Race Results

Results: OW, OM, MM, U23W, U23M, U19  ; Photos: -1-, -2-, -3-, -4-, -5-, -6-; Videos.

WRC 2017

EC 2017 Overall
R4: WomenMen.
R6: MenWomen

more archived Race Results

Twitter feeds for #irfwrc

Nikki Kelly voted as Chair of the new IRF Athlete’s Committee

One of the recent changes to the IRF Bylaws was the addition of an Athlete’s Committee, and the Chair of this committee would be a member of the Board of Directors (BOD).

This first committee, as per Bylaws, was appointed by the BOD. From next year on this committee will be voted for by the athletes themselves.

The 7 members then voted for who the Chair would be. Here is the list of members of this committee and here are their bios:

  1. Nikki Kelly (Chair)
  2. Ales Danek (Vice-Chair)
  3. Fieke Reijntjies
  4. Ine Skjorten
  5. Lucas da Silva
  6. John Ancito
  7. Keita Yagisawa

Well done to Nikki and we look forward to seeing what this committee can achieve for the athletes – as a new committee they have the daunting task of getting everything off the ground. Any athletes who would like to make suggestions to this committee can contact Nikki directly. Here is a link to Nikki’s acceptance video for the International Whitewater Hall of Fame award.

As per Bylaw 47 – the duties and election of the Athletes’ Committee is as follows:


  1. To represent the athletes in the sports related decision making bodies of the IRF.
  2. To act as a mediator between active athletes and the IRF Organisms.
  3. To represent the athletes in sport related meetings of the IRF Administrative Committees and Sub-Committees.
  4. To form the official opinion of the athletes concerning actual issues and to pass resolutions of the athletes.
  5. To work for the athletes’ representation in the IRF Member Organizations.
  6. To appoint when necessary, a spokesperson to represent the athletes during IRF Competitions.
  7. All proposals by the Athletes’ Committee are ratified by the IRF Board of Directors.


  1. Three (3) representatives from the European Region, two (2) representatives from the Pan American Region and two (2) representatives from the Australasia Region elected by athletes from their respective regions.
  2. The election shall take place during the IRF World Championships.
  3. The election process and the counting of the votes will be monitored by an independent individual.
  4. The Athletes’ Committee Chair is elected from amongst its elected members.
  5. IRF Member Organizations will be informed about the election three (3) months prior to the World Championships, and the candidates must be presented to the IRF at least 30 days prior to the World Championships.

Is the colour of your helmet important?

Iceland 2010 Godafoss waterfall – “Mark fu@k!n go get him!” … Me: “I would if I could bloody see him!”

We were a group of kayakers (all raft guides too ) taking a day off and paddling the famous Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland.

For those who don’t know Godafoss, it is a horse shoe shaped waterfall with multiple lines, ranging from 3m to 12m in height. A popular tourist destination, the ultimate park & huck spot I would say.

Spot the swimmer – IRF workshop Thailand 2017

We had been warming up on the small 3m drop when we noticed 2 kayakers  on the opposite bank lining up to run the 12m drops. We watched as the first kayaker ran the fall pretty cleanly. The second kayaker ran the fall quite quickly afterwards and went deep. Counting in my head  I knew that once I had counted past 6 there was trouble. As he had failed to re surface I felt the adrenaline starting to kick in as I took the calm-down breath all in the same second

Although we were not with the other kayakers we were their only possibility of rescue for at least the next 6 hours. There are not many water rescue teams in Northern Iceland.

Both myself & Karu, a Nepali kayaker jumped into our kayaks and went to try and help. The kayaker had been missing for around 5 minutes by the time we got to the bottom of the drop. I remember shouting  to Karu as we paddle across the pool “Don’t rush in, lets take care of each other’ s safety first.”

We both paddled to the PLS (Point Last Seen) and saw nothing. I looked up to literally see hundreds of tourists reaching for mobile phones to make emergency calls. I tried to remember what kit he was wearing. I remembered seeing a black jacket and a white helmet. (Not much contrast with whitewater and black rocks.) I could not get any type of visual reference.

Isere River France 2016 – the white helmets are hard to see in this environment

Eventually we heard a scream from behind the drop as he jumped out from behind the fall where he had been trapped. The panicked swimmer grabbed our kayaks and we towed him to safety (phew). I was right – white helmet & black jacket.


Working as a guide & safety kayaker over the years I have been involved in lots of rescues of swimmers both from rafts & kayaks. The amount of times I have said to myself that I cannot see them mainly because of the colour of there helmet is huge. From my own experience I have noticed that there are a few colours that are hard to see in moving water they are.

  • Bosnia 2017 The Blue / Green helmet is hard to see


  • Black
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Grey

My question is why are the manufacturing companies using these colors. I have found that the following colors are much easier to see and track when chasing a swimmer through big water.

  • Orange

    Tara River 2017- much easier to see.

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Pink
  • Luminous green / yellow.
For those that work around the emergency services we tend to know that the colour of your helmet represents the level of your training.
  • White = I/C or person in charge.
  • Red = Technician level  trained.
  • Yellow = Responder level trained.

A really good trend I am starting to see within the commercial rafting industry are companies using   different color helmets  for customers with certain needs, eg:

  • Red helmets for non swimmers or nervous customers.
  • Orange helmets for customers with medical conditions

Isere River High water 2016

This way guides & safety kayakers are able to help the above mentioned a little quicker in a situation if needed.

Of course the colour of the helmet is great during the daylight but what happens if you get stuck out on the river once it becomes dark ? How are you going to see your friends & customers?

For a few years now I have been providing students on my courses with branded  SOLAS (Save our Lives at Sea) stickers. SOLAS material is highly reflective and recognised

Example of the stickers I’ve had made

by coast guards and marine industries all over the world. Stickers can be purchased from to your own custom design.

Next time it comes to purchasing a new helmet take a second to think about not only the design but the colour too.


Mark Hirst

What’s the point in promoting women in paddlesports?

Women have been raft racing since Project Raft on the Chuya River, Siberia, in 1989. The Amazonkis Team from the USA were the first to pave the way and show how it’s done. Women in rafting have come a long way since our very own IRF Secretary General was told by a well known paddler at a Zambezi Rafting Festival in 1992 that their women’s team (the only one there) were taking on more than they could handle and would end up being helicoptered out. Instead they placed 16th out of 32 teams! There are women’s teams from most countries competing in IRF competitions now. So what’s the point in hosting an event named after and in aid of women in paddlesports? Surely they don’t need their own event!

Continue reading What’s the point in promoting women in paddlesports?

Pre-WRC Australia 2018 – Info letter #1

So many beautiful competitions are waiting for us in the 2018 season, and one of them is Pre-WRC Australia (9 – 13 May 2018).

As Australia are the hosts for the 2019 World Rafting Championship R6, the Pre-Worlds are done one year before as a big test for the organisers and a great opportunity for the competitors to get to know the river through a competition. The organiser will be able to test their organisation skills, transporting of competitors, boats, accommodation, food, logistics, and so on ….

To help you with your planning here is the first info letter for you, so that through this letter you will get to know all the information you need to get a better picture of where you will be going for WRC 2019.

The Australian Rafting Federation invites you to the Pre-WRC to compete, socialise and enjoy your time in Australia. The Tully River and Tropical North Queensland are waiting for you. 😉

Official organisers’ Facebook page

See you in Argentina from 4 – 10 November 2018

We have a date for the next WRC R4 competition. From 4 – 10 November 2018 Argentina will host the best rafters from around the world.  It’s time to reserve tickets and start planning to go to beautiful Argentina.

We know that most countries have already selected their representatives to take part in this competition, therefore, paddle in the hands and in the training – you have enough time to prepare yourself well for this competition.

Natural springs coming from the Andes Mountains in Moquehue, flow into Moquehue and Aluminé Lakes in Villa Pehuenia. Pure running water passes by Lonco Luan and Aluminé and become the tributary of Aluminé River together with the Ruca Choroi River, rivers where WRC will be held. That’s why we can hardly wait to visit this beautiful country, to meet again with rafters from all over the world, compete for the title of the best, make a new friends, hang out ….

Official Facebook page

More info here

Results: OW, OM, MM, U23W, U23M, U19  ; Photos: -1-, -2-, -3-, -4-, -5-, -6-; Videos.

See you there!!! 😀

Struma River (Kresna Gorge) needs your support

Rafting in Bulgaria is currently at risk of no longer being possible. Plans are in play to create a motorway across the only section of the Kresna Gorge suitable for competitions, amateur rafting and other white water disciplines.

Voice your concern by signing the petition!

The current plans involve a motorway connecting Germany with Turkey and Greece. Unfortunately, these plans mean building over the most exciting 17 kilometre section of the river.

At risk are a large array of flora and fauna native to the area and rare in the biodiversity of eastern Europe. The area is part of NATURA 2000, home to the greatest biodiversity in Bulgaria where you can find 122 species of butterflies all within a one square kilometre!

There are other options on the table for the motorway that don’t involve impacting this unique area. Your voice is needed to strengthen the resolve of the rafting and white water community.

More info:

Biodiversity Bulgaria – “Let’s save the Krensa Gorge”

European Commission – Daily News – 13/11/2017

Brazil Rafting Forum – March 2018

A unique immersion experience in the world of competitive rafting with multi world champions: Brazil!

The objective of this forum is to share the best techniques of competitive rafting, get to know the environment that made Brotas the world capital for competitive rafting and enjoy the lifestyle and beauty of Brazil’s inner landscape.

DatesMarch 16th-25th, 2018
LocationBrotas-SP, 220Km NorthWest from São Paulo
Participants: Min: 20 – Max: 35
Aimed atRafting athletes, coaches and sports administrators
CoachesMembers of Alaya Competition team, multifold rafting world champions

Registration open from October 1st  to January 31st

Day by day:
Day 1: Transfer from São Paulo Airport GRU to Brotas by van. Check in. Welcome dinner.
Day 2: Morning and afternoon run on Jacaré River.
Day 3: Down river simulation. 1 world champion per raft. Afternoon enjoy Brotas activities: ziplines, waterfalls.
Day 4, 5 and 6: Workshop on competitive rafting. Theory and practice about all 4 disciplines (sprint, H2H, slalom, downriver)
Day 7, 8 and 9: Brotas Rafting Contest. On day 9 closing party.
Day 10: Transfer to São Paulo Airport GRU.

More information:

Or Facebook details here

Big Thank You Miyoshi, Takuya, Daigo and Japan!

Miyoshi City, Tokushima is the gateway to the Yoshino river… home of Japan’s biggest and best white-water rafting. The abundance of crystal clear water combined with amazing scenery and the powerful, challenging rapids of the Oboke and Koboke sections all add up to an ideal setting for race rafting.” – and it was. This was the introduction on Japan’s WRC website – and we can add that the entire ambience, with mountains covered in forest, and the really beautiful Yoshino River flowing through, takes the breath away.


Many federations were introduced into new categories, and it was Mongolia’s first time competing at the WRC competition. There were entire families competing in different categories! And then there was the new generation coming through: “Highlight of my day today … was witnessing the U/19 Slalom medal ceremony, with Mark Treston and Paul Eame’s daughters receiving their medals, one for Team Japan one for Team NZ … and standing beside two very proud fathers and ex-Tully River raft guides … brought a tear to the eye!” – Graham Maifredi. 

Again, we saw flying rafts, an excellent zip-line system to get the rafts from the bottom of the Sprint, H2H and Slalom courses, back to the top, the best solution in the complex terrain.

Safety team

Brasil Open Men equalled two records at this event  – they are the World Champions for the fifth year in a row, the last time this was done was when Slovenia’s Bober team won the first 3 Camel White Water Challenge events and then the first 2 IRF WRC events. And they did it by winning all the disciplines, achieving 1000 points for Overall – the last time we saw this in the Open Men’s category was in 1997 at the CWWC, also by team Bober! It has taken 20 years to equal that record and maybe this one is better as in 1997 it was only 3 disciplines, now it is 4! Japan’s Master Men also achieved the magical 1000 at this event – welcome to the club of 1000 points!!! 

The timing of the event was excellent – with a Typhoon going past 2 weeks before and another 2 weeks after we were quite lucky! These pictures show the river in flood after the event – the road is the one where teams launched for Sprint, H2H and O/M Downriver.

Holding the 2017 WRC in Japan on the Yoshino River was a long time dream for four best friends – Taku Ikeda, Daigo Shibata, Teru Hiko and Mark Treston. They all met on the river about 16 years ago and have been best friends since. Taku and Daigo raced in the same team from 2004 to 2009 where they achieved 10th in 2005, 3rd in 2007, and 2nd in 2009! Since then Daigo has been working as the Japan Race Rafting Association director and has been instrumental in the running of the Japanese championships and other events which set him up as Race Director for the WRC. Taku took on the role of Event Director, Teru was Safety Director and Mark was handling the background logistics for all sorts of aspects. A great team that pulled together a great dream!

A competition is the ultimate product of huge amounts of hard work, behind which is the great work of the team of 4 above and their teams under them, the support of the state and sponsors, volunteers, judges …. we thank you all!!

This story does not end here, it continues to Argentina 2018, Australia 2019… See you there!

Race Rules updates

IRF small logoThe IRF Sport & Competition Committee will shortly be assessing and updating the IRF Race Rules.

The process is as follows:

  • Rule proposals may be submitted only as one of the three possible options. 1) Eliminate a rule, 2) change a rule, or 3) add a rule.
    1. When suggesting that a rule be eliminated, a copy of the rule must be included in the proposal.
    2. When proposing a change to an existing rule, the proposal must include a copy of the existing rule, and the suggested change.
    3. When suggesting a new rule, the submission must include a copy of the new rule written in a rule format.
  • All proposals must include Clear REASONS as to why this change has been suggested.  Submissions without clear reasons will be rejected.
  • All proposals must include the name of the person/organisation making the suggestion, and must come through an IRF member organisation representative or with their written approval.
  • All proposals must be in by the 1st December.
  • All proposals will be assessed by the Exec Com and those which merit further discussion will be presented to the S&C Com for full discussion. Discussions will be conducted on the IRF Forum.
  • After discussions have concluded,  all members of the S&C Com who have been active in the discussions will vote.  The aim is to conclude the voting by 15  February.
  • Updated rules, with all changes, will be published on the IRF website and sent by email to IRF member organizations. The aim is for this to be done by 1 March.

New H2H format tested out at Pre-Worlds

The report back from Pre-Worlds as to the running of the new-format H2H is all good! See video …

Joe Willie Jones is there and had this to say:

“The spectators loved it… a very good show with lots of contact at the buoys. A few surprises … good strategies trumped strength on a number of occasions. Even before the race there was an immediate change as teams carefully scouted the course to plan their strategies.

What made it even more interesting is that Argentina ran their National Selections H2H the previous day – so we had the old and new format to compare in quick succession. It was night and day to compare them on every metric. The difference in the reactions between the two systems was extreme. The old system scarcely got a reaction. The new system had everyone shouting through the entire run. Spectators loved it.

During the Captain’s meeting I asked everyone their opinion of how the two systems compared. All agreed that it was better or much better than before.”

This a great confirmation that this is the right direction to be going – we look forward to the future of the H2H!