Rafting and white water rafting are recreational outdoor activities which use an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other body of water. This is often done on whitewater or different degrees of rough water, and generally represents a new and challenging environment for participants. Dealing with risk and the need for teamwork is often a part of the experience. The development of this activity as a leisure sport has become popular since the mid-1970s, evolving from individuals paddling 10 feet (3.0 m) rafts with double-bladed paddles to multi-person rafts propelled by single-bladed paddles and steered by a tour guide at the stern. It is considered an extreme sport, and can be fatal. The International Rafting Federation (IRF) is the worldwide body which oversees all aspects of the sport.
If you’ve ever tried hiking, mountain biking or camping, you may have found you caught the outdoor adventuring bug. These activities frequently inspire people to become outdoor enthusiasts who look for the next adventure sport to try. Adventure sports challenge the body and offer an exhilarating escape from the day to day. They include activities such as rock climbing and bouldering, skiing,kayaking and canyoneering, to name just a few.
In 2004, nearly 160 million Americans participated in some form of active outdoor recreation. That’s everything from fishing to snowboarding to the more extreme sport of mountaineering [source: Outdoor Industry Foundation Participation Study]. But whether you’re a weekend warrior, expert athlete or just testing the waters of adventure sports, there’s one activity waiting for you no matter what your skill level:white-water rafting.