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Rafting in Bulgaria

Rafting in Bulgaria
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The rafting season 2017 in Bulgaria is open!

Whitewater rafting on Struma river with Reflip

Rafting adventure

Rafting is a great way for mental relaxation and increased adrenaline. It is a great offer for the practice of group sports and team bonding. It gives energy and positive emotions. Rafting helps one to clear your mind of stress, meet new people and to experience a new sensation. Rafting is suitable for people of all ages.

Before the crew goes into the river, the instructor makes them a detailed safety briefing on how to act in fast-flowing rivers. It includes how to paddle, how to respond to commands, how to swim and what can happen in the water. Very important is the coordination of the crew, as the synchronisation paddling must maintain the balance of the boat in the wild water. The crew is the driving force, and the guide is the helmsman on the shelf. The guide stands on the stern of the boat with the biggest paddle and gives instructions to the rest of the crew. Some of the commands that he gives are: “forward “, ” back “, ” stop”, “left forward, right backward”, ” right forward, left backward ” and ” branches .” It is important to know that if someone accidentally or deliberately swims in the river, the position to be taken is called ” body raft”. In position ” body raft ” you stand on your back with your feet downstream, feet should be above the water, but the hands are spread out for balance. That way you can see what happens in front of you and you can respond in an adequate way.

Rafting team paddling on river in Bulgaria

History of rafting

Rafting comes from the English word “raft”, which means a raft. Also known as “whitewater rafting” because of the color of the foaming waters that descend from the river. The prototype of this sport was born in North America as early as the XVIII century when local loggers sent logs down the river to save from the cost of transportation. The beginning is officially considered the distant 1811, when is the first documented attempt to run the Snake River in Wyoming, USA. A little later, about 1840, came the rubber shelf whose fathers are considered John Fremont and Horace Day. Since they were part of the U.S. Army, their invention was necessary for war not for entertainment purposes. Only in the middle of the XX century rafting became an extreme sport and started gaining popularity. In 1972 it was included in the Olympic Games in Munich.

Rafting jump while rafting in Bulgaria

Equipment for rafting in Bulgaria

It includes a wetsuit, neoprene boots, life jacket, helmet and personal flotation device (life jacket). They are a mandatory part of every rafting trip. Jackets and helmets once put on should not be removed in the river.

Neoprene (Neoprene) is a type of synthetic rubber. The patented brand is the company DuPont. It was established in 1930. It is usually black in color. Waterproof, elastic, soft and porous – all these qualities make it suitable for the production of diving and rafting outfits. In practice, like a sleeping bag, It does not create heat but insulates body heat. Between the skin and the neoprene remains thin film of water, which is warmed by the body and transfers heat from the warmer parts of the body to the cold.

Rafting boats

The modern raft is an inflatable boat, consisting of very durable, multi-layered rubberized (Hypalon) or vinyl fabrics (PVC) with several independent air chambers. Typical lengths vary from 6 m (20 ft) (with a width of 2.5 m (8 ft)) down to very portable single-person pack rafts which may be as small as 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) long and weigh as little as 4 pounds (1.8 kg). Rafts come in a few different forms. In Europe and Australasia, the most common are the symmetrical rafts steered with a double-bladed paddle at the stern. Other types are the asymmetrical rudder-controlled raft, the symmetrical raft with central helm (oars), and Stern Mounts with the oar frame located at the rear of the raft. Rafts are usually propelled by ordinary paddles and or oars and typically hold 4 to 12 persons. In Russia, rafts are often hand made and are often a catamaran style with two inflatable tubes attached to a frame; pairs of paddlers navigate on these rafts. Catamaran style rafts have become popular in the western United States as well, but are typically rowed instead of paddled.

Rafting on Struma river in Bulgaria

 

Rafting safety

It is advisable to discuss safety measures with a rafting club before descent. Equipment used and the qualifications of instructors and rafting guides are essential information to be considered. Like most outdoor sports, rafting, in general, has become safer over the years. Expertise in the sport has increased, and equipment has become more specialised and increased in quality. As a result, the difficulty rating of most river runs has changed. A classic example would be the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, which has swallowed whole expeditions in the past, leaving only fragments of boats. In contrast, it is now run safely by commercial outfitters hundreds of times each year with relatively untrained passengers.

Risks in white water rafting stem from both river feature danger and improper behavior. Certain features on rivers are inherently unsafe and have remained consistently so despite the passage of time. These would include “keeper hydraulics”, “strainers” (e.g. fallen trees), dams (especially low-head dams, which tend to produce river-wide keeper hydraulics), undercut rocks, and of course dangerously high waterfalls. Rafting with experienced guides is the safest way to avoid such features. Even in safe areas, however, moving water can always present risks. Irresponsible behavior related to rafting while intoxicated has also contributed to many accidents. Now a day thousands of people safely enjoy rafting every year.

Rafting finish in Bulgaria

Environment

Like all outdoor activities, rafting must balance the use of nature and the conservation of rivers as a natural resource and habitat. Rafting contributes to the economy of many regions which in turn may contribute to the protection of rivers from hydroelectric power plants for electricity production. People that firsthand feel the beauty of a river, which would otherwise be indifferent to environmental issues may gain a strong desire to protect and preserve that area because of the positive experience.

Rafting in Bulgaria

Only a few years ago the sport was unknown to Bulgaria. The rafting season starts in early March and ends in June or July when the water level drops. Most preferred for rafting in Bulgaria is the bed of the river Struma, which has two tracks – top and bottom. Its length is about 12 km each, and its degree of difficulty is 2-4. Other places for rafting are our rivers Arda, Mesta, Iskar.

Rafting on Struma  Rafting on Arda  Rafting on Iskar