We LOVE this video one of our guests shot with his GoPro in Lava Falls Rapid for one big reason: It perfectly illustrates why we tell you over and over again to listen to your guides!
There are a few things going on in this clip. First, our big 35-foot motor raft is flexing like a maniac as the boatman navigates it through Lava. That’s what these boats are designed to do: flex! That’s how they make it through that raging whitewater in one piece. The boats have a few flex points, and the guides will warn you about all of them on the first morning of your trip, during the safety orientation.
There’s the weenie tube, which bisects the boat crosswise and is back by the princess seat. Keep yer hands and yer booty away from that tube in rapids, or the boat will flex and the weenie tube will suck you (and your belongings) into its black hole.
The side pontoons are another flex point — those are what your feet are resting on as you gaze upon those gorgeous canyon walls. The pontoons will flex up and in toward the boat in rapids, so it’s important to keep your legs and your knees loose (in other words, don’t lock your knees) and to let your legs move with the pontoons. Don’t stick yer foot down where the pontoon meets the boat, or you might snap an ankle!
The flex point that is most important to be aware of, though, is the beaver board. The beaver board is a flat piece of metal that sits across the front of the boat — it’s the part of the boat that really takes that first big nose dive into rapids. When that happens, the beaver board could fly up toward the boat … and toward the metal storage boxes you’re sitting on. If you have your feet facing forward, resting on the beaver board (instead of facing outward, on the side pontoons, as instructed), the beaver board is going to crush your leg between itself and the metal storage boxes. Ouch!
As we mentioned, the guides always tell folks about these flex points repeatedly. And flex points really can flex that much. So! Check out this video. Take a look at the force behind that beaver board! Look at how far back the beaver board flies. Imagine if your feet were on that!
The other thing this video really illustrates is why it’s so important to hang. the heck. ON. in rapids. With both hands. If the guide tells you to hang on with two hands, hang on with two hands! Don’t hang on with one hand and use your other hand to hold your selfie stick. Or your GoPro. Or your camera. Or your water bottle. Use both hands to hold yourself on the boat.
Bottom line, listen to yer guide and you should be fine.
Now, back to that video 🙂 Would ya LOOK at that rapid? Yowzers!