In the world of sports there are many types of activities that are practiced by thousands of people around the world. A physical activity refers to any type of movement of the body that is produced by the muscles and that also requires a greater expenditure of energy . One of these sports that in addition to being interesting has turned out to be one of the greatest attractions for many athletes is rafting , a sport that is also part of adventure tourism.


What is rafting?

The rafting is a kind of sport end of adventure and competition whose main objective to navigate in rivers have currents very fast within a raft previously inflated.


What does it consist of

Rafting is classified as a type of adventure and recreational sport that takes place in those rivers that have quite fast and turbulent waters, avoiding at the same time all the obstacles that may arise, which are usually rocks. Rafting is also considered a competitive sport in which the objective is to navigate downstream through the rapids using an inflated raft . It is considered an extreme sport , very challenging and risky, which requires significant teamwork. Rafting is also seen as a extremely popular recreational activity that is also practiced in most countries of the world.


Rafting characteristics

Among the main characteristics of rafting we find the following:

  • It is generally practiced aboard an inflatable raft .
  • In the raft several people can also go together practicing the sport.
  • Some people practice it in canoes or kayaks .
  • It is characterized mainly because it must be practiced in fast and turbulent waters .
  • It is an extreme sport that presents a high level of difficulty.
  • The rivers in which this sport is practiced are classified depending on the degree of difficulty that their waters present.

History of rafting

People have practiced river rafting for many, many years and it was used primarily for travel or fishing. This adventure sports activity is known to have been practiced since 1811 but the modern version became more popular during the 1950s . The first recorded attempt at this extreme sport was made on the Snake River , and at that time there was no current rafting equipment. The river is called the Mad River due to its dangerous route .

Little by little more athletes around the world began to practice the sport mainly in the United States and in Europe . In 1972 it was even recognized as part of the disciplines of the Olympic Games in Germany. Today, this sport is practiced in many countries and has become part of one of the most important tourist activities.

Who invented it

According to history , it was John Fremont , in 1842, who made a rafting expedition for the first time. He was an officer in the United States Army and took a tour of the Platte River.


The basics of rafting are mentioned below:

  • suitable neoprene suit , a splash vest and suitable footwear should be chosen .
  • life jacket and helmet should always be worn to prevent dangerous situations.
  • You should always listen to your guide before rafting. He will be the one to explain the rules and commands.
  • Your paddle is the wheel of the boat. It should never be dropped.
  • If you do fall into the water, keep your head high and your feet in the stream to make it easier to swim and use your legs to propel yourself off the rocks in the river.
  • Trust the rafting guide , because he will warn you of the dangers in the safety talk before the rafting.


Several competitions are held in the world of this sport and these are regulated by the ICF and the WRF which also work to promote the sport, some of the best known are:

  • U23 World Championships.
  • World Pararafting Championships.
  • World Rafting.


The rafting categories are as follows:

  • Gentle water rafting : they are characterized by the fact that the rivers do not have waves, turbulence and also have a very flat surface.
  • White water rafting : this type of rafting is carried out in grade III rivers where the waters are fast or rough. It has a higher level of difficulty.
  • Extreme rafting : this is more complicated and is considered quite dangerous for those who have no experience.

River classification

In rafting, the categories are based on the rivers, mainly on their flow rates. The following are categories of sport.

  • Class I: They have a low water level, low pressure current and are easy to navigate.
  • Class II: it is ideal for learning descent techniques as it does not need special techniques although it is ideal for practicing.
  • Class III: they are accessible rivers and previous experience is not necessary.
  • Class IV: rivers have waters with enough current to turn rafts, so you must have knowledge and technical movements
  • Class V: they are for participants with experience in class III and IV rivers, since they are rivers that require great resistance and technique.
  • Class VI : these rivers do not guarantee safety. Emotions are extreme because they are very powerful and with a high degree of difficulty.


There are several rules that must be followed when practicing this sport. The most important ones are mentioned below:

  • Insulating clothing must be used to withstand immersion.
  • The life jacket is mandatory.
  • helmet must be used to protect the head from the stones.
  • The crew can only have a minimum of three people or a maximum of between 8 and 9.
  • The half of the crew must go from one side of the boat and the other half on the other.
  • You can’t play sports if you have health problems .


There are several techniques that must be learned and managed to practice rafting. The first is the basic rowing which includes movements forwards, backwards, right and left. The basic kits security personnel should be well used. It is important to know what to do when a person falls into the water and it is also essential to handle the boat correctly. The guide must be well prepared and adequately interpret the messages of nature.


To practice rafting you do not need large equipment. A quality raft is necessary as well as the oars , a life jacket , the safety helmet , slippers that are anti-slip and the suit must be made with neoprene to avoid hypothermia.


In this sport there are several visual cues that are of utmost importance. The most important ones include: man overboard, forward, halt, rally, danger, first aid kit, rush breaks, and helicopter .


There are several risks that can occur when rafting. One of the most important and dangerous is drowning . Hypothermia is another danger that can occur when rafting. The overexertion is often the cause of death in rafting. Most of the deaths that occur while rafting are due to heart attacks in people who are not fit.

Famous people who go rafting

Some famous athletes who are dedicated to practicing this sport are:

  • Lorenzo Andrade ( Chile )
  • Rafa Ortiz ( Mexico )


Some curiosities of rafting are mentioned below:

  • John D. Rockefeller, Jr. once tried to build a rafting center.
  • The Pigeon River is considered the highest speed rafting river.
  • Rubber rafts were invented a century before commercial travel took place.

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