Extreme Sports Terms: Whitewater Rafting

By Donald Ray Bernard

If shooting down rapids, dodging rocks, and navigating waterfalls sounds like a nice day out on the river, whitewater rafting may be for you. While some people enjoy a nice, relaxing day of fishing or grilling from the shore, rafting aficionados prefer the thrill of the fast-paced maneuvering involved in whitewater rafting. For sports lovers seeking a bit of excitement on the water, the following is a list of terms to make any beginner sound like an expert.

Above: Located upriver.

Backroller: A wide area where the water flows in the reverse direction, often caused by a large, stationary object.

Bar: An area where the bottom of the river is raised due to an accumulation of debris, dirt, sand, or rocks.

Beam: The width at the widest point of a raft.

Below: Located downriver.

Big Water: An area of the river where large amounts of water carry extreme force and, as a result, danger.

Boil: An area of water that makes the shape of a hill.

Chute: An area between two stationary objects that flows downhill at a more rapid rate of speed than surrounding water.

Dump Truck: When a raft dumps all or part of its load, including equipment and people, but does not capsize.

Hair: A churned-up area of water moving at a high rate of speed that is covered in aerated foam.

Hole: An area of water moving in the opposite direction of the water around it that is moderate to narrow in width and found below an underwater object. It is also called a souse hole.

Pitch/Drop: A steep section of a rapid.

Punching: Increasing the raft’s speed to gain enough momentum to get through a difficult area.

Sleeper: A rock under the surface of the water that is not easily detectable.

Taco: When a raft bends in half, causing the stern and bow to touch. This is often caused by underinflation.

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