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The Ciwidey river, south of the city of Bandung, in West Java, has become a favorite destination for Indonesia’s riverboarders, members of the Indonesian Riverboarding Association.
Introduced into Indonesia in the year 2000, Riverboarding was first known in Canada in 1956, and spread quickly to France in 1977, then the United States in the 1980’s. Today, Riverboarding has become popular in rivers that are already known for their white water rafting attractions in Aceh, Bali and Manado.
Ciwidey is an area in the Bandung Regency (the district surrounding the City of Bandun g), which is known for its cool climate, strawberry orchards, and panoramic countryside cut by the Ciwidey river. Ciwidey is best known for its crater named the “Kawah Putih” or White Crater” with its white sand spread out like snow and clear aqua colored lake. The crater lake sits on Mt. Patuha at an elevation of 2,386 meters above sea level.
To go riverboarding, you must be properly equipped. Your gear should include a board, that looks almost like a wide surf board, but on which you lie down on your stomach, face down to watch the flow of the river which you are following. The board also serves to protect you against oncoming objects. Since this is a pretty extreme sport, boarders must wear a wet suit like divers, for protection and to keep warm in the water, you must also wear a life jacket and protective floaters on elbows and knees, a helmet to protect your head, and fins to help you swim. To follow this sport, you must already know how to swim.
Boarding gear are imported from the United States or South Africa, but there are also those produced in Bandung or Surabaya. You should budget for between Rp 2.5 million to Rp. 5 million.
The 20 km long Ciwidey river has a pretty strong current, with many large boulders in the middle of the river, and wide waterfalls of about 1 meter or height slightly more. Only those having advanced grade should venture these waterfalls. In the rainy season the river often overflows its borders. Therefore, it is advised to go rafting or river boarding on Ciwidey during the dry season only.
Boarders usually go in groups. The leader opens the route for the other members to avoid new boulders. When the group is not yet familiar with a section of the river, the leader will walk along the riverbank first to observe the river’s peculiarities. Safety and Carefulness are of the utmost importance.
Ciwidey is also popular for White Water Rafting and other Company Outbound Programs. There are operators that specialize in serving the entire package for Outbound Programs, including professionals to lead rafting and waterboarding, group programs and games. The package should include meals and accommodation.
One such company serving Ciwidey, can be contacted at www.bestropisoutbound.com
To get to the Ciwidey river go to the Pasir Jambu village. This is accessible by road from Bandung . You can drive your own car here, or travel by public bus.