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Riverboarding -- An Extreme Whitewater Ride

Thrill surfing through class 4 and 5 whitewater rapids on a riverboard

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RiverBoarding on the Arkansas in Colorado

Erica riverboarding on the Arkansas in Colorado

Rocky Mountain Riverboards

"I call it the extreme face-first adrenalin rush," says Darryl Brown, one of the owners of Rocky Mountain RiverBoarding. Riverboarding involves shooting the rapids while lying on your stomach on a riverboard. You’re rushing through boiling water while hugging a 48- to 54-inch board comprised of molded foam or harder plastic, versus being on top of the water when in a raft. "You’re part of the flow" as you surf through class 3, 4 or 5 rapids, enthuses Brown.

Bottom line: It’s you on a riverboard, – presumably wearing a life jacket and armored by a helmet, wetsuit, wetsuit gloves, booties, fins, and knee or shin guards – knifing through frothing water while dodging the rocks creating the rushing rapids.

Although this extreme whitewater sport of riverboarding -- often call "sledging," "hydrospeed," or "hydrofoil," – has been popular in New Zealand and Europe for years, it’s only been garnering devotees in the U.S. for about five years. Riverboards are often used by teams involved in a "swift-water rescue" of people who have fallen out of rafts or kayaks in fast-flowing water.

You can learn more about the extreme whitewater sport of riverboarding, where to try it and a few companies in North America offer guided trips at Facelevel.com.

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