What is Riverboarding ? (also called hydrospeed or white waters)

What is that ?​

Riverboarding is an intense sport that requires a combination of river reading, swimming technique and a spirit of adventure. Also known as hydrospeed, this discipline offers a unique experience for athletes seeking to push their limits in the most tumultuous waters. Considered an extreme sport, whitewater swimming is a harmonious blend of strength, strategy and endurance.


This discipline is governed by the Fédération française d'études et de sports sous-marins (FFESSM), the world body that oversees many aquatic sports. FFESSM plays an essential role in promoting and regulating swimming on an international scale. It sets standards and regulations for competitions, encourages the development of the sport and supports athletes in their professional careers.

Nevertheless, the sport, although institutionalized, has developed thanks to adventurers who have set out to discover all the world's rivers.

Where and how to practice?

Like kayaking, riverboarding take place on natural or artificial waterways. Unlike swimming in a pool, Riverboarding requires constant adaptation to currents, eddies and natural obstacles such as rocks and tree trunks. Competitors need courage, dexterity and endurance to succeed.

And from a competitive point of view?

The riverboarding competition calendar is dynamic, offering athletes numerous opportunities to measure themselves against the world's best. Among the most prestigious events are the World riverboarding Championships, held every two years. These championships bring together the best swimmers from each country for an intense and captivating competition.

In addition, regional and national competitions are held regularly, providing a platform for emerging talent and enthusiasts of the sport.

Riverboarding is full of fascinating anecdotes that bear witness to the passion and bravery of its athletes. Louis Lourmais is said to have pioneered the discipline in the late 50s, while paddling down the St. Lawrence River. Equipment has since evolved considerably, but riverboarding continues to inspire incredible stories of courage and resilience, as athletes overcome extreme conditions to achieve their goals.

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