“You become part of the water and as you ride through the currents, you see this incredible movie around you, vegetation, foliage, the sky… you straighten your body, raise your hips, and to monitor rocks on the bottom, you lower your heels just a little because you never lower your feet: you can get caught in a strainer and that can be mortal. Your hands are your propellers… but I can give you important tricks if you Explore with me”. Mimi Ortiz has the energy of a young adventurous kid and the knowledge of a women immerse in nature all her life. Although she doesn’t like to talk of her achievements, this pioneer of adventure sports and the first women hiker in Puerto Rico and also propelling body rafting. “The river and I have respect for each other. One learns when to raft it or leave it alone, because he is mad”.
How did you start to surf a River?
“I started to explore rivers with friends. They would jump from rock to rock. One day I decided to go down the waterway. First I assessed it from outside. I would throw a stick down the current and watch towards were it floated, were it sunk. There were no waterfalls, so I floated on my back with my body very straight, moving over rocks at the bottom. I got a super ride, navigated the current while I caught sight of the spectacular…canons, enormous trees, and a beautiful bird that followed me from branch to branch”.
Did you name this new sport?
It was a friend who told me: “Dude, you have just did a new technique to enjoy the rivers, using your body as a raft…”
That’s how body rafting was born in Puerto Rico, an aquatic modality that requires techniques with your
hips, legs, and hands, and that Mimi shows in her expeditions with EXPLORA, the new multi adventure enterprise in Puerto Rico.
INCIDENTS AND FRIGHTING MOMMENTS
There is always some danger in all adventure sports. You should have some stories…
“Aha. Getting ugly hits in tricky currents, getting tied up in strainers and scary moments during swells, I had to improve the technique and use appropriate equipment: I always use helmet, life jackets, knee and ankle protectors and even wet suit”.
Mimi, who is now a Rescue Instructor for Rapid Waters, studied Environmental Science at the University of Puerto Rico. She is a Geology and Hydrology fan, and studies watershed behavior in the Karso zone. What a thrill….
“Imagine you empty a river. What would you see? A canal full of obstacles: rocks of all size, sand banks… Water travels with great force through that obstacle course and you can learn how it moves when it comes in contact with them. Its velocity and its dangers, you can drown very easily if you don’t understand the hydrodynamics of the river”.
In Explora you learn about rivers in the Karso: superficial and underground. “You understand how water travels, from the point where it falls in the high mountains of the Central Mountain Range and moves down through the Karso on its way to the sea. We love body rafting and we make sure you learn two things…”.
Which? “The value of clean water: which you should defend on your Island, and how to navigate with your body in a river, respecting it when he is very mad”.