Best Practices for Swimming Whitewater Rapids

  • Post last modified:August 3, 2021

Numerous people have stopped rafting harder rivers after a bad swim. Most of these swims could have been prevented by better training of crews to keep everyone in the raft, wearing more flotation and using best practices once in a rapid. A key component is practicing whitewater skills regularly to be comfortable with the swimming techniques and PPE (personal protective equipment). Active Swimming: Self-rescue This is the preferred technique and should in general be used. Be an active part of your rescue rather than lying on your back waiting for someone to come rescue you. The most common use of active swimming is to swim back to…

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Whitewater Life Jacket (PFD) Flotation

  • Post last modified:August 2, 2021

The most important aspect of whitewater rafting life jackets is flotation. This article looks at how flotation impacts the amount of time swimmers spend under water as well as other advantages of high flotation PFDs. If you are not a big fan of reading check out this video discussing the importance of flotation with my friend Zach Collier. There are many reasons why people don't select a high float PFD: how it fits, how it looks, where the pockets are, what color it is, it's easier to move and swim in low float jackets. Yes, these are all considerations when selecting a whitewater PFD. However, flotation actually…

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Wrapped Rafts
Blossom Bar Wrap

Wrapped Rafts

  • Post last modified:February 13, 2021

When I started guiding in the early 1990's we were still using bucket boats. Once those rafts wrapped (and they did so much more often than self-bailers), they were extremely challenging to remove from a rock. Luckily the stiffer hypalon and polyurethane self-bailing rafts don't wrap nearly as often (they flip more!) as the old hypalon bucket rafts. However many people still treat wraps like their rafts are bucket boats. In this article we will review some basics about preventing wraps and simple ways of getting your self-bailing raft off a rock. How to Prevent a Wrap The best way to unwrap a raft is to not…

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Whitewater Raft Materials and Designs

  • Post last modified:August 2, 2021

There are variables to consider when purchasing a whitewater raft: design, size, cost, materials, and type of usage. People tend to focus on the size (particularly length). However, raft performance depends heavily on raft materials and design. In this post we are going to break down these variables along with what different manufactures offer to help you figure out the right inflatable raft for you. We also have a post on the different types of whitewater crafts. Variables of Raft Design Raft Length People tend to spend the most time considering length which is a good place to start. The length of a raft dictates its width,…

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Yosemite Rafting

  • Post last modified:May 12, 2021

While Yosemite National Park is one of the most famous parks in the world, many people miss out one of its best activities, whitewater rafting and kayaking.

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Selecting a Rafting Guide School

  • Post last modified:August 2, 2021

How to select a whitewater rafting guide school or rowing clinic. Learn about how courses vary and what questions to ask before selecting a course.

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