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New Zealand: Discovering the Sport of Sledging


If you've ever gone whitewater rafting, you know the importance of staying on the raft. But in New Zealand, some people are leaving the raft at home. Charlene Sarmiento has more on an extreme sport.

From the shore, New Zealand's Kawarau River looks impressive. But wait until you see it close-up.

Instead of a raft, these "sledgers" run the rapids with special flippers and a steerable buoyant board called a "sledge." They say it’s the best way to run the rapids.

River sledger Jacob Bradley says, "The feeling of the river, the force and the power of the river - it's quite addictive, something you thrive on."

At first, instinct tells you to get out of the river before you drown. But sledgers say that once you begin to relax, it becomes easier to control the sledge and move with the flow of the water. Clif Tito explains.

"Instead of fighting against it, you're being one with the river, and its a great feeling to be one with the river - something so powerful as the mighty river,” says Clif Tito.

The force of the whitewater can separate a person from his or her board, which is why sledging does require training and the presence of an experienced guide. Sledgers say that once you experience a river this way, you'll never look at a river the same way again.

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