So youve done the white
water rafting thing and it was a breeze, right?
Well now its time to get right into the water for some
serious mind-blowing fun.
River sledging is the most basic, hands on, face in the
water style of white water rafting. All you need is your
swimsuit and an absolutely positive can-do attitude. The
commercial operators will outfit you with a polystyrene sled or
modified boogie board, plus flippers, wet suit and helmet.
Its one of the most exciting water sports around and calls
for a fair degree of nerve and a solid grasp on the sledge.
Sledging operators give comprehensive training in the quieter
backwater eddies before you venture into the main stream. They
test you in a moderate current to ensure that you can keep the
sledge under control while ignoring the disconcerting
face-buffeting waves. Once the party sets off its a real
buzz to flow downstream completely at-one with the current,
riding through the conflicting sideways motion of eddies and
whirlpools and the solid slap of stopper waves.
The turbulent rivers around Queenstown and Wanaka are the main
focus of this adventure sport. Several companies run 3-5 hour
excursions on the Kawarau and Clutha rivers, with names that
conjure up visions of thrilling white water action - Mad Dog
River Boarding, Serious Fun and Frogz Have More Fun. In the North
Island one operation on the Waingongoro River in Taranaki
actually involves running rapids on a sledge, and then dam-dropping over a high weir as a climax.
Look out for these fun-filled adventures as you travel around the
country. They are an interesting variation on the rafting theme -
you dont just get drenched you get completely saturated.
Being immersed in the raging current is not for the faint-hearted
- its wicked, waterlogged and wonderful fun.