5 Things I Should Have Known about Whitewater Rafting Before I Got Wet

Carl Byington on the Zambezi River, Africa

Be it for your next vacation or just as an outdoor activity to let off some steam, whitewater rafting can be extremely fun and exciting. The best part is that you don’t need many skills or be brave to try it out. But if you still find the sport a bit intimidating, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I share everything you need to know about whitewater rafting for beginners.

Whitewater rafting is an extremely popular water-based activity and it basically means rafting through Whitewater Rivers. A Whitewater river is formed when the slopes of a river or a stream are so steep that it generates turbulence in the water. Such fast and shallow turbulence is also known as “rapids” and is divided into different classes to indicate the difficulty of a passage.

Now that you know what whitewater rafting exactly is, we can move on to a bit more detail. In the rest of the article, we will explore all the key terms you need to know before getting started with whitewater rafting, the river class system, some useful tips, and much more.

Key Terms Every Beginner Should Know

Just like every other sport, whitewater rafting enthusiasts seem to have a language of their own. So before everything, you might want to go through some of the key terms to understand the instructions better.

Of course, there’s no need to know all the terms but I always recommend getting to know some of the most important ones. They are:

1. River Right/River Left: No doubt, you will need to pay close attention to everything your guide is instructing you to do. But even this can be quite difficult and confusing when the guide is facing a different direction from you and is giving you instructions about the direction.

This is especially so when you are a beginner to whitewater rafting. So when looking downstream, the river left and right indicate the left and right sides of the river respectfully.

2. Put In/Take Out: Put in indicates the starting point of your rafting trip whereas take out is the ending point.



Carl Byington ~ Engineer, Adventurer, Traveler

Adventure, travel, culture, technical, environmental, wellness, and fitness. Ivy League, NASA rocket scientist, aero engineer, and CEO. #followback