Whitewater Rafting Tips
1. No experience is needed. You will have very experienced guides to lead you.
2. Bring a change of clothes, towel and extra shoes for the trip to change at the outpost. During the summer, shorts, swimsuits and t-shirts are fine. In the spring and fall, wear wool garments, a jacket or sweater. Most outfitters have wet suits or spray jackets (may be an extra charge) if it's chilly. Don't wear jeans or all cotton clothing. Synthetic clothing is best.
3. Secure watersport sandles, tennis shoes or wetsuit booties (cooler weather) are best for feet.
4. Bring sunscreen and sun glasses.
5. If you bring a camera, make sure it is waterproof. The one-time use, waterproof cameras are the best bet. There will be stretches of calmer water for photos. Many outfitters provide professional photo services on the river.
6. Some river trips only require a guide in every second or third boat. If you want a guaranteed guide in your boat, request one in advance (may be additional charge).
7. Most companies have one- or two-person inflatable kayaks called ducks or funyaks, if you prefer.
8. Rafting rates include a paddle and personal flotation device.
9. Call ahead of time (several weeks ahead is best) for reservations.
North Carolina Whitewater Classification
Class I (Easy). Small waves, just enough to make you want more. Little manuevering is required.
Class II (Novice). The ride gets more interesting and waves may be up to three feet high. Hopefully, you will get a little wet!
Class III (Intermediate). It's time to navigate larger waves, small falls and/or rocks. Listen to your guide, and you will have a fun ride. It's time to anchor your feet in tight, so you won't fall out. Often, waves will crash into the boat, and you will be stopping soon to bail the water out!
Class IV (Advanced). You will only find these rapids on the Pigeon River or the extended trip on the French Broad. For the more adventurous person, it's time to yell and enjoy. Turbulent waves, a swift current, and rocks require guided navigation. Be ready to work with your guide. A good soaking and excitement will be your reward.
Class V (Expert). This is hardcore whitewater, and our rivers do not reach this intensity.
Class VI (Extreme). Only the expert and a bit crazy go for these.