3 Tips to Nail the Whitewater Raft Stage

Here are my top 3 tips to put you in the best position for nailing the whitewater rafting stage – even if you’ve never rafted before.


Whitewater rafting is a bit difficult to train for specifically, but anything you can do to improve your upper body and core strength will go a long way to helping you paddle strongly on the day. It can be as simple as doing press ups and planks at home while you’re waiting for the jug to boil. Maybe there are circuit training or box fit classes you can join in your area. If you kayak or swim this is also great for upper body strength.


There is a technique to whitewater raft paddling. I’m no expert, so I can’t tell you exactly how it works, but essentially you want to use your entire upper body to paddle – not just your arms. Correct paddle technique will prevent the “Oh wow, my arms are going to fall off!” feeling. A quick Google or Youtube search along the lines of “whitewater raft forward paddle technique” will help you figure out how it’s all supposed to play out on race day.


Let’s not forget that as well as the raft stage itself, there is normally a short run from the start line to the rafts. In previous years it has been between 1 and 4 kilometres – all in a wetsuit. Running around the block in a wetsuit to train for this section probably isn’t appealing. But I would recommend spending some time moving around in your wetsuit – even if it’s just some raft paddle simulation in the living room while everyone else is out. It’s better to discover now what’s uncomfortable rather than having problems with rubbing and chafing on race day.


There will be two teams on each raft. It’s a great chance to meet new people and have some laughs. However, if you’re super competitive you might want to join forces with another competitive team for the raft stage. Some ladies are out there purely for fun and that’s fine – they just might not want to paddle as hard, or as much, as you. Joining up with a team that’s on the same page might avoid some frustration and help keep spirits high.

The raft section is an absolute blast and it will set you up for a fun day out. Go forth and discover your awesome inner paddler!

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