water & sport, water culture


0 Comments 01 October 2010


Did you know that today’s one of the most adventurous water sports was a fundamental means of transportation not so long ago? Initially, wooden logs were used for cargo transportation to the most unreachable areas; while today rubber inflated rafts are used for recreational purposes. White water rafting trips have become the adventurous experience par excellence, from the rivers of West Virginia to North Carolina, it is a fun group activity for those who love water sports. It is inevitable to highlight that despite being a recreational activity, this sport remains dangerous if it is not done respecting the recommendations of experts and complying with all necessary security rules and apparel. It is only in the 1980s that rafting became a recreational activity with the arrival or much more effective modes of transportation.

Rafting is continuously gaining in popularity due to the fact that one does not need to be a real professional athlete to paddle down the waves. This unique experience intrigues many tourists that join crews lead by experimented guides who are familiar with the risks and the potential dangers of different rivers.  In order to prevent dangerous accidents, rafting rivers are classified by experts in a scale that ranks from 1 to 6 indicating how demanding or risky some paths of the rivers. The more risky the river is the more likely it is that the paddlers will end up become swimmers for more than once.

The International Rafting Federation (IRF) defines rafting as a “human activity conducted on running rivers requiring physical skill using paddle and oar power in soft crafts and which is generally accepted as being a social, commercial and competitive sport” (Source: http://www.internationalrafting.com/?page_id=529).  This world organization oversees rafting activities all over the world trying to advocate the need to preserve the social values associated with this sport. Perseverance, respect for other and team spirit are crucial to this sport.  The mission of IRF is to maintain and promote the values and conditions to the safe practice of this sport at the competition or recreational level. In addition, the IRF is working hard in order to promote rafting as a safe sport defending its interest at a national and international level. Finally, one of IRF’s most important goals is to promote water conservation and the respect for the rivers and the wildlife surrounding them.

Many specialized travel agencies organize rafting vacations in breath take wild scenarios around the United States or Canada. This sorts of trips allow tourists to experience a unique adventurous experience while discovering the beautiful nature and wildlife in the most remote areas like the Firth River, a hidden jewel north of Canada.  This river is situated deep in the northern Yukon Territory, close to Alaska. The Firth river “flows through the centre of Ivvavik National Park where the wildlife include muskox, caribou, wolves, eagles and falcons that can be observed in the rocky panorama of the Arctic scenery.

Another unique rafting experience that is perceived by the ultimate rafting experience by extreme water sports lovers and experts is the Patagonia rafting experience down the Futaleufu river, acclaimed as one of the most challenging rivers in the world. “The river’s name is derived from a local Mapuche Indian word meaning “big big river” and it lives up to its billing in every respect” (Source: http://www.exchile.com/fachome.html). Expediciones Chile organizes a series of different vacation tours that rank from a week of rafting down Futaleufu to a concentration of four extreme rafting days. An interesting alternative that combines nature to all sorts of sports is the Futaleufu Multisport Chile rafting week. This special excursion mixes the pleasures of rafting to the ones of mountain biking and hiking. This adventurous vacation is way to discover a beautiful country, meet no friends and overcome all your fears.

From a method of transportation to a recreational activity that unites people from all over the world, rafting is a sport that enables people to develop a close relationship with nature. Numerous rivers around the United States are a perfect scenery for tourists or beginners who strive to acquire expertise in this sport. For those who love risks and extreme adventurous the Futaleufu river is what of the most thrilling experience when it comes to rafting.



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