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WRC 2018
All results

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R4 MenR4 WomenR6 WomenR6 Men

EC Proboj, Serbia
Results; Photos

ERC 2018, Slovakia
All results, photos, videos, etc

Guilin, China
Results; Photos: -1-; Video: -1-, -2-,

EC 2018 Results so far:
MenWomen;

EC Trnavka, Czech
Results: Sprint, Slalom; Photos;

EC Vrbas, BiH
Results; Photos;

more archived Race Results

Franklin River – Australia’s hidden gem

Heading to Australia for IRF WRC Pre-Worlds this year or IRF WRC next year? Why not extend your trip to include Tasmania!

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Australia is one of the greatest gems of the Australian wilderness The Franklin River. This incredible river is no place for the casual adventurer and represents one of the most remote commercially run rivers in the world. The Franklin is typically run as an 8-10 day expedition where the only way out after you put in is either downstream or via helicopter.

The Franklin River flows for 78 miles (125 kms) from the Cheyne Range to the Gordon River through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Rafting trips typically put in for their journey at the Collingwood River bridge,1116 Ft (340m) above sea level, and finish at the Gordon River. Rafters can then either catch the Gordon River ferry at Heritage Landing, or charter a float plane or yacht to pick them up from Sir John Falls camp.

The Franklin is situated on Tasmania’s west coast which boats a much cooler and wetter climate when compared to the east coast. Frequent low pressure systems hit the west coast causing heavy rain, snow, and ice.

The West Coast Range blocks these systems from impacting the east, therefore making the West Coast a rain catchment with some areas receiving over 79 in (2,000 mm) of rain per year. The rivers catchment is large and subject to very high rainfall. As a result rapid rises in river levels may be experienced as much as 3 ft (1 m) one meter per hour in the canyon.

Summer is mild with maximum temperatures averaging between 63 °F (17°C) and 70 °F (21°C), though some days still see 50 °F (10 °C) as the high. Despite snowfall usually occurring in winter, it has been known to fall in the middle of summer.  Continue reading Franklin River – Australia’s hidden gem

The Ubaye – gem of the French Alps

Nestled in the southern alps of France lies the incredible Ubaye Valley and one of France’s premiere rafting destinations. This watershed is famous throughout Europe for its powerful rapids and committing gorges. With its headwaters at the Col du Longet over 8700 feet above sea level, on the Italian border, the Ubaye River is one of the few raftable free flowing river sections left in France.

Often considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, it offers ten sections of class II to class V- whitewater on over 31 miles of whitewater. The Ubaye runs unhindered for nearly 50 miles before it is impounded by the Serre-Ponçon reservoir. Flow on this river varies between 7000 Cubic feet per second in spring to just under 200 CFS in summer. Prime season for this amazing river is typically April – June. Continue reading The Ubaye – gem of the French Alps

Altai white water guide book now in English!

The first complete guidebook about Altai whitewater for kayakers and rafters by Anton Sveshnikov has now being brought out in English!

In this Whitewater Altai guidebook you can find all you need to make your kayak or raft trip in this Russian region:

  • Basic information about region: geography, climate, ethnography, history
  • Valuable information for travellers: getting to, visas, logistic, accommodation, food, money, safety etc.
  • Information for riverrunners: history of exploring Altai rivers, season, commercial rafting, water levels, gear list, how to bring your boat to Altai, safety information, whitewater competitions
  • The main part of the book contains descriptions of 42 paddling sections, with maps and photos.
  • I also compiled short but useful English–Russian phrasebook for riverrunners.

Read more ….

Alexey Shirokov, President of the Russian Rafting Federation, has this to say about the area and the book.

“The infrastructure in Altai is excellent, except in the high mountains. There are no problems with connections, plus the people are friendly and it is absolutely safe for a foreigner of any country.
The books has interesting information.”

Shirikov is the organiser of the “White Water of Siberia – 2018″ Forum whose aim is to promote the Siberian region as well as its excellent white water.

Two month intensive guide course in Nepal

During the fall season of 2018 Lapin Koskikoulu and Paddle Nepal have teamed up to run their first Himalayan River Guide Training Academy. The course will run over 2 months and is open to anybody wishing to travel & explore the rivers of Nepal and learn to become a professional river guide at the same time. Existing river guides & kayakers are also welcome to join us.

  • Start date: 24 September 2018
  • End date: 23 November 2018
  • Venue: Nepal
  • Instructors: Mark Hirst & Nim Bahadur Magar
  • Host Company: Paddle Nepal

The course will be run in the following format.

Continue reading Two month intensive guide course in Nepal

White Water of Siberia – 2018 Forum – schedule is out!

This year will be the third White Water of Siberia Forum (WWOSF) to be held in Siberia – 2016 and 2017 proved very popular and successful (read more about those two events). This should be a bucket list item for all rafters – to go rafting in the Altai region!

The schedule for the 2018 WWOSF is now out so you can set aside the dates and be ready for when they call for participants:

Dates: 20 to 29 August 2018.

On the 20 and 21 August you will be in the Tomsk district for the cultural and sporting part of the forum. The forum’s opening ceremony is in Kopylovo village. There will also be the first introductory and training rafting session, checking participants’ equipment, training of the guide-instructor team, forming the rafting teams from the forum participants, some team building and introduction and assigning of the guide instructors.

Then everyone will participate in the international contest festival “Axe day – 2017” in Zorkaltsevo village. This will be followed by a conference meeting with the legendary Russian traveller – Eugene Kovalevsky. The discussion topic – international tourism and extreme travelling. This is finished off with a Gala dinner.

From the 22 to the 29 August everyone travels to the Altai Republic. Journey through the lake Teletskoe on boats, then the valley of the Chulyshman River where you will raft down the Chulyshman river (Class 4 – 5). You will also take in the Accurum natural border, Katu-Jaryk range, Kurkure Waterfall, Chulchin Waterfall, Kudyrge barrow (the archaeologists revealed a burial complex of more than 60 constructions: fences, stonework, barrows of the 6-7 century AD. The excavations provided a profound material, illustrating the culture and life of the ancient Turk tribes, inhabiting the Chulyshman valley).

There will be a conference about “The ancient history – following the path of the Silk Road.”

Then you will be meeting sportsmen, organizers, spectators and seeing the place of the traditional Russian rafting competition “Ak-Talai-Margaan”, which can be translated as “Challenging the White Water” from Altai language.

There will be a round table of open discussions with the best Russian rafting teams. The main topic of all discussions – Russian sport, and the project of the R6 World Rafting Champs in Russia.

Everyone will then participate in the Russian National Rafting Cup in international rafting teams, formed from the forum participants. Disciplines will be Sprint, Head-to-Head, Slalom and Downriver.

The best part yet – International Friendship Rafting – the final event of the forum, rafting down the Katun River on big rafts from the inflow of the Katun River Ilgumen to the inflow of the Ursul River (3 hours long).

Finished off with a final gala concert, awarding of certificates, gifts and prizes.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WHITEWATEROFSIBERIA/

Contact Alexey Shirikov

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

Adventures in the High Atlas mountains

By Mark Hirst

The Morocco 2017 workshop took place this year on the Ahansal River in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco. This was to be the 3rd workshop I have run in conjunction with Berber Rafting Adventures.

Each year this is one of first workshops I run in early spring to coincide with the paddling season in the High Atlas. Demand for the course has been successfully rising year on year. This year we had participants from Finland, Latvia, France & Denmark.

For 2017, both myself and Yann from Berber Rafting had decided to up the offering and include a Rescue 3 Whitewater Rescue Technician PR certification alongside the IRF workshop. This meant that the students could spend 3 days working through the WRT syllabus learning & practising new rescue skills before putting themselves forward for the IRF assessment.

During my travels I very rarely see guides that are 100% prepared & equipped with the necessary skills to pass an IRF assessment straight away . Normally throw bagging & rope work are the areas where guides need a little coaching before the IRF assessment. By including the WRT aspect before the IRF workshop we are able to identify any knowledge gaps.

After the drive from Marrakesh we settled into our amazing new accommodation provided by our local Berber host, Mohammed, or as he likes to be called, Mo. Mo and his team are all Nomadic Berber people who work each year to accommodate groups of paddlers who travel to the Ahansal River. For the past 2 years Mo has been building his own guest house. I was looking forward to seeing his project 1 year on and I was not disappointed. Our students this year had really nice facilities.

We kicked off the course after dinner on the first evening. After some brief introductions and expectations we started to work through the WRT theory sections in order to lay down a solid safe working platform for the rest of the week.

Our plan was to spend the first 3 days of the course based on the one day commercial section of the Ahansal working through the WRT syllabus. We would then spend the final 2 days running the multi-day section of the Ahansal focusing on guiding & river running skills. We would also be looking at how a multi-day trip operates.

The one day commercial section of the Ahansal presented us with some great teaching venues for the WRT syllabus. This years water levels were on the medium low side so we were able to take full advantage of our environment.

As Berber Rafting operate multi-day trips we planned to carry out some night exercises looking at some basic rescues and poor visibility search exercises that could be encountered on a multi-day trip.

The final 2 days were spent on the multi-day section of the river. During the multi-day section we got to concentrate on river running skills and communication. The group got to practice some lining skills as a few of the rapids had low lying Berber bridges on them which meant we were unable to paddle underneath them.

The Ahansal is a low volume technical river. To make our trip run a little easier we opted to paddle light rafts and send our multi-day equipment to the camp by mules. It was nice to arrive at camp and have it already set up. This gave us the chance to unwind, have some food and enjoy our surroundings.

As we made our way down the river we had the time to work on the IRF Safety Craft certificate for our kayakers. We also stopped off and ran some group rescue scenarios. The workshop was finished off with the flip drill test before the drive back to Marrakesh for food and cold beers.

Congratulations to all,
Mark

 

Over the border and back to the snow

By Mark Hirst

Finally, having been on the road delivering courses since late March, I got to spend some time at home in Finland. June 5th -11th had been in my diary for months for a 7 day IRF Guide Training Program combined with a Rescue 3 Europe Whitewater Rescue Technician Professional course based at the ideally located Basecamp Oulanka, on the shores of the beautiful Kitkajoki River, in the land of the Midnight sun.

I arrived home in the south of Finland for a few days rest before the 9 hour drive northeast to Basecamp. This gave me time to make some lesson plans and prepare for the workshop. Miia told me to check the weather so I happily fired up my trusted weather website www.yr.no to check the weather. Doh! -1 degrees and snow, it was June for crying out loud as I reached for my dry suit & extra thermals.

The course was based just outside the Arctic circle in the village of Juuma. June in Finland is normally the beginning of summer and most of the snow and ice have melted. The rivers are at ideal levels and we are blessed with the Midnight Sun. During the drive North I realised this was not going to be the case. All of the lakes were still frozen & there was plenty of snow around still. The forecast for later in the week  was for highs of +25 degrees and sun. I thought to myself I won’t hold my breath!

The guys at Basecamp Oulanka had given me a really nice room and I unpacked my kit and prepared myself for a scouting  trip the next day.

After a quick breakfast I threw on an extra set of thermals under my drysuit and met Henri, the host for the workshop. We were also joined by some of the course participants as this was going to be the first trip down the river of the season. So not only did I need to re-familiarize myself with the Kitkajoki, we also needed to see if the winter had made any changes to the river. Before all of this could happen we had to break a trail through the ice on the lake in order for us to get to the river. Easier said than done!

The commercial section we were to paddle today was called the Wild route, a short section around 5km in distance. The trip begins on the Juuma lake and then makes it’s way down the beautiful picturesque canyon with the Myllykoski rapid, class 2+, and the amazing 900m long Aallokkoski rapid before a compulsory portage around the Jyrävä waterfall. The trip normally lasts for around 2 hours. One of the unique points about this run is that the trip almost completes a full circle leaving a 15 minute walk back to the base so no return transport needed as its’ all done on foot.

The checkout run went well, we even got to see an impressive snow bridge over the Jyrävä waterfall.

This weeks course was going to present me with 6 trainees & 2 trip leader candidates one of which (Nathan) had travelled all the way from Singapore to attend the course. The  course progressed the following way:

Day 1

The ice had slowly been melting so we had a bigger pool to practice our basic paddling techniques & commands. I am a big fan of spending some time on the flat water for the first day of a guide training programme. I feel it gives the students a chance to feel how a raft moves before you take it to the moving water. We also looked at safety talks before we got on the water. I delivered 2 examples of a safety talk. One of which was completed in silence to emphasize that actions speak louder than words. We then took to the Wild route to look at basic guiding and moving water skills. I got to test the skills of the 2 class 3 trip leader candidates (Nathan & Henri) on the Aallokkokoski section and they both did a really good job. The homework for day 1 was to learn the IRF river signals. I noticed them practicing these well into the night.

Day 2

After watching Henri & Nathan give some really solid safety talks we took to the Wild route. The guides were starting to grow in confidence which was heartening to watch. A visit from the local press in the afternoon gave us the chance to look at swimming skills. Having spent 8 seasons working in Iceland as a guide I thought I was accustomed to cold water but I noticed that the water was freezing cold and I was happy that all of the students were in Ursuit drysuits. I made a mental note to myself to soften up a little and maybe start to use some neoprene gloves in my old age. That thought lasted as soon as I watched someone try to pack a throwbag wearing gloves. The local press were really interested in the course and produced an amazing article. Day 2 homework = safety talk planning.

Day 3

Off to Russia we go. The logistics on the Kitkajoki are not easy, every few days the guides need to transport the rafts 20km down the river to the nearest road on the border with Russia. I took the opportunity to give the guides as much stick time as possible so I made them R2 in 5 rafts down the river  and this enabled them a full day of stick time. We focused on eddy hopping, ferry gliding & river running strategies. The day started with ghosting the rafts down the Jyrävä waterfall. We stopped for lunch at a small fireplace in the Oulanka national park. The weather was now sunny and +18, the weather had changed at last.

Day 4

The morning session started with the candidates each giving a section of the pre-trip safety demonstration. The candidates had the choice to do this in Finnish or English. I had roped my partner Miia & her mother to be live rafting customers for the students to practice and this turned out quite well. During today I wanted to assess both Henri & Nathan for their class 3 trip leader awards. I set 2 challenging scenarios on the river which both included run away flipped rafts and various amounts of devious carnage. Both Nathan & Henri demonstrated strong trip leader capabilities when dealing with the scenarios, hats off to the guys.

Day 5

Today was the first day of the Rescue 3 component of the workshop.  My biggest selling product this year has been the combined IRF & Rescue 3 workshops and this was to be my 5th one since March. I like to keep both of the aspects separate. This way I can concentrate solely on the core: raft guiding skills on the IRF section of the workshop. I can then incorporate the remaining IRF rescue elements into the WRT component, including swimming, flipping, throw bagging, rope work. Both the IRF & Rescue 3 elements complement each other really well. Next year I am already planning advanced workshops combining WRT advanced with class 4 trip leader &  safety craft.

We spent the day working through the Rescue 3 philosophy, incorporating it into swimming & throw bag sessions and then into more complex situations including rescue harness release & tethered swimmer rescues.

Day 6

Today we looked at shallow water skills along with foot & body entrapments. After lunch we all spent some time on a simulated strainer exercise before finishing the day with a mechanical advantage class where we also completed the IRF rope work test.

Day 7

I was starting to feel it – I have been running course nonstop since March, today I felt as tired as the students looked. Straight onto the water we spent the time looking at 2 point tethered rafts and tensioned diagonals along with line crossing techniques. The weather turned poor in the afternoon so we finished up the course by looking at the theory side of the WRT programme before the IRF written paper & final debriefs.

During the debriefs I wanted to focus on making the students realize that practice practice practice is the recipe for being able to move forward and gain more experience. I look forward to visiting Basecamp Oulanka next year to see the progression of the guides.

In the meantime congratulations to Henri, Nathan, Jessica, Maiju, Tiia, Janne, Markus, Miia, Kaisa & Ilkka, it was a pleasure to work with you.

Many thanks to Miia Komi & Basecamp Oulanka!

Next week my travels will take me from the Arctic to the jungle in Thailand where I will get the opportunity to work some more with enthusiastic raft guides.

Happy paddling,

Mark

Outdoor and Whitewater Fest opens the rafting season in Bulgaria

There is no reason why the rafting season opening should be limited only to the rafting community. The Bulgarian rafting club Adventure net decided to orientate it to a broader public so they invited companies who deal with outdoor activities in general. Focusing on the concept of an open festival, they invited many outdoor and adventure companies, giving them the opportunity to present themselves and exchange experiences and ideas. The festival served to awaken the curiosity of people who have never jumped into a raft or kayak before and to dare them to acknowledge and try different extreme sports and outdoor activities.

The start was given at 10.00 am on 1st April 2017 at the green camp of Adventure net in the Kresna gorge of the Struma River. The Outdoor and Whitewater fest continued throughout the weekend. Various activities were accessible for the guests:  tasting of different local products (cheese, wine, honey and more), provided by the municipality of Kresna town, the trying out of extreme sports equipment, information about the biodiversity in the Kresna gorge. A dancing composition in national costumes and a folklore orchestra from Kresna town provided for the joyful mood. Free rafting trips were offered to the representatives of the Bulgarian media, which secured a broad coverage of the event. The companies, presenting their products or services at the festival, were also offered a free rafting tour. Part of the morning program was the speech of the most popular Bulgarian climber in high mountains, Boyan Petrov, who presented the problems of the future plans for the construction of a highway, passing through Kresna gorge. The ecologist Andrei Kovachev clarified further that this infrastructural project would cause extensive damages to the biological diversity of Kresna gorge and prompted the participants at the festival to sign the open petition. More than a hundred signatures were gathered on that day for the petition.

Later on during the day the public’s attention was attracted by a team competition in reflip technique – the team who took the shortest time to flip, then reflip the raft, climb into the boat and raise their hands wins. All guests were also invited to participate in different sports activities for free: a climbing competition on a specialised wall, a ride on a longboard, a balancing walk on the slackline and many others. The most gifted participants were awarded with prizes.

The peak of the entertainment was indeed the evening event – a live concert by the rock and grunge band “Saint electrics”.  The dancing mood was kept high until the late hours, accompanied by a DJ set.  In this way the Outdoor and Whitewater fest made a difference in 2017 and will hopefully lay the foundations of a long-lasting tradition in the outdoor and extreme sports sector in Bulgaria.

Looking for rafting company to add Yushu on the Tibetan plateau, China, as their next travel location

Last year a very successful IRF rafting World Cup event was held in Yushu up on Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

It is a great location for rafting with fairly easy logistics and varied options for different levels of rafting. And the region itself has great potential as a tourist destination with plenty of interesting cultural places to visit, stunning scenery and the potential for other adventure activities such as mountain biking, hiking and horse riding.

The Yushu government are looking for global rafting companies to grow the city’s rafting business and contribute to the rafting industry development within the city. Read the full information here.

This is a great opportunity for a company to expand into new territory and to contribute to a wonderful, friendly cities future in the tourism world.

A quote from a top New Zealand rafter: “We were surprised by how beautiful Yushu was and if we had known it was so awesome we would have spent a couple of days longer exploring and maybe even hiking into the hills!”