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Cardiff International White Water
Watkiss Way
Cardiff Bay
CF11 0SY

White Water Rafting is taking the world of watersports by storm, as it’s the perfect blend of adventure and exercise. Unsurprisingly, it is also at the core of our offering, so we are experts on all things White Water Rafting. We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the popular sport for this comprehensive guide for beginners and veterans alike:

What is White Water Rafting?

White Water Rafting is a group activity, which involves navigating calm water and raging rapids in an inflatable boat called a white water raft, which can carry between two to eight people on board, depending on its size. With commercial rafting, you’ll have a qualified guide steering and giving commands, but if you choose peer rafting, you’ll be working as a team to navigate the rapids yourselves!

Is White Water Rafting safe?

Rafting is generally very safe, but as with all adventure sports, and especially those in natural settings, there’s always a level of risk involved, as not everything can be controlled. That said, there are a number of ways to make the activity safer and reduce any risks.

Before setting off White Water Rafting, you’ll be given protective equipment including a wetsuit and helmet to keep you warm and protected, as well as a buoyancy aid to keep you afloat if you fall out of the raft.

You’ll also receive a full briefing on how to stay safe on the water, which covers where and how to sit, how to hold your paddle, the safety commands that the guide will call out, how to swim safely if you do fall out, how to pull others back into the raft, and what to do if the raft flips upside-down.

Can non-swimmers go White Water Rafting?

Swimming skills are not a requirement for White Water Rafting. Wetsuits and buoyancy aids provide floatation, so we’re able to offer this activity to non-swimmers and swimmers, alike. We do advise that you let your guide know beforehand if you can’t swim, so they are aware that you may need extra help in the water.

When should I go White Water Rafting?

With the popularity of White Water Rafting sweeping the globe, you’ll be able to find a course wherever you are. In other words, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is – if you’re willing to travel, you’ll be able to raft. After all, the dead of winter in the UK is the peak time for warm weather rafting in New Zealand!

Staying local may prove more of a challenge, as UK rivers are very rain dependent and levels are often too low, which makes commercial rafting challenging. The good news is that there are a range of manmade courses around the country, which offer year-round rafting, as well as a number of dam release rivers, which also provide commercial rafting.

Can you go White Water Rafting in the winter?

Come rain or shine, or whether it’s hot or cold, you can go rafting – just make sure you have the right equipment for the weather. Cold conditions, for example, may require a thicker wetsuit and water-resistant jacket, while hot weather may mean you need thinner or shorter wetsuits.

Where can I go White Water Rafting in the wild?

Wales has a number of beautiful rivers, which are perfect for rafting, particularly in the Brecon Beacons. The river Usk is a prime example, as it offers stunning scenery and rapids ranging from grade 1 to grade 3.

If you’re rafting as an experienced group and you’re looking for steeper, more exhilarating rapids, head to the river Tawe near the Neath Valley. Other popular natural venues for rafting are the rivers Dee and Tryweryn in North Wales. Welsh regions aside, Scotland is probably the best location for natural rafting in the UK. The Fort William area, for example, is packed with rivers like Tummel, which are perfect for rafting.

We strongly recommend using a commercial rafting outfitter, especially if you’re new to the sport, as all these rivers require experience.

What are the requirements for White Water Rafting? And what should I wear?

Rafting is an inclusive activity. Here at CIWW, we offer rafting to people as young as six, and, as long as you’re healthy, it doesn’t matter how old you are!

Each rafting company will have their own requirements, so make sure to check before booking. Standard equipment provided across the board includes shoes, buoyancy aid and a helmet. Additional requirements may vary depending on who you raft with – for example, here at CIWW we also ask everyone to wear a wetsuit.

If you aren’t sure what equipment you need to go rafting with friends, we advise booking through a commercial rafting company first to gain experience. The best way to ensure you’re all safe on the rivers is having at least one commercial guide on the raft, and completing white water rescue training as a team before you set off.

What shoes should I wear White Water Rafting?

The optimal White Water Rafting footwear is either a neoprene boot with a thick sole or a purpose made river shoe/boot. Trainers can sometimes be used as shoes for White Water Rafting, as long as they’re lightweight running shoes or similar (avoid materials that will absorb water and weigh you down).

How do I book to go White Water Rafting?

If you want to go White Water Rafting, the easiest way to get booked in is to give us a call on 029 2082 9970 or email Our team will then take it from there and book you in! We recommend doing this at least two weeks ahead of your visit.

Here at CIWW, we don’t offer drop in sessions, so you’ll need to pre-book. You can choose from Family Rafting, which is perfect for kids aged 6-12 or as a fun activity for families who want to raft together. We also offer Full Speed Rafting, which is a popular option for stag and hen dos, as well as corporate groups.

Classes of White Water Rafting

We have a number of different levels of water we can pump down the course. The 4-6 cumec* is ideal for kids aged 6-12, families and school groups; while 8-10 cumec is a little more exciting – perfect for adults, stag and hen dos, corporate events and over 12s.

*A cumec is a tonne of water per second.

Why should I go White Water Rafting at CIWW?

CIWW has something to offer everyone! With a range of releases for rafting and a team of experienced raft guides, we can guarantee you’ll have an experience to remember.

Our White Water Rafting course includes a number of large waterfalls and other exciting features, which are sure to keep you on your toes, while our well-trained safety team keeps a watchful eye, ready to pull you out if you go overboard.

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned rafter, CIWW is one of the greatest and safest places to go White Water Rafting in Wales!