Whitewater safety equipment has come a long way from the days when rafters wore makeshift personal flotation fashioned out of whatever was lying around. The technology continues to advance with this latest product. Aptly known as “LFDs” or Leg-Floatation-Devices, these life jackets for your legs are designed to allow the user to swim on the surface of the water and in the correct whitewater floating position.
The risk of foot entrapment is a primary concern of raft guides in the event of a swimmer. These LFDs greatly reduce that risk while promoting correct swimming positioning. The devices, originally developed by longtime rafter and owner of the international whitewater company Water by Nature, have been tested on some of the world’s most challenging rivers including the Zambezi River, The Futaleufu in Chile, The Çoruh in Turkey and the Ahansel River in Morocco.
Ever more intimate interactions with or whitewater continues to lead us out of the boat into the water. With the popularity of sports like riverboarding and hydrospeeding and even the occasional extreme tuber, the LFD may find a market beyond rafting.
Though the Leg-Flotation-Device may not be a must have for the experienced river enthusiast, don’t write it of as a total gimmick, it may be just the thing you’ll need to convince your wife to ride along through the next big rapid.