If you are connoisseurs of extreme sensations and are looking for a new challenge while relaxing at one of the Bansko hotels, perhaps rafting is your extreme adventure.
What is this sport?
Rafting is an adrenaline-pumping sport where participants descend on river rapids in inflatable rafts (boats). Depending on the strength of the rapids along the river, difficulty levels are measured on a scale of 1 to 6. (Rafting on a scale of 1 means that the descent is in calm waters, while a scale of 6 means that the descent is almost impossible).
Rafting is a challenging, extreme but at the same time extremely fun sport. Practiced teamwork, which makes it even more interesting and exciting for anyone looking for non-standard, family or team building fun.
Who can practice rafting?
Although quite an extreme sport, with the right equipment and pre-instructed by licensed instructors, white water rafting is a completely safe sport that can be practiced by anyone. There are no age restrictions for practicing it, not necessarily a condition for you to be able to swim well.
Rafting equipment and outfit
As a water-based sport, the equipment includes an inflatable boat (raft) and paddles. Usually boats are made of hippol or vinyl and are 3.5 to 6 meters long and 1.8 to 2.5 meters wide. They are driven by paddles, the number of which depends on the participants in the descent.
The required rafting equipment consists of a neoprene suit and shoes, a helmet and a life jacket.
Where is rafting practiced in Bansko?
Bansko is the ideal starting point for practicing rafting, as it is located near the Struma and Mesta rivers, which are practically two of the three Bulgarian rivers best suited for descending the rapids.
The right time to practice this sport in our country is from the beginning of March to November, so if you are in the Lucky Bansko Hotel during this period, you can safely descend on either of the two rivers.
Rafting on the Struma
If you decide to descend the Struma, you have the option to choose one of the two routes. The upper route starts from Simitli, passes through the Kresna defile and ends at Sandanski. This track is more extreme, longer, and requires you to be more prepared and able to swim. Rafting on the upper Struma Trail is practiced from April to July and from October to November.
The lower route starts at Zheleznitsa and ends at Simitli. This track has a lower scale and is very suitable for beginners in this sport. The right time for white water rafting is from March to June and from August to November.
Rafting on the Mesta
If this is your first extreme riverboat trip, Mesta may be more suitable for you. The descent of the Mesta is more calmly, very enjoyable and gives you the opportunity to enjoy both the extreme sports and the beautiful places you pass. Suitable white water rafting months are from April to July and October to November.
What are the prices for practicing rafting in Bansko?
Depending on the extent and duration of the route, as well as whether the rafting club to which you enroll offer transportation, lunch or an extra trip, prices start at 40- 50 leva and can go up to over 100 leva.
How to sign up for a descent on Struma or Places while in Bansko?
In order to practice rafting in Bansko, you do not need to go to the Lucky Bansko hotel reception and ask. Reception staff will take your details and book the launch for you.
Almost all Bansko hotels (including the Lucky Bansko Hotel) work in partnership with the most popular white water rafting clubs and can provide you with various offers to choose from.
What do you need to know before you get on the boat and take the rapids of the river?
- Rafting is a team sport and you must be in a group of 6 or 8 people to practice it.
- Before starting the descent, instructors must give you a 30-minute briefing to prepare you for the upcoming extreme descent.
- In order to practice rafting, you need to have a neoprene suit, a life jacket and a helmet. Neoprene shoes are recommended but not required. The necessary equipment is provided by the rafting clubs.
- During the descent, do not remove the life jacket, stand up in the boat, and obey the instructions given to you by the instructor.
- Hold the paddle with two hands and try to keep it in line with the other participants in the boat.
- If you are a beginner in rafting, choose a route that is low in difficulty.
Rafting is an extremely addictive and adrenaline-pumping sport that you can practice not only as fun, but also as a competitive sport. Of course, in order to participate in rafting competitions you need to gain more experience, but if you are willing to achieve it.
Official rafting competitions are held in our country, with teams of 2 to 8 people. The racing styles of rafting are sprint, slalom, downriver and head-to-head. Each race in a certain category is given points that determine the final standings.
Every rafting race starts with a sprint. This is an extremely forceful discipline in which the course must be completed in the shortest possible time.
This is what the second racing discipline is called. It launches at the start of two boats that begin the same descent. The crew of the boat, which first crossed the finish line, receives the most points.
Slalom is the most technical discipline in which riders must overcome straight and backdoors for a certain amount of time. This rafting discipline requires both great physical strength and quick response, as well as a very good knowledge of the terrain.
This is the last discipline in the rafting race. It is of the highest duration and requires very good physical preparation and a strong desire for success. At the downstream, the boats start according to the temporary ranking and the boats start at a certain interval of time.
The International rafting federation is the highest governing body in the sport, which is responsible for running competitions and promoting rafting as a sport.
In Bulgaria rafting competitions have been organized by the Bulgarian rafting federation since 1971, the first such competition being held on the Kresna defile.
Today, almost all rafting clubs have racing teams and participate in regional, international and world championships.
In 2007, the women’s team at the Adventure Net rafting club ranked sixth in their first participation in the Lim river international rafting competition.
The following year, the same team won several Euro Cup 2008 trophies – first in the Sprint discipline, second in the Downhill category and third in the Slalom event.
In 2009, the Adventures Net team again ranked second in the World Rafting Championships held in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Bulgarian rafting team also won the first place in the World cup competition, which took place last year in Kosovska Mitrovica on the Ibar River.
As you can see, rafting is not only an extremely popular sport for fun with the whole family, but also a sport in which the racing hush is no stranger.
In recent years, rafting competitions have gained a lot of popularity, prompting the World rafting federation (WRF) to offer rafting to be recognized as an Olympic sport.