Being Californian, I grew up near the beach. With my dad, the way he is, I learned how to do a lot of fun water sports, like body boarding and surfing. However, while I have lived in Idaho, I had never thought that I would get the chance to catch a wave unless I was near the ocean. That would have been the case, had I not discovered river boarding.
River boarding is a simple sport that is a lot of fun. You take a boogie board and make it longer, wider, and thicker and give it handles. Grab a wetsuit, lifejacket, helmet and some fins and head to the whitewater, because you are set.
Find a spot in the river that has just one rapid that is wide, looks like a wave and is relatively calm afterward. Walk up to the side of the rapid and jump in with the river board. Try getting the top of your head level with the front end of the board and kick hard, to get started on the rapid, then slowly inch forward until you don’t need to kick anymore. It takes trial and error to get used to, but this method worked for me and I was able to stay on the rapid longer than everyone else.
When you fall away from the rapid, get to the shore as quickly as possible by paddling perpendicular to the current of the river. Try having your body underneath the board, but holding on with your arms on top while you kick with your feet. That way when you get to the shallow area, you won’t hit your knee against a rock and standing up is easier. Then you walk up to where you started and go again.
Long stretches of river are unnecessary. For this outing, we only used about 30 meters (about 100 feet) of river and it kept us happy and entertained for hours before we got tired. This activity was easier for those experienced in surfing and were somewhat in-shape, but you do not have to be fit or a surfer to give it a try. However, you do need to know how to swim, otherwise you will have problems.
River boarding is a great adventure and it is really simple once you get the idea. If you live near a river, try it out, this was new to me, I had a blast, and I can’t wait to go again. Equipment is relatively inexpensive and you can even rent it from some places. I went with a group from my university and the rental was really cheap. Do some research and you can find some cool deals near you.