In the last 30 years, rapids rafting has gained massive popularity. People tend to go in groups for a family gathering, friends reuniting and even corporate team building exercises. Rafting is massively fun and an undisputed adrenaline rush.
At its core, whitewater rafting is simply the act of taking a raft down through turbulent areas of a river. These turbulent areas are known as rapids. Rapids are formed by three factors - constriction, gradient and obstruction. Water naturally flows downhill because of gravity. When it is constricted, it pushes in from the sides, speeding up and getting turbulent. Speed also increases when the gradient get steeper and, of course , obstructions cause water to crash into them and swirl around as the flow tries to find the best way to follow gravity. Each of these events causes rapids and the resulting turbulence churns the water thus causing the froth. The goal of rafting is to surf these rapids without being flipped or dragged under.
Rapids are classified by six categories. Category 1 is a smooth river with no rapids. The categories climb from their too Category 6, which is either impassible or should only be attempted by experts. Most river rafting trips occur on Category 3 and 4 rapids, where the turbulence gives you an exciting ride, but with limited risk.
River rafts are typically big and sturdy. They hold between six and 12 people spread equally on each side. Although an expert guide controls the steering at the back, most rafting companies allow the passengers to paddle on each side of the raft in their corresponding spots.
River rafting has a certain risk factor and safety is paramount. All rafters absolutely should wear helmets and life jackets. Falling out of the raft can be a common occurrence depending on the river conditions. All rafters should be able to swim.
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