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River Rafting

Overview

Rafting is a high-adrenaline sport of navigating in a river in an inflatable raft. Rafting only requires a bit of courage to fight the rapids in the river.

In 1984, the Uttar Ganga rafting expedition was led by Ken Warren and organized by A.C Kohli. It was a long 300 km expedition on Alaknanda, Ganga and Bhagirathi River. Many popular people had given their devotion and were part of the first pool of Indian River rafting. The active participants were Shaukat Sikand, Yousuf Zaheer, Akshay Kumar, Pawan Sheer Singh, and Ajeet Bajaj. A foreign enthusiast Glen Upperman, an American rafter stayed back after the expedition and trained first group/ batch of people/ rafters in oar rafting techniques. In the same year, two Canadian rafters trained Indian rafters in paddle- rafting. The two Canadian rafters were Mark Daniel and Ben Webster. Until now many rivers in India have been explored, with some being rafted commercially.

The fun fact about rafting as an activity of water sport is that anyone can participate in the white water wrestling. Even if the person is a non-swimmer or for that matter even if the person has no prior experience of any other sport can participate in this activity.

Season

An all year long sport

Wherever there is a flowing river, adventure enthusiasts can find themselves a room for rafting and enjoy the sport. In India from north to south, there are eight to ten popular places for river rafting. Each river or each part of the country has its own season from which adventure enthusiasts can fulfill their ‘needs’ of adventure sport. River rafting is depended on the challenging rapids which increases the choice for rafting. Typical season in north India for rafting is from June to August in Jammu and Kashmir, September to June in Uttarakhand, March to July in Manali. In Maharashtra rafting is practiced in monsoon and post-monsoon months. In the south, the period is from June to September. Thus India has an array of seasons for those who are keen and love the sport of ‘river bashing’

Location

The Ganga River (Rishikesh)

River Ganga escalates from the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and flows south-east towards Bangladesh. River rafting enthusiasts can enjoy fluctuating rapids from grade 1 to 4. Rafting in Rishikesh is one of the best spots for rafting in India. Distance covered while rafting is upto 16 to 36 kilometers. Rafting is better experienced in the months of September to June.

Brahmaputra River (Arunachal Pradesh)

Brahmaputra River is one of the important rivers of Asia. It flows from China then cutting the Himalayas passes India entering Bangladesh. Indian enthusiasts have explored the Brahmaputra River and the sport of river rafting is practiced in the months of November to March. Brahmaputra River is a thrilling rafting spot and the level of difficulty ranges from grade 4 to 6.

Kundalika River (Maharashtra)

The beautiful kundalika river flows from the Western Ghats and has its mouth in the Arabian sea. This river is a 74 km long river and river rafting is practiced from the villages at the bank of this river such as Kolad and Korali. The level of difficulty is not high. The level of swirls ranges from grade 3 to 4.

Indus River (Ladakh)

Indus River is one of Asia’s inspiring rivers. It commences from the region of Tibet and then passes through India and reaches Pakistan. It is one of the coldest rivers. Rafting can be done in India within a stretch of 25 kilometers of its presence in India. The difficulty level is marked between grade 3 to grade 5. June to August is the peak time where enthusiasts participate for rafting in this magnificent river.

Teesta River (Sikkim)

The length of the Teesta River is 309km. Teesta River flows through the state of West Bengal and Sikkim through Bangladesh and ends its journey in the Bay of Bengal. It contains rapids ranging from grade 1 to grade 4. Rafting at this mighty river can cover a distance between 11 to 37 kilometers. The best months to explore this river are October to April.

Sport

Rafting

The objective in Rafting is to navigate downstream in the river overcoming rapids inside the inflatable rafts. Highly challenging and full of risks, rafting is an extreme sport based around teamwork.

Primarily, there are two types of sporting events conducted in rafting:

 Sprint:

As the name suggests sprinting down the stream head to head with other rafters and reaching first.

 Slalom:

In this course, the teams are to navigate around Slalom like turns.

Unfortunately, in India, Rafting is still a recreational activity and has not yet developed into a full fledged sport.

Competition & Festival

International rafting competitions are governed by International Rafting Federation (IRF). India also carries on river rafting competitions. Competitions are normally undertaken for certain promotional motto.

In India national rafting competition are undertaken to promote rafting as a tourism occupation in the state. This year national level competition was on 10th to 12th April at Rishikesh. There was a selection of 3 national level teams two for men and one for women. In Maharashtra events of river rafting are held in the village of Kolad which is situated on the banks of Kundalika River.

General Tips

In river rafting, we require techniques while paddling the boat in any direction.

Holding the paddle:

The paddle should be held with both the hand at a certain distance between two hands with a good grip. A heavy hand on top of the ‘T’ grip of the paddle will give a good grip for rafting. If you do not have a firm grip then the whirlpools will make it difficult to control the paddle and u can hurt the other enthusiasts sitting beside. To get the proper position for handling the paddle we should hold the paddle with both the hands and basket it over the head and maintain 90-degree position, just like when a cop points out a gun towards us and we raise our hand maintaining the 90-degree position of the hand.

Forward paddle:

To move the inflated raft forward u need to put the paddle in the water and pull the paddle backward. The energy to pull should be released by the upper body muscles and here the heavy grip will help you to put required pressure to pull the paddle. While pulling, you should feel the tension in your hard muscles while paddling, if your arms start getting drowsy, remember to paddle with your whole body and not just with your arms.

Equipments

Life jacket:

Life jacket forms an important gear for any water-based sport. Life jacket prevents you from drowning in the water. Life jackets from “FLOATERS” are used by the popular enthusiasts all over India. They provide life jackets for rent to rafters at every given spot of river rafting in India. Jackets from “FLOATERS” are designed in such a manner that it fits any enthusiasts irrespective of different shapes and sizes.

Helmets:

The helmet is nothing but a padded protective hat. It prevents from having head injuries incurring during the course of action. “SAFEHELS” is a well-known provider for rafting helmets among the rafting community. “SAFEHELS” provide imported quality rafting helmets adhering to international standards. The sizes are customized according to the size of enthusiasts.

Paddles:

Rafting without paddles is like having a pen with no ink. Paddles form an important tool for rafting. International rafting fanatics suggest paddles from “UNDER ARMOUR”. Paddles from “UNDER ARMOUR” are built by tough carbon material, designed according to international standards. Paddles from “UNDER ARMOUR” give enthusiasts perfect strokes and beautiful feeling while rafting and throws water behind in a sparkling manner.

Rescue throw bags:

Rescue throw bags form an important part of rafting. A rescue bag gives assistance to the swimmer in threat. A rescue bag is filled with a long rope. It is thrown to the enthusiast in threat. The rescue bags from “POLO” have the longest rope in the rescue bag as compared to any other brand. Rescue bags of this brand are even cheaper than any other brand.