White Water Rafting: Know The Features Of The River

Posted on: 27 April 2022

There are a lot of things that you need to know before you go white water rafting for the first time. Here are some of the features of the river you need to become familiar with. 

Tongue Of The River

It's important to become familiar with the different types of currents found in a river. One of them is known as the tongue of the river, which is a deep channel that you'll find at the start of a rapid. The increased depth will cause the water to become faster in this part for a rougher ride in your raft. 


Places where the river flows in the opposite direction are called eddies. They can be quite powerful and create swirls that prevent your raft from moving forward. An eddy is a great place to rest due to the reversed current, which will help you plan how to navigate the river that you see ahead of you.

In addition, an eddy line is where the upstream and downstream currents come together in the water. You'll need to cross an eddy line with more speed to get past it.


Water will form a pillow when it hits an obstacle in the water. This is when the flow of water goes under the surface and comes up in another place, which will cause the water to look as if it is boiling. This part of the water is safe to travel over since the current is going upward. Be cautious of the part of the water where the current goes under because it can suck your raft into it. 

Downstream V

The river will form a downstream V in deep parts of the river. You'll usually see rocks along the side of the river that are pushing the rapids in a V shape that directs the current forward. It is best to follow the river to the tip of the V since it is safe to travel over and is going to give you good speed to navigate the river.

Upstream V

An obstacle in the water may cause an upstream V, where the river splits into two directions. The tip of this V should be avoided since there is likely something in the water that is causing the upstream V to form. 

Man-Made Rapids

Sometimes you'll encounter debris in the river that did not get there naturally. It may be large construction debris, part of a broken bridge, or something of that nature. These obstacles are called man-made rapids.

For more information on white water rafting, contact a professional near you.