by Shannon Farley
When you hang out with river runners, there are always stories to be told and heard. Talk invariably comes around to the favourite rivers rafted and the rivers still left to be challenged.
That’s how it was for Rafael Gallo, Honorary President of the International Rafting Federation and International Whitewater Hall of Fame (IWHOF) honouree, when he spent 10 days in May at the IRF World Rafting Championship on the Tully River in North Queensland, Australia.
Inspired by connecting with rafting athletes and fellow river runners from all corners of the globe and reuniting with international river guides who have at times worked for Gallo’s rafting company Rios Tropicales in Costa Rica, Gallo reminisced on his list of the most exceptional rivers he’s rafted. He wistfully remembered rivers he’d run that have been lost to dams and deforestation; and he eagerly dreamed of the rivers on his wish list still yet to be explored.
From Costa Rica to Siberia, Africa to America, Gallo shares his personal Top 10 List of the Best Rafting Rivers in the World. He remembers the lost rivers he misses and previews the river adventures yet to come.
Continue reading Top 10 best rafting rivers in the world
Congratulations to Ales Danek who has been voted in as the new Chair of the IRF’s Athletes’ Committee.
Alex is 39 years old, works as a sales manager for Würth. He’s been rafting since he was sixteen and for the last 10 years has been a member of team HIKO, a top Czech raft team, in fact, were the World Champions at WRC 2018 in Argentina and have medaled many times.
He sees this committee as a good opportunity for the opinions and comments of the athletes to be collected and to be voiced within the IRF. He feels it will be positive if the other committees on the IRF will be able to hear from the Athletes what they think and to discuss their opinions and proposals. He believes it will be helpful for the IRF and for rafting in general.
If you are an IRF certified Judge and are keen to Judge at our 2019 European Rafting Championship in Bosnia then please send your details through to IRF Admin.
If you are keen to become an IRF certified Judge then a Judges course will be run during the event as well. Anyone keen to do the course should email IRF Admin
The details are:
Dates: 2 – 7 July 2019 (during ERC)
Place: Rafting Club “Kanjon” Banja Luka
Cost: $US30 to be paid to Instructor on the first day of the course. This is a once off payment.
Schedule and what is expected of you:
- 3 July, 9am to 12am – attend Judges Orientation Workshop with all Judges and Jury
- 2pm to 5pm – attend Judges course run by Judge Instructors
- 4 July, 9am to 5pm – attend Judges course run by Judge Instructors
- 5th – 7th July, all day: work with Official Judges at the event as an Assistant Judge Trainee
- 7th July: write Judges exam. If you pass the exam and the assessment you will be certified as a General Judge.
What you need to provide: A copy of the IRF Race Rules as it is on the IRF website plus the two addendums. Own pens and paper. All accommodation, meals and transport are also for your own cost.
Register: Please let IRF Admin know if you will be attending so we can be sure to include you in any updates and details and have sufficient space for you.
We came to Tame the Tully and we’ve left knowing we now Treasure the Tully.
With deepest heartfelt thanks we’d like to acknowledge all the Tully and fellow Cassowary Coast residents and volunteers whom without, our 18th World Rafting Championship could not have been such a success.
We thought we’d share with you some of the stories teams have been sharing with us about their experiences and adventures in and around Tully.
Airing dirty laundry
Most teams had a team “sponsor” which was a local Tully shop or family who made it their mission to make teams feel as welcome as possible to Tully – there was an amazing team of Tully residents who went well beyond and would take team’s laundry and bring it back clean, fresh and dry (which was a welcome relief after the skies decided that Tully didn’t have enough water!)
Expert level bakers!
A couple of teams were fortunate enough to be the lucky recipients of the expertise of a local 8 year old Tully resident who baked cupcakes throughout the week.
No place like home…
All our safety team were volunteers – most have guided on the Tully or kayaked it over the past few decades. With such a fondness for the river, most of the team had travelled in from far and wide to be part of this awesome event. Aussies will have picked up the twang in the accents of many of the safety team who had flown in from New Zealand. But most notably was one member of the team who was only able to help out for one day – but he lives in Canberra (almost 2500 kms away!) so he flew up to help out for the one day! Dedication to the river and the event! Thank you!
Braving the elements
Something there was no shortage of was rain… and spectators! The opening ceremony saw hundreds of residents and well wishers line the streets of Tully braving the intermittent downpours. The largest cheers were reserved for the deserving Team Australia!
Experiencing Far North Queensland
Whether it was welcoming us into your business, your home, your school or your sport centre. We felt a genuine welcome and thank you for sharing everything with us. The Romanian Open Men would like to give a shout out to Paul Duca for sharing with them exotic fruits from the Tully Gorge!
Traditional owners past, present and future
The Tully River and lands surrounding it have great importance to the traditional land owners and we thank the GALU Traditional Owners Working Group for your hospitality and warm welcome to the region. The welcome to country extended to all our athletes and support crew was well received and we thank you for your well wishes and encouragement for a safe and engaging competition.
A huge thank you also for sharing the River Story with us all – an important dreamtime story that we have taken away with us to share with our own families.
At the end of the gruelling Downriver race, showing true care and respect for one another, the Kiwi U23 Women’s boat raced further forward after crossing the finish line to assist in ensuring the safety of one of the Aussie women who was affected by an asthma attack. Jumping from raft to raft shouting “I’m a nurse” – there was no truer display of the camaraderie and caring for each other in this our river family.
Esther’s and her team
A massive shout out goes to Esther and the whole team of volunteers. Esther’s dedication and welcoming attitude made sure you all had a place to rest, unwind, make new friends and be an important part of this major event. At times, you may have felt like a small cog, but without you, the giant machine would not move and we could not have made this such an engaging and welcoming event. Thank you to each and every one of you.
And so we have now bid farewell to Tully but rest assured residents of the Cassowary Coast, you have made lasting impressions and memories on all of us who came to share and celebrate your river, your land, and your people.
#OneLove #OneRiver #OnePlanet #StrongerTogether
#AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #TreasureTheTully #TameTheTully #irfwrc #Tully #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #exploreTNQ #ttnq #tropicalcoastqueensland #cassowarycoast #wrctully2019 #experienceco #RiverFamily #WeAreIRF
Registration for the IRF 2020 Pre-Worlds Rafting Championship closes this coming Sunday (02nd June). Do not miss out on this world class opportunity to practice on the very river you will be racing on in the IRF World Rafting Championship next year!
Join teams from these countries already registered:
Open Men: Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Japan, New Zealand
Open Women: Australia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, Hungary, Norway, Russia
Remember all you have to pay for is flights, visas and incidentals – the organiser is covering all accommodation, airport transfers, river transfers and three meals a day.
Full details and application form here
#AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #StrongerTogether #internationalrafting #RiverFamily #WeAreIRF
San José, Costa Rica. Under the theme, “Risk management for a prosperous future”, the first-ever World White Water Rafting Summit (WWWRS) will be held at the National Conference and Convention Centre in San Jose, Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019.
The historic event was announced on Saturday, May 18, 2019, during the IRF World Rafting Championship at the Tully River in Australia by Rafael Gallo, Honorary President of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) and President of the Costa Rica Sports Association for Adventure and Paddling (ADAR). The Summit has the backing of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).
The WWWRS will convene experts involved in the regulation, certification and operation of rafting with the mission to modernise rules and procedures of the IRF worldwide. Rafting dignitaries attending the Summit will include Joe Willis Jones, IRF President and Chair of the Board of Directors; Jib Ellison, Founder of Project RAFT (Russians and Americans For Teamwork); and Julie Munger, CEO and Founder of Sierra Rescue International and the Western Regional Director for Rescue 3 International in the USA.
“It was decided to hold the World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica because the country is following a model of cooperation between the government and the private sector for the certification of guides and rafting companies. As well, Costa Rica is an iconic place for rafting in the world due to the beauty of its rivers,” explained Gallo.
Rafael Gallo announces the WWWRS at the IRF World Rafting Championship 2019 in Australia
Costa Rica has positioned itself for many years as a leading tourism destination in sustainability and adventure activities. “We are very proud of the challenge of assuming the headquarters of this Summit, since Costa Rica is undoubtedly the ideal scenario for its extensive biodiversity, the generous endowment of its rivers, and its permanent initiatives to improve tourism,” said Juan Carlos Borbón, Marketing Department of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).
Summit participants will be able to acquire knowledge and share their experiences of the different rafting practices carried out around the world. Additionally, the representatives of government entities and the creators of standards will be informed about IRF proposals on different topics.
Among the topics that will be addressed at the WWWRS are the advances in guide certifications, the latest techniques of swift-water rescue, the environmental risks that can occur in different rivers of the world, and the need to increase knowledge in first-aid and specialise in emergency management in remote wilderness areas. The use of alcohol and drugs among guides also will be discussed.
“Another very important issue that will be discussed is the language barrier between guides and clients from other countries. For example, New Zealand and Australia are seeing an increase in Chinese tourists who are seeking rafting trips, and clear communication is paramount, especially in the case of an emergency,” Gallo explained.
Summit attendance is expected from more than 250 participants from at least 25 countries. For more information:
Today was a test of endurance for the teams competing on the last day of competition of the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championship, powered by Experience Co.
Downriver combines water reading skills and endurance and the Under 19 Australian Men’s team proved they had plenty of both coming over the finish line well ahead of the second team, which was Indonesia, followed by Costa Rica. This clinched the Overall title of World Champions for this young team, showing great promise for the future of rafting in Australia. Indonesia’s second in the Downriver secured them the Silver Medal Overall, with Czech taking the Bronze.
The Under 23 women had a very exciting and close finish, with New Zealand ahead and hot on their heels were Australia who were being hounded by Indonesia. It was a flat out race for the finish line with the home team being urged on by the excited crowd which turned out, despite the rain and slippery rocks. Indonesia had done enough though to seal the Gold medal for Overall, becoming the U23 World Champions. Second was New Zealand and third Australia, who are actually an Under 19 so deserve extra praise for their incredible performance. This continues to confirm the great future Australia has in rafting.
Czech were fairly dominant in the Under 23 Men’s category, winning Sprint, H2H and Downriver which gave them the Gold Medal and title of World Champions. Although Japan took second in the Downriver and New Zealand third, the latters better placements in the other disciplines ensured they took Silver Overall and Japan took Bronze.
Japan’s very strong Masters Men’s team were declined a full scoop of Gold medals by the Czech team who won the Downriver. Japan were crowned new World Champions and Czech walks away with the Silver Overall medal. Australia’s Master Men performed very well in the Downriver much to the crowds delight, and secured the Bronze Overall. In the Masters Women it was Australia that took a clean sweep of all disciplines over Costa Rica, making them the World Champions.
The new Open Women’s Champions are a very familiar team – New Zealand. They’ve taken this spot a number of times before and are one of the most medalled teams in the history of the IRF. Japan’s second in the Downriver ensured they took Silver Overall, with the defending champions, Czech, taking third.
Brazil Open Men reclaimed the World Championship title from the Czechs, a title they have already held seven times before! They did this with a very thin margin of only 7 points ahead of second placed Russia, Brazil having 909 points and Russia 902. Third place Overall was New Zealand who did this by winning the Downriver, ahead of Russia and then Brazil.
And so we congratulate all the new World Champions – Australia U19 Men, Czech U23 Men, Indonesia U23 Women, Japan Master Men, Australia Master Women, New Zealand Open Women and Brazil Open Men – and we look forward to the next clash of these amazing athletes in China 2021.
Today teams showcased their strength, precision and determination on the Tully River as the third day of competition of the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championship, powered by Experience Co. kicked off.
The crowds were booming and the atmosphere was electric as the Open and Master teams hit the Tully River to compete in the slalom discipline. The winner is determined by the team who can navigate the course of slalom poles with the least amount of touches and misses combined with a fast time. Competitors and spectators filled the banks of the river to support and cheer on each team.
Gate 6 proved to be very challenging for some of the teams, some getting sucked backwards over the next drop and forced to miss out a few more gates. A few teams strategically chose to miss that one, resulting in points being added onto their score but reducing the risk factor. Another gate the proved tricky was Gate 11 which needed good water reading skills, precision and power to get into it. After that there were 3 gates in the big white water with drops.
Russia Open Men were the only team to get a clear run – twice! An incredible feat. However, it was the Brazilians that pipped them to the win with a blistering speed of 97.2 secs and only a 5 sec penalty. China took third showing that they are a future team to contend with.
It was Japan Master Men team who tamed the Tully River today by taking first place in their division but were only 0.30 seconds ahead of Czechia despite the latter’s first run getting zero penalties. Russia took third. Australia took the win in the Master’s Women category.
New Zealand Open Women showed their strength and ability to weave in and around the slalom gates having two good runs with their second run of 145.67 including a 10 sec penalty giving them the win. Japan and Czechia also had good second runs which clinched them 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Romania put on the best entertainment with a surf just after gate 12 and a grand finale by flipping!
Tomorrow is the final discipline – Downriver. It’s worth 350 points towards the Overall (the same as Slalom). Brazil Open Men, New Zealand Open Women, Japan Master Men, Australia Master Women and Indonesia U23 Women are all looking very dominant in their categories and will have to have bad day on the river tomorrow to lose the championship, but never say never. The U19 Men and U23 Men still looks wide open.
Czech U19 Men best on the day
Today saw sleek moves and great clashes on the Tully River as the second day of competition of the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championship, powered by Experience Co. rolled on by.
The crowds were roaring as junior teams (U19 and U23) hit the Tully River to compete in the slalom discipline. The winner is determined by the team who can navigate the course of slalom poles with the least amount of touches and misses combined with a fast time. Whilst Open and Master teams battled it out in the head to head in the afternoon. Competitors and spectators filled the banks of the river to support and cheer on each team.
The gates of 5, 6 and 7 proved very tricky for the teams, making gate 5 often meant the raft was poorly lines up for the next two gates. It was New Zealand U23 Men’s team who tamed the Tully River today by taking first place followed by Czechia and Australia.
Australia U23 Men flip
Indonesia U23 Women showed their competitors just how to weave through those slalom gates and, although they struggled at some of the gates they still did it well enough to place first followed by Great Britain and Japan.
Czechia U19 Men’s team had a brilliant run with only 15 secs in penalties, the lowest of the day, which resulted in the fastest time of the day of 221.87 secs. This placed them in a convincing 1st place, 40.89 seconds ahead of Australia who flipped their raft adding additional time to their final score. Indonesia took third.
New Zealand U23 Men slide under the gate
Coach of the U19 Australian Mens Team – Mark Miller said, “Overall our first run which we were planning on went down like a treat. Our second run we tried the same plan again and we flipped! But it was all good, no-one injuries, just a few laughs. It was good to get a good result on the first run.”
The afternoon saw the Open and Master division’s teams tackle the Head-to-Head. This sees teams battle it out one on one over the Sprint course in a knockout format, but this time with buoy navigation mandatory. Contact is permitted as long as not considered dangerous. This sees great tactics being used by teams as they try get ahead as they negotiate the buoy. The crowds were well entertained with great clashes at the last buoy on river right. Some fierce tussles were fought right in front of them keeping them enervated and excited by the action. If you’ve seen BoaterX – increase the contact and
obstacles and you’ll understand Head-to-Head.
In the Masters Women’s final the local crowd were delighted by an Australian Gold medal, with Costa Rica taking Silver. There are some very experienced racers in the Master Men category – namely Japan MM who had the fastest times of all teams at WRC 2017 in Japan, and they proved their abilities again by taking the Gold. They beat the Czechia team, also an extremely experienced team, and to the delight of the crowd, Australia took the final podium position.
Australia and Costa Rica Masters Women in the H2H
Some interesting tactics were used by some teams, and many were well entertained by New Zealand Open Men’s team’s wild tactic to get ahead of Japan at the third buoy. This failed and Japan went on to take the Silver, beaten by an excellent team from China, who were racing in their first ever WRC. Third place was taken by Russia. The Open Women saw the continuously excellent New Zealand Open Women taking the top honours, Japan in second and last year’s World Champions, Czechia, taking third.
Racing continues tomorrow with Slalom for the Open and Master’s categories, while the U19 and U23 teams get a well-deserved day off.
Results and media
Today marked the first day of competition of the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championship, powered by Experience Co. on the River Tully.
Tully is playing host to over 400 competitors and support crew from 19 different nations.
The excitement was electric as teams hit the river to compete in the Sprint discipline – the winner is determined by the fastest team from start to finish. Competitors and spectators alike lined the banks to cheer on teams with the loudest cheers for the home nation crews.
Australia Masters Women came first in their division, eight and a half seconds ahead of Costa Rica.
Australian Under 19 Men tamed the Tully river by taking first place followed by Indonesia and Czech Republic.
Australian Under 19 Women showed the country how it is done competing in a division above in under 23s and still placed first ahead of the highly anticipated to win New Zealand and Indonesia.
Costa Rica Open Men team captain Alex Sagura said, “We’ve been waiting for this to happen in Australia for the last 20 years, finally here we are. It was a really good race, nice place, nice river, nice people, Australians are amazing.”
The afternoon saw the Under 19 and Under 23 divisions teams tackle the Head-to-Head. Head-to-Head sees teams battle it out 1:1 over the sprint course but this time with buoy navigation mandatory – full contact is permitted in a knockout competition where the winner is decided not necessarily on who is fastest but who plays their tactics the best. If you’ve seen BoaterX – increase the contact and obstacles and you’ll understand Head-to-Head.
In the Under 19 Men final, Australia took the battle right to the finish line with some strong tactics in play by Costa Rica. Australia were able to pull through from the core to push the Costa Ricans back and take on the win with a narrow margin.
In the Under 23s, the Indonesian women took the battle and used tactics right up to the line with a neck and neck final with New Zealand. The Under 23 men’s races saw Czech Republic take home the medal over New Zealand.
Racing continues tomorrow with Head-to-Head for the Open and Masters categories in the morning and Slalom for the Junior and Youth categories in the afternoon.