Proper White Water Rafting Techniques

Oar stroking is one of the White Water Rafting techniques. Your whole body, including your legs, plays a major part in providing enough power to run the raft in swift water. To have greater control of shoving the blade into the water, you’ll need to lean forward a bit.

To overcome obstacles, rafting entails a series of maneuvers that will enable you to navigate the boat more easily. To start, you’ll need to learn how to use oars.

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To Backstroke – you will put the blades in the water in the back of you, then you will stretch your arms forward pulling your hands toward you. You will notice that the raft budges backward, as the blades move in front of you.

The Push Stroke – also referred as the portegee, will move the raft forward. To accomplish this, you must put the blades into the water ahead of you, place your hands adjacent to your chest, and stretch your arms out.

Turning – is another technique. With both blades in the water, you must push one oar, and pull on the other oar. You must perform this simultaneously, by doing so; the raft will turn towards the position of the oar that is performing the backstroke.

The Shipping technique – is keeping your eye on where you’re going, and focus on the water. You may come into contact with rocks that can break the oar blades while you are rowing the boat. You can place the blades against the side of the stern, or in front of you. Or place the blades on the side of the raft.

To stay on top of your rafting skills, you have to deal with other obstacles, such as Eddies and rocks. Your objective is to keep the raft equal with the current. Align the vessel with the current, to avoid wandering.

Ferrying – Ferrying is steering the raft to either direction while crossing the river. You should make sure that the raft is corresponding with the flow. To make a narrow angle toward the bank will slow you down, but it will move you sideways. You should create a larger angle, so that the current will move you further down the river.

For Turns and Pivots – You will need the proper paddle or oar strokes to turn the raft. Pivoting means that the raft turns, while it stays in one place. To pass through a deceptive part in the river, you would have to pivot the raft so that it can squeeze into the narrow spot. To exit, you would have to pivot the raft once more, so that it would be equal with the current.

To Sideslip – The way you can perform side-slipping strokes if there are obstacles in your way, and you cannot pivot or turn. You will be able to avoid crashing with the boulder, if done correctly.

Eddy Maneuvers – Eddies are currents that resemble a whirlpool, generally behind an obstacle or rock. It moves in comparison to the main current, originating a circular motion. An Eddy generally presents a safe place to get away from the current.

Now that you’ve learned about the techniques of White Water Rafting, here are some of the basics to get you started:

Decide on what type of trip, whether it will be Rental, Group Guide Assisted, or Guided. Then choose the length of the trip. Then select your boat size and the style, this should be based on your group size.

Once you get your boat, here are a few things to consider: Most importantly, you should consider the weight and the paddling strength as primary factors.

The basic idea of navigating is to turn the boat, paddle forward, then turn the boat and repeat the maneuver. While paddling, and you happen to see a large rock ahead, you will need to get back to basics. You would need to turn the boat, paddle forward and far enough to get rid of the rock, turn the boat straight, paddle forward, and rest.

If you get stuck on a rock, you should wait for the river to go down, then get out and carry the raft to the bank. You should not fight the water. Use the water to help you lift the boat. If you can lift one side of the boat enough to get a flow of water beneath the boat, you can usually break the suction on the rock and break free.

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