Combining the Extreme Adventure Sports of Whitewater Rafting, Riverboarding, & Skydiving

What do you get when you combine the extreme adventure sports of whitewater rafting, riverboarding, and skydiving? It’s called the ultimate adrenaline rush and Millinocket, Maine is the only place in North America where you can do it all in the same weekend.

Gone are the days of relaxing on a river, taking in the scenery from a comfy airplane seat, or paddling quietly in a canoe. New trends in travel include adrenaline, extreme adventure sports, and pushing the limits. At the base of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak, I found Maine Whitewater River Surfing, Three Rivers Jump and Raft, and the experience of a lifetime!

Rafting the Class V Penobscot River, riverboarding the whitewater rapids, and skydiving from 11,000 feet was the most insane, adrenaline-filled weekend of my life. Whitewater rafting is an ultimate experience by anyone’s standards, but the tough Class V Penobscot River has chutes, drops, and large holes that challenge both guide and guest alike. In exciting rapids like Exterminator, Cribworks, and the Nesowdnehunk Falls, I quickly learned that I could easily be in over my head, but the guides are experts and carefully selected to make the ride both safe and exciting. It is 13 miles of pure adrenaline, yet I still found the time to look up and enjoy the breath-taking scenery that surrounded me.

Before we even left the training waters, one guest paddled himself out of the raft, and we realized that rafting is not all about muscles or size. The white water was in my face and I was soaked to the bone, but I managed to stay in the raft. During the very little down time that the Penobscot has to offer, I took the opportunity to go for swim in the white waters. I left my reservations about fish and other marine life at home and splashed around like a child. After the liberating experience of controlling the waters, there was no time for fear of a few fish.

The Penobscot River has long been a popular spot for whitewater rafting, but now Maine Whitewater River Surfing is kicking it up a notch and giving people a chance to run the rapids without the boat. It’s called riverboarding and Maine Whitewater River Surfing is one of the only outdoor adventure company in New England that does it.

After a day of rafting, my arms were tired and my back was tight, but we set out to reach the shore of the Penobscot and get our first look at the rapids from a boarder’s perspective. There were wetsuits, life jackets, helmets, and even fins to go with the boards, but the view was still intimidating. I didn’t know what to expect. Seeing the water rushing and the white caps foaming looked dangerous; that’s why the trip started with a safety lesson. We learned about currents, and the all-important signals; including the panic signal of waving your arms frantically in the air, which seemed rather straightforward. With the help of guides, Karl and Mike, we finally began to tackle the whitewater.

The first step was to swim across the river against a powerful current, which was not easy; it was more work than fun. The ride down the rapids was intense; as the water smashed against my face and I missed the surf, I became more and more comfortable with the frightening situation. However, there’s really nothing that can prepare you for a wall of whitewater rushing at your head, and while it’s intense; I did it over and over again.

Riverboarding is relatively new in North America and I am now a member of an exclusive club. But jumping off of the raft and grabbing a board was nothing compared to the adventure that lay ahead.

There is nothing natural about falling 11,000 feet through the sky, but I was going to give it a try with Skydive New England Jump and Raft. The pages upon pages of waivers that I had to sign before I jumped only proved skydiving is an extreme adventure sport. I had to sign my life away, watch a video that stressed the fact that I could die, and watch several other people take the plunge before I could jump myself, but the technicalities could never outweigh the natural high of putting yourself in the scariest situation imaginable and confronting that fear head on.

My heart pounded in my chest as I waited for the 20 minute flight away from Millinocket airport. If I thought about it, I wouldn’t do it. I didn’t want to overanalyze the situation. I jumped at the idea of skydiving, but now that I was in the plane, my inhabitations were taking over. But the fear deep in my chest was part of the thrill.

Thankfully, my instructor did most of the work. When it was time to leave the plane, he stood up and told me to step onto the wing. Mindlessly, like a robot, I just did whatever he told me. Breathing became more difficult as we both stood up on the wing and prepared to fall.

My only regret was that I closed my eyes during the first 3 seconds of free-fall. It was the most in control I ever experienced in my life, which is completely ironic since I had very little control of anything. The free-fall lasted over a minute and we reached speeds of around 140 mph! The air felt cold against my hands but everything else was like a surreal dream and I was at peace. I found my home in the skies!

Adventure sports and the pursuit of adrenaline fuelled activities has become an increasingly sought after diversion from the 9 to 5 monotony of everyday life. Many people are embracing what nature has to offer by doing things like skydiving, riverboarding, and whitewater rafting. In the past, many people opted for just one adventure sport, but nowadays most people not only take it to the skies or the river, but they combine the two. Due to the massive uptake of extreme sports, many companies are developing whole new concepts such as Jump and Raft. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Check out other great articles by adventurous bucket list seekers at Bucket List Publications.  

You can win your own skydiving experience at Bucket List Publications. Check it out before March 12th, 2012 and don’t miss the chance to make your bucket list dreams a reality.

48 thoughts on “Combining the Extreme Adventure Sports of Whitewater Rafting, Riverboarding, & Skydiving

  1. Another nice post. Thanks. The guy in the water reminds me of a fishing story. One January I was fishing on the ice-encrusted “steps” (a series of baby waterfalls) on the Salmon River in northern NY. A bunch of obnoxious guys were loudly fishing at the waterfall above us. All of a sudden there was a scream from one of them as he slipped and fell into the icy waters. All of his friends quickly placed their poles underneath an arm and reached inside their coats; I assumed for a rope. What came out of their coats were cameras. They abandoned their friend as the shutters clicked away. Somewhere in New Jersey, I am sure, there is a bar with a bunch of photos taped to the wall showing what a great time was had by all; well all except one.


  2. That sounds great. For the surfing (or body boardng) portion, do people make their way down the river or find a spot that sort of holds them? Like a standing wave? I am still waiting till the day that I get a chance to go sky diving. Soon, I hope.


    • Richard,

      It’s a little bit of both. We found a great drop that we could swim toward and with the right placement, you could ride in the standing wave for awhile. We did swim across the river to get there and we tried a few other spots as well.

      For other amazing, adventurous experiences, check out Bucket List Publications Online Magazine at



  3. well done you! I will be on the East Coast in April for a a few days…maybe I will convince my traveling pal to do something wild! You lead quite an amazing life…love it!


  4. Hello Lesley.

    I’m gonna have to start calling you Mrs. Adrenaline. I saw your shots on your recent post. Pretty exciting stuff. I’m been white water rafting before. It looks like you guys had a good time. Thanks for reading my post about Golden State. I look forward to your next post. Ciao!

    Richard E.


  5. I’ve done whitewater rafting, once and once only, and the crazy thing was, I did it as far away from American soil (and a Western hospital) as you would think — Bosnia. It was, hands down, the most thrilling experience of a decade. The funny thing was, I had no fear. I had no idea what I was in for. The only thing I thought of was protecting my hair. I kid you not, I wore a shower cap. (I see the photos of helmets — there was no helmet-wearing, but probably should have been). The rapids were not too rough, but there were several instances my fear factor was off the charts and I’m sure my blood pressure was too! Life is for the living, and sometimes, you just have to jump in with both feet! Thanks for sharing!


  6. Wow- Well, I guess I have no excuse, since I live in New England. I have never even been to Maine, but I suppose I need to go there sometime. The whitewater rafting has always been intriguing to me, so maybe. — Also, a comment above mentioned coming to the Cape and looking for a hot mineral bath. If there is one, I don’t know of it. (at least not on Cape Cod) I have only lived here just over 5 years, though, so what do I know.


  7. River surfing and skydiving are great fun! I tried both whilst I was in New Zealand in Queenstown and Abel Tasman respectively. Amazing experience!


  8. What a wild time! I’ll take the white water rafting and the riverboarding, but I’ll leave the skydiving to you. That’s not really my cup of tea! I can tell you live the good old American phrase of “Go big or go home!”


  9. I think I would have to one activity each weekend for three weekends, not all three in one! I went whitewater rafting a couple of years ago while staying in the Dominican Republic. That was so much fun, even though I fell out of the raft, got caught in the currents with my life jacket almost completely off, and basically thought my life was about to end; however, I would do it all over again. I definitely plan to go skydiving this year, even though I will probably cry my eyes out! 🙂


  10. What an amazing adventure for you! And the photos are spectacular! I have yet to tackle the latter half of your article with the whole skydiving adventure (it is still on my ‘bucket’ list!) But I did have the opportunity of giving the ol’ Penobscot River a run for its money! LOVED it!!!! My family and I, ranging for ages 13 up did it in June 2011 with Northeast Guide Service out of Greenville, Maine. We did a run what they called “Double Trouble” which included two runs down through “Exterminator Hole” and the “Crib Works.” What a ride!!! And memories that my family will be able to share for a lifetime, I too, recommend it highly as a to-do list…The same that you mentioned, our Maine Registered Guides were amazing, knowledgeable, the service was personalized and the hot, river-side lunch featuring Steak and Chicken, is worth mentioning~It was great fun and we are looking forward to trying our hand and other rivers the offer adventures on with a step up with Class V rapids, Canada Falls, and then hoping to take a more of a kid-group adventure down the more “family’ river, the Kennebec! Thanks for sharing your adventures! So cool!


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