There are few things more exhilarating than racing down a wave train, feeling your raft bounce and bob over the class 4 rapids beneath you. It’s an unforgettable thrill and one that many pursue relentlessly throughout the year. But if you’ve never gone whitewater rafting before, let alone stepped foot in a raft, there’s a lot to keep track of and remember.

While you’ll want to pay close attention to your river guide, it’s not a bad idea to keep these tips from the river runners at Killgore Adventures in mind as you navigate your way through the rivers of Hells Canyon!

Wear The Safety Gear

This should be a no-brainer, but we’re always shocked to see some group of yahoos paddling down the river in nothing but their board shorts and flip-flops. When you travel with a river outfitter like Killgore Adventures, we’ll provide you with safety gear like a personal flotation device and helmet that will keep you safe should you suddenly find yourself outside the confines of the boat.

Just Be Ready To Swim

This should go without saying, but if you’re going white water rafting, there’s a strong chance you’re gonna get wet, and that might be because you find yourself in the water. If you pop out of the boat, listen for what your guide tells you to do. They’ll tell you which direction to swim to. From there, it’s up to you to swim as hard as you can to the spot they told you about. Be mindful of where your feet are and always keep them up — you don’t want your foot getting stuck on a rock!

There is No “I” in Team

Cliche? Sure. True? Absolutely. When you’re whitewater rafting with a group of friends, there can be up to eight of you in the raft at a time. That means you paddling alone isn’t going to move the raft. You’ll have to work together and in unison in order to move the raft confidently and carefully down the river. If you find yourself at the front of the boat, know that you’re setting the pace for the strength and rhythm of each stroke. If you’re in the middle or the back, watch those at the front and match their pace.

Steady, Ready, Go

Your position in the raft will dictate how steady and secure you feel. You can keep your balance better by making use of the three points of contact available in the raft. You can tuck one foot under the air tube in front of you. Don’t tuck it in too far, as you don’t want your foot to get stuck. Make sure you’re seated on the outside rim of the raft for balance. Throughout your trip, however, your guide might tell you to hunker down in the boat. Finally, your paddle serves as another way to balance yourself. Strong paddle strokes through rough rapids will help you stay upright and in the boat.

Try Out the Lingo

Join the dawn patrol and head to church. There’s plenty of lingo to learn while you’re out on the river getting worked. While you certainly don’t want to look like a beater out on your first trip, you don’t have to be a hair boater either. Didn’t track any of that? No problem. Just ask your river guide.

Have Fun!

At the end of the day, you’re out on a river adventure with your friends and family; what’s not to like? When you work together with your fellow rafters, listen carefully to your river guide — you’ll be surprised at how easy white water rafting can feel and just how much fun it is! Whitewater rafting is an amazing way to experience river travel and see parts of the Salmon and Snake Rivers that few others get to see!

Book Your Whitewater Rafting Excursion In Hells Canyon Today

Ready to give whitewater rafting a go? Killgore Adventures offers whitewater trips for rafters of all skill levels. With half-, full-, and multi-day trips, you can tackle as many rapids as you’d like. Book your trip today, and we’ll see you out on the river!