Rafting and white water rafting are recreational outdoor activities which use an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other body of water. This is often done on whitewater or different degrees of rough water. Dealing with risk and the need for teamwork is often a part of the experience. This activity as a leisure sport has become popular since the 1950s, if not earlier, evolving from individuals paddling 10 feet (3.0 m) to 14 feet (4.3 m) rafts with double-bladed paddles or oars to multi-person rafts propelled by single-bladed paddles and steered by a person at the stern, or by the use of oars.  Rafting on certain sections of rivers is considered an extreme sport, and can be fatal, while other sections are not so extreme or difficult. Rafting is also a competitive sport practiced around the world which culminates in a world rafting championship event between the participating nations. The International Rafting Federation, often referred to as the IRF, is the worldwide body which oversees all aspects of the sport.
Classes of white water
Otherwise known as the International Scale of River Difficulty, below are the six grades of difficulty in white water rafting. They range from simple to very dangerous and potential death or serious injuries.
- Class 1: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill level: Very basic)
- Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering. (Skill level: Basic paddling skill)
- Class 3: Small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering. (Skill level: Some experience in rafting)
- Class 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed.(Skill level: Exceptional rafting experience)
- Class 5: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering. (Skill level: Full mastery of rafting)
- Class 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous that they are effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment. Traversing a Class 6 rapid has a dramatically increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or death compared to lesser classes. (Skill level: Full mastery of rafting, and even then it may not be safe) wikipedia