On most trips, our guests can choose to be in a paddle boat or an oar boat. As the vast majority of people prefer paddle boats for Rio Grande whitewater adventures, we will assume that's what you want unless you request otherwise.
A paddle boat is powered by the crew under the instructions of an expert guide, who rides at the back of the raft with an extra-long paddle. You become part of a precision team; the more synchronized the paddlers, the better you'll be able to power the boat through the rapids. The guide is the steering wheel, calling paddle commands; the team is the motor. You must be prepared to paddle in earnest; in a paddle boat it's vitally important that everyone works hard and pulls together.
An oar boat is rowed by the guide with long oars. The guide may sit in the middle of the boat, or at the back. In an oar boat, the guide is in full control of the boat, and nothing is required of you other than that you enjoy yourself! You can choose to paddle, which is called "paddle assist," or you can just kick back and take in the scenery, leaving your hands free at any moment to hold on.
Oar boats are standard on Chama overnights, the Orilla Verde float, the Sunset Dinner Float, and the Native Cultures Feast & Float. We also use oar boats to carry the gear on Taos Box overnights. If you think you might prefer an oar boat on any of our other adventures, please say so at the time of booking or call us any time up to the day before your trip.
Funyaks, also known as duckies or inflatable kayaks, are miniature rafts which you paddle with a double-bladed kayak-style paddle. They can be single (one person) or double (two people). They are surprisingly stable and easy to maneuver. You can learn to paddle one your first day on the river. All funyak trips begin with a comprehensive lesson from your guide, who accompanies you down the river, showing you the lines through the rapids and giving you help whenever you need it. The guide may be in his/her own funyak, a kayak, or a raft.
Funyaks are available at suitable water levels on the following Rio Grande adventures:
We also bring funyaks on Chama overnight adventures.