Have you ever wished for something that is even more thrilling than whitewater rafting? Are you the daredevil that runs towards extreme adventures that normal people back away from? Is there no better feeling for you than the heart-pumping, mad rush of adrenaline? Then Riverboarding is the perfect adventure for you.
Riverboarding, Whitewater Sledging or Hydrospeeding could be named as the cooler, crazier cousin to whitewater rafting. Where in rafting you battle with the rapids from inside the raft with the help of paddles, in Riverboarding you dive face-first into the water supported only by a single board.
This exciting niche of adventure watersports has technically originated in the late 1970s when French raft guides filled up burlap sacks with life vests and tried to master the rapids using the sacks as boards. Fast forward to the ’80s where the thrill of this activity has spread across the USA starting from California with revamped boards made out of plastic. By 1986 some of the thrill-seekers of Queensland caught up to the hype by diving into the rivers using their bodyboards.
The sport of Riverboarding as we know it today became popular much later in the years especially with European bodyboarders opting for a lighter, foam-based board that served well in tackling the rapids much better.
If you were to spot a Riverboarder in action you will see the boarder clad in a wetsuit, lying face-down on their boards with fins on their feet, knee and arm guards strapped and a helmet covering the face. Using their fins the boarder will propel themselves forward as well as steer, as the rapids start to take them down the river. The protective gear is a key factor when it comes to Riverboarding to protect the boarder from being scraped or banged against rocks, cold temperatures of the water and staying in control while moving down the rapids.
A curious adventurer who is looking to try Riverboarding for the first time would usually be given a lesson for about an hour and then enjoy an opportunity to try it out themselves. Unlike most extreme sports that need training and licenses, Riverboarding -despite its risky nature- still scores points as a sport that will give you immediate satisfaction.
For an observer, the sport may appear as easy-fun, but you require a higher level of skills and stamina to truly enjoy the rush of Riverboarding. Being a confident swimmer great physical stamina are two of the key factors as there is a large possibility of sliding off the board as rapids flip you over. A deep understanding of the rapids and currents as well as the river you will be Riverboarding in, all helps to enjoy a perfect experience. But more than anything the key to mastering the art of Riverboarding comes from your courage and passion. The more confident you are in your courage and your ability to handle the rapids, and the more enthusiasm you have to master the intense nature of the river, the better your experience will be – even getting better each time as you learn new skills.
Today, the excitement of Riverboarding has spread out throughout the world and it continues to grow its fanbase each day. With social media connecting us more and more content that shows the adventurous thrill of the sport in various parts of the world are rapidly gaining popularity in the online world. Verified information on Riverboarding such as certified places to Riverboard, members around the world and much more could be found on the World Riverboarding Association’s website. And also check out the championships that take place in favourite Riverboarding spots in the world such as New Zealand, France, Canada and Indonesia.
Rafting Team 39, the pioneers of adventure sports in Kitulgala introduced the sport to Sri Lanka around 5 years ago. Today anyone that dares to dive into the rough water of Kitulgala river can show up at Rafting Team 39, learn to master it from the pioneers themselves and enjoy it along with many other adventure watersports such as whitewater rafting, waterfall abseiling, and canoeing. Riverboarding is yet to become as sensational as whitewater rafting in the island, but the future looks promising as more and more people get introduced to the absolute rush of conquering the rapids.