in the water in case of an accident.

Besides, this is not the time to take out your phone and capture a moment. This is an engaging adventure that requires your full-time engagement, not to mention all the heavy paddling and commands involved. The good news is that many companies have full-time professional photographers to capture every memorable moment, whether good or bad.

However, you may bring your electronics to the campsite during meals.

9. Don’t panic

This applies to any threatening situation you may encounter during your adventure. Whether you have been tossed into the river or your boat has hit a rock, remember to stay calm.  Panicking will only make the situation worse. Rest assured that your guides are adequately trained to deal with all sorts of stressful situations that may arise during a whitewater rafting trip. Besides, you have a better chance of surviving if your mind and body are able to listen and do what must be done in a survival situation. If you are panicking and distressed, you will lose focus and likely fail to make it to safety.

10. Be prepared for a physical exercise

Before the rafting day, engage yourself in strength training exercises for your upper body. You will need the strength when paddling with your teammates!

Prepare for a couple of hard paddling strokes. You should generally be of sound health to help your team power the boat.  Upper body strength may also come in hand for swimming to safety in case you fall into the river. You don’t have to be a professional bodybuilder; just as long as you can offer the occasional boost of energy to your teammates when needed.

Wrapping Up

You are going to have lots of fun down the river. Bring your favorite people along, including your friends, family, or even lovers!  Get ready for an absolute adrenaline rush and expect the unexpected on your whitewater rafting adventure. However, be sure to follow your guide and ask lots of questions. Following your guide’s instructions will help keep you safe and have a first-time whitewater rafting experience to remember!