Understanding River Rapid Classifications

 By: Nomad Rick
There is something about rapids on a river that make people excited. Oh, yeah. I gotta try that! Before you hop into the river on a kayak, raft, canoe or branch, you need to take a minute to understand river classifications.

Not all whitewater on a river is equal. Some rapids come in the form of minor disturbances that are fun, but not too treacherous. On the other end of the scale, there are the rapids where you are sure death is feet away and it may very well be. So, how do you know if you are going to get a little excitement, a medium level or a meeting with your maker? You just look up the classification of the rapids in front of you or read on.

Rivers are classified in the same way across the world. Hey, at least we can all agree on something! In the case of rivers, the classification is known as the International Scale of River Difficulty or ISRD. There are six basic classifications, but people have also developed sub-classes. We'll avoid those for now and look at the big six.

1. Class I - This is basically your easiest rapids. We are talking minor speed bumps on the river. You are only going to get hurt if you are drunk or can't swim and fall out of the boat. These rivers are so tame, you might not realize you are even on rapids.

2. Class II - A bit more adventurous, but not much. These rivers tend to have daring looking whitewater, but not in the actual path you will be taking. You can more or less just float and bypass everything. Good for beginners, but probably will not get the adrenaline rushing.

3. Class III - Now we are starting to have fun. Class III rapids are considered excellent for moderately experienced boaters. You are going to get thrown around a bit. You are going to get water in your boat. You should have an understanding of how to maneuver in rapids to avoid rocks and such. In kayaks, you can flip if you are not careful. Canoes can be filled with water. Definitely the first stage where your adrenaline gets going.

4. Class IV - Now we are weeding out the people not that interested in whitewater experiences. This is the level you see on television shoes. Water is thrashing everywhere and you need to know what you are doing. You should walk the shore and scout the rapids to pick out a course before entering them. If you are kayaking, you MUST be proficient at rolling because there is a very good chance you are going to flip in or next to a hole.

5. Class V - This is a serious river. The rapids may not actually be that much worse than a Class IV river, but they typically exist over longer distances. Shooting wild rapids for 200 feet is one thing. Shooting them for a mile is an entirely different situation. You should be an expert. You should scout the river carefully and closely. You should sign your will before going down.

6. Class VI - Insane. Yep, you have to be insane to go down these. Death is assured. These are rapids that make any normal person shake their head. The brutal truth is nobody should go down these. Examples include fast water shooting down multiple waterfalls in a canyon with 40 foot walls and water that is no more than 10 feet wide. If you get in trouble, nobody can help you. You die. Only a person with years of experience and a death wish should try these babies.

For most people, the Class II through IV rivers do the trick nicely. Once you become very proficient with them, Class V will usually be good enough for the rest of your career. Class VI can be done, but you are tempting fate even though you are an expert in your kayak.
Artice Source: http://www.articlesphere.com

Related Articles in River Rafting Kayaking

People interested in the above article are also interested in the related articles listed below:

Thrill and excitement awaits every traveler who dares to paddle and shout through the White Water Rafting Tennessee. Tennessee is not just a place of music in America. It is also widely visited eco-tourism because of its package of sea adventure. If you're up for an exciting vacation, you fly or sail your way to the humble state of Tennessee.
You've heard about Grand Canyon raft trips. You may have read about them or, while researching adventure trips you saw some really rockin' video. A trip like this might have even made it onto your personal "Bucket List." So what do you really need to know about the experience to move it to the top of your list and actually make it happen? Taking an all-inclusive raft trip on the Colorado River as it flows through the Grand Canyon allows you to experience breathtaking scenery from the very bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Rafting on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is an incredible experience, but there is so much more to a whitewater rafting trip than shooting the rapids. The Canyon has amazing 'hidden' hikes, accessible only from the water's edge. Arizona River Runners offers Colorado River trips with seasoned guides who can take you exploring these incredible places where you experience the many hidden treasures of the Grand Canyon.
Related Articles
in River Rafting Kayaking

More in River Rafting Kayaking

Excellent, Larry. Thank you for taking the new article directory technology and making it work to the max. I encourage everyone to keep contributing and contributing regularly. I can attest to the fact that this site is already a strong directory in a field of many. Kudos to Larry!

Matthew C. Keegan
The Article Writer


I find it a delight to use both as an author and a publisher. It is full of nice little surprises that make the whole process of writing, reading and publishing articles a complete delight. This is one that comes out tops and beats the rest hands down.

Eric Garner
Managing Director


I did a Google search and came across your site. It was exactly what I was looking for and was elated to find such a broad range of articles. As I am launching a free magazine in a small town in Florida, I wanted to be as resourceful as possible while still being able to provide some content that is interesting and well written. Your site has all the variables in the mix. Excellent Site hitting all the notes in the scale sort of speak.

Mo Montana
Florida, USA

Article Topics

Copyright © 2005 - by Larry Lim, Singapore - Article Search Engine Directory at ArticleSphere.com™
All Rights Reserved Worldwide. All Trademarks and Servicemarks are the property of the respective owners.
ArabicBulgarianCatalanChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)CzechDanishDutchEnglishEstonianFinnishFrenchGermanGreekHaitian CreoleHebrewHindiHungarianIndonesianItalianJapaneseKoreanLatvianLithuanianNorwegianPersianPolishPortugueseRomanianRussianSlovakSlovenianSpanishSwedishThaiTurkishUkranianVietnamese