What is Whitewater rafting?
Whitewater Rafting is a recreational activity utilizing a raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on whitewater 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.
At its core, whitewater rafting is simply the act of taking a raft down through the turbulent areas of a river. These turbulent areas are known as rapids. Rapids are formed by three factors – constriction, gradient and obstruction. Water naturally flows downhill because of gravity. When it is constricted, it pushes in from the sides and speeds up. Speed also increases when the gradient gets steeper, and obstructions makes the water swirl around as the flow tries to find the best way to follow gravity. Each of these events causes rapids and the resulting turbulence churns the water, resulting in “white water.” The goal of whitewater rafting is to surf these rapids without being flipped or dragged under.
Whitewater rapids are classified into six categories. Class 1 is a smooth river with hardly any rapids. The categories climb from there to Class 6, which is either impossible or should only be attempted by seasoned experts. Most whitewater rafting trips occur on Class 3 and 4 rapids, where the turbulence gives you an exciting ride, but with limited risks.
Whitewater rafts are typically big and sturdy. They hold between six to eight people spread out equally on each side of the raft. Although an expert guide controls the steering at the back, most rafting companies give their passengers the job of paddling on each side of the raft in their corresponding spots.
Whitewater rafting has a certain risk factor, and safety is of the greatest importance. All rafters truly need to wear helmets and life jackets. Falling out of the raft can be a common occurrence, depending on the river conditions. Thus, all rafters should be able to swim.
There are thousands of rivers that are perfect for whitewater rafting trips. Most people choose a rafting company for their trip, since the company is already familiar with the river and its conditions, and they have the necessary equipment.
What is whitewater rafting? It’s something you should try!