The Exciting Sport of Hydrospeed

Having survived several white water rafting expeditions in both Europe and America I felt that it was time to move on to Hydrospeed which, for the uninitiated, is rafting without the benefit of the raft! Participants hurtle down the rapids in a wet suit and flippers with only a plastic box resembling a surf board to assist with buoyancy and to fend off any large rocks.  As I arrived at the sports agency on the morning of my trip I was very excited indeed.

The Soča

I was to be taking on a 7 km run down the Soča in Slovenia on a section of the river that I had rafted a few days previously. I was experiencing no nerves at all until my guide emerged from the office and after looking me up and down pronounced something to the effect that hydrospeed was a sport for young people not middle aged women and that I should think carefully about my participation. I thought carefully for about 2 seconds and told him that I was doing it. He made several further attempts to put me off on the journey to the start point but I remained steadfast. On arrival at the start I asked him if he was getting in with myself and my partner, to which his response was “hell, no!” How encouraging, I thought!

Getting Started

After a lengthy period getting into a wet suit we picked up our boards and started to make our way to the water. I promptly discovered that the boards were surprisingly heavy and that it is very difficult to walk in flippers. It seemed to take an age to reach the river but reach it we did at which point we received our instruction. This amounted to a brief explanation of how to turn, several threats about places that we should avoid if we wanted to survive and a last ditch attempt to put me off. Without further ado I entered the river and started downstream.

The Experience

It is hard to explain what hydrospeed feels like. I guess the only way I can describe it is to say that is feels like taking on a bobsleigh run at full tilt with no bobsleigh and many rocks in your path. It was exhausting but highly exhilarating and I loved every minute I was in the water despite several collisions with rocks the size of houses. It was actually the smaller rocks under the water which were the most problematic as I kept bashing my shins and I have resolved that if I try this sport again I will wear shin pads. You are largely out of control when you are in the water due to the extreme force of the river. All you can do is use your board to roughly steer away from hazards and go with the flow .

Congratulations

Hydrospeed probably is a sport best suited to the young but I managed perfectly well even if it did take a few days to recover and my instructor, who had traversed the course in a kayak, commented that I had been one of the better beginners he had seen. That was good enough for me. Heaven knows what the anglers on the banks at the finish thought when I emerged bedraggled and panting from the water. At least I didn’t need them to get me out but I did have a close encounter with one poor gentleman’s fishing tackle as I hurtled past him upstream. He nearly hooked me as I flew past! I will never forget my experience and have booked a return trip for this summer. Watch out Slovenia I am coming back!