Sending the brave off vertical drops into water swirling wildly around rocks, with little more than a paddle, whitewater rafting more than earns its place among other extreme sports,. And in case you’re not convinced, here are four wild videos from some of the world’s best rafting spots. So get ready for eye-popping descents, merciless rapids, outstanding rafting skills, and of course, lots and lots of boats flipping over.
You may think of rafting as a spring sport, but that’s not the case on West Virginia’s Gauley River. Challenging enough to make our list of the top five rafting spots in the United States, the river is wildest during the six weeks after Labor Day, when water is released from the Summersville Dam. So although summer ends with the holidy, there’s no reason to stop having fun.
Based on the rafting action in this video, I’m going to guess it was filmed between early September and mid-October. It features a random (and painful) shot of a failed gymnastics trick at 0:48, but after that it’s all whitewater. Riders zip through narrow passes, sometimes leaving the raft behind and crash over and into rocks in the final video of our roundup.
YouTube user Ed Huber (of SplitRock Video) is the mastermind behind this four-minute rafting disaster-fest. The aptly named “Crash and Burn” features some of the most extreme rafting disasters out there, as boat after boat takes on rapids and drops. Despite their valiant efforts, somewhere between half and two-thirds of the rafters seen here end up in the water. And the video a work in progress- Huber continually adds new footage- so check back in regularly for more of this extreme version of the blooper reel
As it begins, this video may look like a bad science movie you had to watch in high school. But the club music soon comes in, and within ten seconds you’ve got a boat flipping over backwards. All the footage is from Africa’s Zambezi River. None of the rafts take on Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world, which the Zambezi passes through on its way to the Indian Ocean. The video has some carnage to match “Crash and Burn,” but it also has enough success moments to prove that rafting a tough river is doable, not just insane
I’m not a big fan of rock band Rage Against the Machine, but I have to admit the music choice for this video is appropriate. Here, we head to the Penobscot Dead & Kennebec Rivers in Maine. As all good rafting videos should, this one has plenty of capsized rafts and riders in the water, but the moments of skill might outshine the flops in this one. My personal favorite is at 1:21, when a raft plunges into frothing water and disappears from view, only to emerge right side up, without a man lost.