Hydrospeeding, also called riverboarding, is effectively bodyboarding down river rapids. Protective gear is a must, as is a strong swimming ability as you get pummelled and swept down the fast river rapids.
Hydrospeeding is sometimes called riverboarding or white water sledging. You lie down on top of a big chunk of foam that is shaped to fit your body on top. It has some handles for you to hold on tight to. The advantage of the foam hydrospeed over the plastic riverboard is that it doesn’t hurt if you bump into one another going down the river rapids.
Is Hydrospeeding Safe?
You wear a wetsuit to keep yourself warm, but you will get wet. You will also be given fins to steer and navigate in the river rapids, a personal flotation device or buoyancy aid, and a helmet to protect you from rocks. In shallow rivers, you may also wear more body protection including shin guards, gloves, knee pads, thigh pads, and elbow pads.
Video of Hydrospeeding in France
After a lesson in calm water on how to steer, stop and work out the best route down the river, you follow your guide down the river rapids. Your guide will work out your ability and teach you how to duck under the water, surf the waves and spin around.
Hydrospeeding trips typically take about two hours. The minimum age for hydrospeeding is usually 14 years old, because you need to be a good strong swimmer. All participants have to be able to swim at least 25 metres unaided, and be confident in water.
Where to go Hydrospeeding
Some of the best places to go hydrospeeding include the French Alps (Chamonix, Morzine), the Dolomites in Italy, or Chile in South America.
If you don’t want to travel across Europe, you can go hydrospeeding in London at the Lee Valley Water Park.
Rafting and Hydrospeed in France: Arc 1950 (www.arc1950.com)
Action Sports Resort Arc 1950 in the French Alps where specialist operator Spirit1950 is based, offers a range of activities for children aged 8+ incl rafting and hydrospeed down the Isere river from Aime or from Bourg St Maurice to Gothard, accompanied by a guide. Over two and a half hours travel around eight kilometres down stream.
The company grade their rafting and hydrospeed sessions like ski runs with the easiest, green, available for children aged eight or older, for the more challenging blue descent kids needs to be 12 and up, for more difficult still red runs 14 and for the toughest of all, black, 15 years or older.