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Whitewater rapids are rated on a scale of one through six, indicating the difficulty of each rapid at "normal" water level. The scale is a subjective one. While rapids are individually classed, rivers are given an overall classification that takes the whole stretch of river into account. As an example, the wilderness section of the Cagayan de Oro River has lots of Class IV rapids, but the overall classification is Class III and III+, indicating that a rafter with strong Class III skills would find the challenges within his/her abilities.
- Class I: (very easy). Generally, fast moving water. Waves and riffles are small or nonexistent, passages are clear with few or no obstacles, and little maneuvering is required. Lazy floating.
- Class II: (easy to moderate). Small-to-medium-sized regular waves with some obstacles. Some maneuvering is required but passages are clear. Splashy and fun!
- Class III: (moderate to exciting). Numerous waves that are bigger and a bit irregular with currents that can be tricky. Obstacles require maneuvering, but the narrow passages are generally straightforward. Scouting from shore is recommended and usually required. Big splashes and exciting rides!
- Class IV: (exciting). Longer rapids with powerful waves and strong currents. The passages are boulder-choked and require precise maneuvering. Scouting from shore is mandatory. Exciting and challenging for all.
- Class V: (difficult). Massive waves and violent rapids, often following each other without interruption. Big drops, violent currents, and extremely congested channels that require complex maneuvering. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. This is maximum intensity rafting! Cagayan de Oro River Tours does not run trips at this level of difficulty.
- Class VI: (the limit of navigation). Rarely run, or generally considered unrunnable; a definite hazard to life and limb. Cagayan de Oro River Tours does not run trips at this dangerous level of difficulty.
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