Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WoMan vs. Rapid

On my recent American Rambler trip to the mountains I was introduced to a totally crazy new sport called Riverboarding. If you haven’t heard, it’s basically the thrill seeking, adventure enthusiast’s new drug of choice. Picture this…an ice-cold river, class 3+ rapids, you and a thin foam board. Basically man vs. rapid (surprised Bear Grylls hasn’t featured this yet).  Riverboarders leave plush rafts at home for this date with danger. I know what you’re probably thinking, “What the heck? Why would anyone want to go HEAD FIRST into white water rapids? That’s just crazy!” And you would be right…it is crazy.

I’ll admit, I was a bit squeamish about the whole ordeal, but had to don my poker face. Letting the guys know, would just give them more ammo to torture me with (and I’d had enough). Plus, there is a part of me that loves danger and being a tad bit freaked out – that same part drives me to watch movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs, ahhh! Oh, and did I mention that I’d get to see the guys with their shirts off?

As you can see, this sport requires quite the getup: full-body wetsuit, booties, helmet, life jacket and flippers. Clearly the inventor was male – not concerned with fashion or flattering attire. The guys definitely used this opportunity to use our Aussie mate’s favorite phrase “sweet as” often (I’m sure you can understand why).

Today we were riverboarding with the Montana River Guides down the Clark Fork River near Missoula, MT. Around 1pm, I signed my life away and started praying for the best! It was a great day to be out, sunny, blue skies, 75 degrees and plenty of rapids.  The chill of the water made the hair on the back of my neck raise as I entered the emerald water. Squealing like a little girl at the build-a-bear shop, I pushed off into the fast-paced waters following our trusty guide. My timidity quickly vanished like the passing clouds after we hit our first set of rapids. It was a rush, literally. The words thrilling, invigorating and intoxicating come to mind. The trip consisted of slow steady periods of floating interspersed with fast, furious flows ready to overturn and engulf us.

To our surprise we even had the opportunity to Riversurf. I found out quickly that it doesn’t mean you get to stand on your board (much to my dismay). Rather, you either go backwards into the rapids (not scary at all, haha) or you jump head first into the rapids and once you reach the big boy you kick like crazy and catch the top of the wave and ride it like a roller coaster. Catching a wave in the midst of rapids is such a disorienting experience. Finding myself in the dead center of the rapids, feeling like time was standing still, legs flailing (not fully necessary) it hit me that I was actually surfing!!! At that moment a thick coat of pride enveloped me just before the waves did!

Before I knew it we were swimming to the shore and the dance with danger was done.  They say time flies when you’re having fun…so this must have been a BLAST! All the cold and fear had dissipated and I was ready for round two! Let’s just say, I met my match! 

Here’s a video from the Montana River Guides of the Alberton Gorge where we riverboarded!


Christine Nichole said...

"Riverboarders leave plush rafts at home for this date with danger"...nicely said, Michelle! This sounds like so much fun.

Michelle said...

Thanks Christine! it was incredible! You should def try it out sometime!!!