In New Zealand, extreme sports have a tendency to multiply. White-water sledging—also called riverboarding—combines Boogie boarding, kayaking, and white-water rafting into an aquatic thrill that allows you to swim right through the middle of raging rapids. See below for ways to participate in this unforgettable activity.
What is White-Water Sledging?
With the help of a specially made board for rivers, white-water sledging lets sledgers experience the river’s every move as it undulates, splashes, sucks, and spits its way through gorges and canyons. Surf a standing river wave as it flows upward over the rocks, and get dunked down into the icy cold waters at the mercy of eddies and currents.
Where to Go
On the North Island, outside Rotorua, the Wairoa River offers Class V rapids, while the Okere River swirls thrill-seekers of all ages and skill levels alongside the Kahikatea Forest. On the South Island, the Kawarau River between Wanaka and Queenstown boasts rapids such as the “Maneater,” which is sure to provide an aquatic rush of adrenaline.
When to Go
Thick wetsuits are provided for sledgers as a way to stave off the chill, but most tours skip the freezing waters during winter months. No previous experience is necessary, just confidence in the water and in your expert guide.