When it comes to extreme sports, proper safety precautions can not only be your best friend, but also a true lifesaver. Consider the following before venturing out to the river:
- Be honest about your swimming capabilities and physical strength. You will need to be a strong swimmer and physically fit to tackle hydrospeeding. Take care of these two things first before scheduling your trip.
- Never go into a part of a river beyond your ability.
- Never go alone and choose experienced companions.
- Wear all of your gear -- helmet, personal floatation device, wet suit, booties, gloves, knee pads, shin guards and fins.
- If you get stuck in the hydraulics of the river, remain calm. Relax to see if the river will naturally pull you out. If this doesn't work, try rolling over within the hydraulic down the river.
As much as these tips will make your trip safer, you also need to use your best safety advocates: your own quick thinking and common sense. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on where you're heading so you can avoid any hazards. Take a break and get out of the water and scout the river for obstacles.
For example, avoid logjams -- one or more logs obstructing a river's flow. Stay away from sieves, which are areas where water gets caught around obstacles. When looking for a sieve from the shore, you'll see the river flow into the obstacle, but might not be able to tell where it comes out.
While you're at it, also be on the lookout for eddies, areas that are almost like a whirlpool, and shallow, rocky rapids. Most importantly, look down the river to make sure you aren't approaching a waterfall out of your league. From on the river, you can watch the horizon line and listen for the loud noises associated with waterfalls.
Keeping these safety measures in mind, you, too, can join in on the action and hop in the river. And whether you decide to call your new sport hydrospeeding, riverboarding or sledge, you'll be following in the wake of other adventurers and creating your own way down the river.