If you are looking for a mind-blowing, adrenaline-filled outdoor activity and you don’t mind getting really, really wet, then check out whitewater rafting. This extreme sport uses inflatable boats that vary in length from 11 feet to 20 feet with seating for up to a dozen riders on benches. Each rider is fitted with a life preserver, helmet and a single paddle which they use to help steer the raft through rocks and rapids. The guide company will provide safety instructions before launching the boat down a wild rapid-filled river, where riders are jostled and jarred through rocks, waves, drops and rough water.

Braving the rapids!

Braving the rapids!

 

Rivers are ranked using the International Scale of River Difficulty, a standardized system that grades the level of skill required to safely navigate the hazards in a particular river. According to this scale, a Grade 1 river is suitable for newbies and those who prefer a mellow ride, whereas a Grade 3 river involves whitewater and drops.

Thunderous Grade 6 rapid

Thunderous Grade 6 rapid

At the top of this scale is Grade 6 rapids, considered nearly impossible to navigate without risking severe injury or even death.

New riders should sign up for a trip with an experienced whitewater rafting company. These trips are usually offered by the half-day or full day and include all the necessary supplies and transportation to and from the river launch site. Choose the level of difficulty for your excursion based on your fitness level and the fortitude of your stomach. If you are looking for a roller-coaster style ride on water, then be sure to pick a route filled with big rocks and even bigger drops.

This activity isn’t for the faint of heart or people who are afraid of the water. While it’s certain that you will get soaking wet while whitewater rafting, being tossed into the drink is also a very real possibility, leaving you to bob about the rapids until your guide comes to your rescue.

Whitewater rafting is also a great way to challenge your friends and find out who’s the real daredevil amongst your mates. Most outfitters offer group booking discounts, and spending the day outside on a raging river beats hanging out in the pub. Whitewater rafting offers all the breathtaking thrills of a great roller coaster without the long queues at an amusement park.

This is also not simply a holiday adventure activity that can be found in the wilds of some far away land. There are lots of options in the UK and Europe that will get your heart pumping. Venues in the UK include Bala in North Wales, with the Snowdonia National Park as your backdrop to venues located nearer to major cities such as Nottingham and Northampton where you can experience the thrills of white water rafting during the day and the lights of the big cities during the night.

More gentle rapids at Lake Bala, North Wales

More gentle rapids at Lake Bala, North Wales

Overall whitewater rafting is increasingly becoming a popular activity that is not only fun and exhilarating but also offers an increasing differing challenge every time you come back to it.