The intrepid and exciting sport of dam dropping requires a lot of courage and stamina. Because of its considerable risk, having the adequate preparation and knowledge is vital to successfully acquire the whole experience. Since its inception, the practice of this water sport, commonly known as river sledging or river surfing, has been as challenging to many experts as fans. However, whether on a sledge or a kayak, the adrenaline you feel is incredible and insatiable. Here’s what you need to know before you get out on the water.
As with any water sport, you must have knowledge of the river’s depth, flow, speed, obstacles, and any unexpected intricacies. If you don’t have a general idea of each of these, you should probably pause and hold off on getting in the water until you do. You should also know everything there is to know about survival techniques, how to float, swim against a current and even save a friend, if necessary. If you cannot swim alone for 10 or more minutes, it would behoove you to get in shape quick – your life may depend on it.
Know The River
Next, get to know the river. Practice the route to master every detail. If you do not have adequate experience manoeuvring your vehicle, never go alone. The fall to the pool that awaits you can be extremely rewarding, but also has its risks. If you think you do not have the necessary experience, you can always have someone waiting down the chute to assist in a speedy recovery. However, you must always follow safety instructions, and know your limits. Not all rivers are equal, and not all drops have the same degree of risk and power. But, all can be friendly and safe, if you take the proper precautions. A simple Google search will yield numerous results for what happens when you don’t.
A helmet and a wet suit are necessary for safe river sledging. Water temperatures vary, and the topography of the river does too, so you need these two items to be safe. Whether you are in a plastic sledge with your body on top, or sitting in a kayak, you are in absolute control of your watercraft. Also, know that there is a big difference in handling a kayak or sledge, in terms of successfully exiting from the foamy waves. You can find videos of the differences on YouTube.com for a real life illustration.
Once you have everything under control, just go for it. You’ll begin to feel your heart beat a thousand miles an hour as you approach the fall, but you can’t turn back. Trying to turn or back out will only lead to trouble (danger), so be sure to keep that vehicle straight. As long as you do so, you’ll be on your way to an exhilarating drop – your life may never be the same! Regardless, you’ll want to experience it over and over again.
Creative Commons photo by Jim Liestman