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River Rafting Techniques Beginners Should Know

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White water rafting is a thrilling adventure, and a one-of-a-kind way to experience Durango and the Animas River. It may seem daunting if you don’t have a lot of experience – or you’re completely new to river rafting – but if you know what to do, it can make your next trip to southern Colorado unforgettable.

At Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours, we offer the best – and safest – white water rafting experiences on the Animas River. We have been helping visitors and natives alike experience the great outdoors for more than 30 years, and we have maintained an untarnished safety record for every single one of those years. To make sure you have an incredible time, today’s blog will go over two essential river rafting techniques for beginners. Do your planning today for a safe, amazing vacation, and explore all the experiences Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours can offer, from rafting and kayaking to ziplining and much more. Make reservations for your next adventure today!

Hold Your Paddle Properly

One way to ensure your upcoming white water rafting trip goes well is to make sure you hang on to your one essential tool: your paddle! There is, in fact, a right and wrong way to hold a rafting paddle, and doing it the wrong way can actually be dangerous. River rafting paddles are made of hard plastic, and if handled improperly, they can certainly cause a few bruises. Avoid injuring yourself or your raft buddies by keeping one hand on the shaft of the paddle and one hand on the T grip at all times. The T grip helps you control the paddle, and with your hand over the end, you can cushion any accidental blows. To know if you are using the proper form, make sure you listen to your guide’s instructions, and let them check your grip.

Paddle as a Team

A river raft is not a canoe or a kayak — you can’t propel it all by yourself. If you’re looking for a little extra excitement on your next trip, you can try and manhandle the raft into going faster, but you’ll likely just wear yourself out and irritate your fellow paddlers. It’s more effective for everyone to paddle in unison. If you’re in the middle or at the back of the raft, watch the person ahead of you for cues and try to stay in sync. If you’re at the front of the raft, keep an eye on the person next to you. Paddling together will not only help you keep your energy, but it will also make for a much more enjoyable trip for everyone involved.

Are you ready for a crazy new adventure? Explore the beautiful landscape of Durango, enjoy the water and the sun, and get your heart pounding with white water rafting! Durango Rivertrippers & Adventure Tours offers river rafting trips for people of all skill levels, and understanding how to hold your paddle properly and work together as a team are just two steps toward making this adventure a new tradition. Check out all of the great trip options and combination packages Durango Rivertrippers has to offer, including side-by-side ATV rentals and tours of Mesa Verde National Park, and bring your family and friends to southern Colorado for your next vacation!

people white water rafting

From $119

Join us on a raft trip down the San Miguel River in Telluride, CO. In the spring and early summer this snowmelt-fed river plunges from the high peaks of the San Juan Mountains. NOTE: This river flows typically during the end of May and stops at the end of June. The dates we have loaded are the dates we are running this river. If you are looking for rafting in July and August check out our Durango River Rafting page.