Obviously we think rafting is the most fun you can have on water, but with 2020 being as it is, we asked ourselves “what are the top 3 non-rafting activities we could otherwise be doing in 2020”. White water rafting involves an inflatable boat, a team of people, and (when not racing) a guide. And therein lies the problem of rafting in 2020. Social distancing requirements around the globe have meant it’s difficult (or sometimes impossible) to fit so many people in a raft and remain compliant with local government or health rules.
Once the pandemic ends, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to go rafting, whether you’re a beginner to the sport or you’ve racked up many a river! In the meantime, to get that water based fix, we’re listing our top three non-rafting water sports. Whatever you get from water sports – whether it’s the thrills and spills of river rafting, the full body workout, or just that boost from being out in nature, these three sports can (hopefully) temporarily fill a hole. Let’s check them out.
Stand up paddle boarding
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get your water fix, stand up paddle boarding could be the sport for you. The beauty of this chilled out board sport is that you can do it anywhere, whether that’s a river, on the beach, or on the flat waters of a lake.
For those who are just starting out, you’ll need lots of space from the boards around you – making it a perfect way to social distance. As you get to grips with how to balance on your board, take in your surroundings and enjoy the relaxation that you get from nature.
Take it to the expert level and go fishing at the same time! Check out why fishing from a SUP may just be better than kayak fishing!
More experienced white water enthusiasts might find SUP to be quite tranquil in comparison with what they’re used to, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, you could try SUP surfing which is not only one of the most exciting ways to use your SUP, but it also burns somewhere between 700 and 1,000 calories an hour, giving you a great workout.
If you enjoy the social aspect of rafting, it’s not that hard to find that with SUP too. Many seaside towns have their own SUP clubs which you can join and take beginner lessons or head out onto the water in a Covid-safe way.
International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised as the world governing body for SUP at the Olympic level.
Open Water Swimming
While you could head to your local swimming pool (if they’re back open), there are a couple of reasons you might be hesitant to do so. Since swimming is a low-impact exercise, it’s a really easy way to get back into exercise after months of not doing much. The other reason for not going to a swimming pool is that you just don’t get the element of nature that makes rafting so great.
Step forward open-water swimming. Whether you do it in a lake or the ocean, you’ll be invigorated in a similar way to how you would be from rafting. There is a long list of health benefits to be gained from open-water swimming too. Like SUP, it improves your mood and helps with anxiety and depression – even weight loss if you do it often enough with the right intensity.
While the water may seem freezing at first, you’ll be burning more fat as your body works hard to warm up. Before going open-water swimming, be sure to check that where you’re planning to do so is safe. It’s not just ocean currents you should look out for, but blue-green algae in lakes and rivers.
Open water swimming can be done solo or as part of a group. If done in a group, you’re likely to find safe spots for swimming more easily. Just be sure that the group is small enough to be Covid safe!
The third and final alternative to rafting you could try is best if you live near the sea (or at least are travelling there). Snorkelling can almost be looked at as an extension of open water swimming. However, you will be spending longer suspended in the water admiring the marine life and plankton surrounding you.
Snorkelling requires little equipment (just a snorkel, some goggles, and a swimsuit is enough to get you started) but gives back huge rewards. It’s also a great water sport to try with the family – children and adults alike will be blown away by seeing fish, plankton, and other sealife in their natural habitat.
Final thoughts on the top 3 non-rafting activities to try out in 2020
The three sports listed above will help you to get some of what you enjoy about rafting, while also giving you a new experience. The key thing is that you can do these sports alone or in a small group, so as to be Covid compliant and minimise risks.
To scratch your rafting itch while you’re waiting for your local rafting team or centre to get back up and running, check out our website, and social media where you can keep on top of the latest rafting news and views.
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