River boarding, is probably one of the biggest adrenalin rushes you can get from being on a river. While white water rafting allows you to experience the thrill of going over the rapids, river boarding literally takes you straight through the rapids, face first. This is really what this great Zambezi river is about, creating the most fun from what it offers. You will find yourself charging into rapids, pummelled by water all around you, until you come crashing through the other side, having experienced an amazing thrill.
With its origins stemming from the United States in the late 70’s, river boarding is also known as ‘sledging,’ ‘hydro speed,’ or ‘hydrofoil,’ and has only become popular as a commercial sport in other areas of the world in the past 5 years or so. This is how it works. Wearing a wetsuit, life jacket, a helmet, gloves, booties, fins, and knee or shin guards, you lie on your stomach on a river board, which is made of hard foam or plastic, and race through the rapids, quite literally going with the flow.
Simple as that, except for maybe navigating around a few rocks or attempting some tricks. River boarding is not just a fun sport either, is also used as a popular river rescue method. These vessels can offer rescuers a valuable chase option to get to victims rapidly swept downstream, who can’t be accessed from the banks or by rope. When used in this context, the board is used to support both rescuer and victim in the water during the rescue operation.
They will not need to be used for any rescue missions on your trip though, because this is all about having the experience of your life. Anyone over the age of 13 years can river board, just as long as the equipment fits well. All you need is basic swimming skills, and confidence in the water, as these rapids don’t hold back for the feint hearted. You don’t need to have any experience with body boarding, because you will be given a complete safety and river talk, as well as full guidance to get you through the water, elated and unharmed.
With great accommodation on the Zambezi, there is no reason not to go river boarding and spend some time getting to know the great Zambezi River a little more intimately than you would on a quiet sundowner cruise!