Outdoor Activities held a riverbug event Friday at 3 p.m. Students met at the Outdoor Resource Center next to the stadium and traveled to Henry’s Fork of the Snake River.
A riverbug is a whitewater boat that participants sit in like a chair with their feet in the water. Participants wear fins on their feet and webbed gloves on their hands for propulsion and steering.
The sport originated in New Zealand and has become increasingly popular in other parts of the world, according to Splash White Water Rafting, a European outdoor activity company.
The craft is ideal for negotiating rapids, surfing on standing waves, or just sitting back and enjoying the scenery, according to the Bugs Sports Club, a non-profit incorporated society.
Christopher Morgan, the area director of outdoor activities, said the difference between the riverbug and other watercrafts, like kayaks and canoes, is that people sit in the water, paddling with hands and feet, rather than above the water in a boat.
Scott Hurst, the outdoor resources supervisor, said paddling a riverbug is a physically demanding activity. Participants will experience fatigue and sore muscles from the activity, according to the event Web page.
“Riverbugs can take a good amount of physical exertion, and at the very least, you should know how to swim,” Morgan said.
Hurst said that unlike rafting, riverbugs place people in the water swimming rapids and using the current to drive down the river.
“It is fun because you get to experience the river water and rapids up close and personal,” Hurst said.
Morgan said the fun of the event is the close interaction with the water.
“You are running right in the waves and rapids, rather than on top of them,” he said. “It is a unique and unusual way to run a river.”