What is it like to guide six inexperienced rafters through category-three whitewater rapids?
Rafting has become one of the favorite activities of adventurers at Xavage. What makes it so incredible? The power of the currents, the fun circuit, teamwork; but, above all, our intrepid river leaders: the Rafting guides.
These personalities are key to an unforgettable experience, but behind a twenty-minute journey, there is preparation, perseverance and a lot (seriously, a lot) of sunscreen. This is how our Rafting guides get ready to face the river:
8:00h – Xavage opens its doors, but our fast rivers sleep.
Our Rafting guides meet to prepare everything, before receiving the first visitor. The fifteen rafts in operation are inflated, cleaned and the guides ensure that their area is ready for the day ahead.
9:00h – Daily training.
Performing up to ten daily descents, seven hours a day, not only represents a titanic physical task, but it makes them high-performance athletes. To prevent injuries, our 30 Rafting guides train one hour a day. They do it with team spirit that is difficult to describe, and also with the help of five meals a day. They don’t enjoy routines: one day they can train rescue maneuvers and paddling techniques, the next it could be elasticity and running around the river.
You can feel an environment of great motivation. The charm of the guide Eugenio “Eugene” Parra, from Acapulco, welcomes us. It is the first time that he ventures into the world of Rafting and describes Barracuda rapids as “imposing”. He was certified in the park and admits that every person who wants to be a guide needs to have great courage and discipline.
The guides are certified by the Rafting International Federation specifically for the artificial Xavage rapids – the only one at the destination. To obtain it, each one must complete a minimum of 200 descents. Rowing techniques, rescue times, flipping and unloading rafts, fast river swimming techniques, among other key elements are valued for being certified.
Rescue 3 (R3)
They also gain the R3 (Rescue 3), which enables them to make rescues in whitewater. This way, Xavage managed to form a highly trained team to meet any needs of our adventurous visitors.
Training and certifications are also provided by experienced guides within the team. Celeste Hernández, from Nayarit, is one of them. She was working in an adventure company in San Luis Potosí, where she trained the new collaborators. She also took several courses in Jalcomulco, Veracruz and even volunteered at a Rafting company in Costa Rica. This is her first time working directly with visitors.
11:00 a.m. – Who wants to do Rafting?!
At 10:30 am, the rapids, waterfalls and water jets come to life. Visitors begin to arrive and it’s time to test their preparation and to impact the visitor’s day.
The most challenging moment of the circuit?
Although each guide has its own, this answer seems to be quite unanimous: they call it “RR” (Rapid River), it is the last section of the river and it is filled with obstacles and big currents; You can see the pressure of the river and the calmness completely disappears. It is very intimidating for an inexperienced person.
Celeste shared that the first time she faced it, nerves ran through her entire body: “We had already seen them, we had already trained, I had done Rafting before, but this was new, different.” And although the interaction with people comes as the biggest challenge for her, Eugenio, who speaks French, German, Spanish and English, emphasizes that having a good boding and interaction with visitors is key in the activity: “It’s not just about arriving; it’s about having fun.”
What is it like to guide six inexperienced through category-three whitewater?
This question causes laughter among Celeste and Eugenio.
Here´s what they had to say:
“It’s complicated, but we learn little by little. I once had a group that lasted 15 minutes in the practice section of the river, because they were having a hard time coordinating rowing back and forth. The challenge is to teach it from scratch (almost always), every time a new group gets on the raft.”Celeste Hernández.
“Some visitors don’t row and that can be harder for us. Once we have a good lecture of the river, we can use certain “tricks”: we already know how to grab the strongest waves, use levers and hip movements to anticipate many situations.”Eugenio Parra.
Both guides agree that without a doubt, the most important element required for good teamwork on the raft is; attitude. “If the visitors are cool and are full of good vibes… even if they don’t row, but I like them. They make your day brighter.”, says Eugenio finally.
17:00h – The closing.
The last visitor comes out and it is time to deflate rafts, give proper maintenance to the area and maybe make one last run: Always, always, Rafting!
A notebook filled with visitors’ satisfactions: “Finding your name written in there, is a unique sensation.”
Without a doubt, the best moment of our guides’ day, is reading the comments of the visitors. Celeste and Eugenio share with us their greatest satisfactions as guides.
“Once a boy came with his dad, I was on my way out and the boy started screaming: ‘Look dad, it’s her’ I turned around and they told me: ‘we came two months ago, and you were our guide’ and that was a great satisfaction, to be remembered. It’s only a 20 minutes ride and they still remembered me two months later. It’s cool.”Celeste Hernández.
“At the beginning there were quite a lot of flipped over rafts. The surprising thing is when visitors leave with a small scratch and still write they had an incredible time and that they would totally do it again. It says a lot about the experience.”Eugenio Parra.
Why is Xavage the best park for adventure lovers?
“Because it’s a fearless park, it’s bold and we’re able to fulfill any level of adventure.”Eugenio Parra.
“It’s something different in Cancun and in Mexico. If you’re afraid of heights, it is the ideal place to overcome it in Ropes Course; or simply because it is fun. You have to try it.”Celeste Hernández.