How to Survive your First White Water Rafting Experience

If going for a swim does nothing but bore you, maybe it’s time to take things up a notch. Ever heard about white water rafting? It’s a perfect, beginner-friendly, adrenaline-packed adventure that involves an element of risk, wild water and some extreme speeds. Going white water rafting for the first time can be both terrifying and exhilarating, so if this all sounds inviting to you, here’s what you can expect from your first rafting experience!

Expect to get soaked

So, pack some appropriate wear. Even though your booty probably looks amazing in that tiny bikini, better wear some gym shorts to protect your assets from the raft. It’s best if you wear some synthetic materials because natural fabrics such as cotton pull heat away from your body and you’ll get cold quickly. And, pack a pair of water shoes to protect your little piggies.

Leave your bling somewhere safe

All your jewellery and your cash will be much safer and drier in the car for obvious reasons. If you really need to bring something with you (medication for instance), there are waterproof bags. This will let you relax and enjoy the ride. This waterproof tech pouch can keep your must-have valuables safe while white water rafting.

Going white water rafting for the first time how to white water raft

Your skull’s not that hard, bro

If you’re taking any rapid that is Class 3 and higher, you will need and want to wear a helmet. You will get one from the rafting company, and no matter how stupid you think you look, don’t take it off. 

Side note: the different rapid classes are explained below.

Life jackets are so cool

So, you think you can swim? We’re sure you swim like Phelps, but better not risk it your first time. If you fall in, the life jacket will not only keep you on the surface but also make it easier for the guide to pull you back in.


That’s basically the one thing you need to do when rafting. If you don’t paddle, navigating the raft will be hard, so when your guide says to do it, you do it. Before your launch, you will learn a couple of commands that will not only improve your safety but also make your experience ten times more fun! If your guide feels like they can’t rely on all of you, they will skip the harder (and most exciting) rapids. Bummer! So, listen to the instructions and you’ll have the time of your life!

Going white water rafting for the first time how to white water raft

Hold your horses

Rapids are usually classified on a scale of 1 to 6. Class 1 rapids are small with a slow current and waves. There are no special obstructions in the water and they are perfect for beginners and kids. Class 6 rapids, though, will take you on the ride of your life. You will probably scream, possibly fall out and maaaaaybe even poop your pants. It’s happened before. One time we went Tara River rafting the Class 5 rapids almost made me cry (from happiness of course). Jokes aside, it was one of the best experiences of my life, but I sure am glad I waited until I was ready to handle all that white water!

Man overboard!

No matter how careful you are, it just happens sometimes. So if it happens to you, try to hold onto the outside safety line and someone will help you back in. If you can’t get to the line, wait for the paddle or a throw bag. If you’re not back on board in 10 seconds, assume the white water swimming position (lift your feet up and point them downstream). There’s only one rule: DON’T PANIC. But, sure, you can still curse and pray.

Going white water rafting for the first time how to white water raft

The bare necessities

Bring a change of clothes, a towel and some water. Adrenaline will make you parched!

White water rafting is a fun and exhilarating experience perfect for adrenaline junkies. It’s also a great outdoors workout if you don’t mind getting a little wet. As long as you trust your crew and paddle like crazy, you will have a truly breathtaking adventure. And remember, it’s okay to fall out, as long as you get back in.


Going white water rafting for the first time how to white water raft

Roxana authorAbout the author: Roxana is a lifestyle consultant from Sydney. She is also one of the editors at Highstylife Magazine. Roxana recently moved to Europe, loves to travel and writing about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family. Her mantra is “every day is a new beginning”. You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter and Facebook.

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