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For all you adventure types out there! The low down on hydrospeeding in Pucón

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hydrospeed [hʌɪdrə(ʊ)spiːd] noun

a sport or leisure activity that involves jumping into fast-flowing white water and being carried along at high speed while buoyed up by a float.

Sounds pretty exciting right?

Alongside the dozens of other adventure activities available in Pucón, hydrospeed is the perfect addition to your list. Only for those who don’t shudder at the thought of immersing their whole body in fast moving river water, hydrospeeding brings many laughs, a definite adrenaline rush and just a handful of bruises!

The options in Pucón take advantage of the Liucura or Trancura rivers, depending on the season and the water level. The Liucura offers a 12 km descent of mainly Class III rapids, while the Trancura is a 14 km route with some Class III+ rapids thrown into the mix. To be honest, from an amateur point of view, the difference between a Class III and a Class III+ is hard to define when you are actually on the river holding dearly onto your body board style float. Don’t try to choose between either of the rivers, go with the safest option according to the time of year and get on with enjoying this crazy adrenaline water sport.

Hydrospeed is the European name for this out of the ordinary water based option. Also known as riverboarding (USA) or white water sledging (New Zealand), the concept is to lie flat over your foam body board using the fins on your feet for propulsion and steering. The high-flotation style board is designed for optimum buoyancy and is much thicker than a traditional ocean use body board. It also has two handles cut into the front of the board allowing you to easily hold on, even with cold fingers!

hydrospeed Pucon 2

Hydrospeeding is believed to have originated in France in the late 1970s where rafting guides looked for additional buoyancy aids to help them safely pass through rapids that their rafts could not descend. Using old mail sacks made from burlap (a type of coarse canvas) stuffed into their life jackets; the guides found that this added buoyancy improving the safety of their descent. During the 80s a guy named Robert Carlson started running rivers using a traditional style ocean body board. Inspired by the quality of his descent, he created his own bigger and thicker version of the board with handles incorporated into the design. Hydrospeed as we know it today was born.

Today there are many operators across the world running commercial hydrospeed trips. As with all excursions involving that certain element of risk, each descent starts with an explanation of the route, what to expect and safety instructions in white waters. The whole trip is around 3 hours in total including the transfer in/out and the descent itself. You will spend approx. 1 hr 15 minutes on the water from where you will enjoy not only the thrill of the rapids and their waves, but also that spectacular scenery unique to Pucón of perfect cone shaped volcanoes peeking through the endemic trees that line the river edge.

panorama Pucon

The activity includes return transport, professional bilingual kayak guide, flippers and full body wetsuit, helmet and the hydrospeed body board itself. You just need to take along a towel, a camera, sun cream, your sense of humor and a good dose of stamina too. You do have to be able to swim to be able to participate and the minimum age is 8 years. In addition, most operators in Pucón have a 2 person minimum for the trip to go ahead.

Sol y Nieve can help you incorporate this activity into your stay along with other options according to interest and budget. Check out the following links to read about some of the other exciting alternatives available for you to take advantage of in our area:

Happy planning!

Skiing on live volcanoes

Husky dog sledding

White water rafting

Villarrica volcano ascent

Thermal hot springs resorts

Huerquehue National Park

Canyoning

How to make the best of 3 days in Pucón

©Sarah White2014-Author’s rights reserved

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Guest Wednesday, 18 October 2017
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