There’s a popular misconception about going whitewater rafting on the Gauley River in West Virginia, and goes like this: everyone falls out of the raft.
Not true. In fact, the vast, vast majority of people stay in the raft on both the Upper and Lower Gauley Rivers, especially in the Class V rapids.
Here are 3 tips to help you stay in the majority:
1. Listen to your guide. That person in the back of your boat is the only one sitting between you and certain swim-i-tude, so it’s a good idea to listen up.
Your guide will give you important safety info above the rapids. They know right when the big stuff is coming. And most importantly, they know when you should and shouldn’t paddle.
2. Brace in. Having a good brace in the raft is like having 4 wheels instead of 3; it just makes sense.
The way you do it is to sit up on the tube that runs around the outside of the boat. Then, keeping your feet flat on the floor, you use the pressure of your legs against the other tubes to stay firmly in place. That’s it.
Well, actually, there’s one more thing …
3. Paddle. And paddle hard. Listen up for your guide, because they’ll tell you when to start and when to stop.
Paddling is the most important part of staying in the boat, and there are 2 reasons for that. First is the fact that if you’re paddling hard, it makes you personally more stable than if you’re just sitting there. And second is the fact that, if everyone in the boat is paddling well, the boat goes where it’s supposed to go (in theory). Got any other staying-in-the-boat tips? Leave them in the comments.