“Club Rafting Femenino” Costa Rica is a group of women who love white water and nature. They promote the sport of rafting amongst women and the result is a team that is the best representation of competitive women rafting in Costa Rica. Most members of the team have been in the team since 2006; some are rafting guides and have been for several years and they have grown as an organization which encourages people to see rafting not only as work but as a sport as well.
These white water lovers are: Ana Gabriela Rodriguez, Andrea Fallas, Catalina Elizondo, Lil Castro, Monica Gutierrez Ortiz, Omara Fuks, Zumara Chavarria, Carol Vargas and coach – Alejandro Conteras.
In this interview, Omara Fuks helped us to get better acquainted with her team, answering our questions.
Omara, tell us about your training – which rivers, class and how often do you train?
“We normally train on the Pacuare River because it is the closest and we are lucky to have it because it is a class 4 section with a very long decent, about 2,5 hours. The slalom is normally on the Pejibaye River which is class 3 and very technical. And at least once a month we try to go to a new river. Costa Rica is a country which has the most rivers in the world per square kilometer, so we have many options. We train twice a week on flat water and Sunday’s on the river.” – They are really lucky because Costa Rica is rich with rivers, beautiful and has untouched nature; so like all real lovers of nature, after training they chill out at the side of the river and relax!
At the World Rafting Champs R6 in 2011 you won the silver medal in the slalom. We know it was a challenging slalom, but how did it look from your perspective?“It was an AMAZING slalom, in a great rapid! What we always try to do is go slowly but carefully, and if there is one very hard gate we don’t even try it so as to no lose too much time.” – says Omara and adds: “The coach – Alejandro Contreras – is very good at slalom, it’s his strength.” – Excellent tactics from their coach.
You have had success at Pan American competitions – 2nd place at Panamericano Costa Rica 2006; 3rd place in Slalom – Panamericano de Argentina 2008; 1st place Slalom – Panamericano de Brasil 2010; 3rd place Slalom – Panamericano Canadá 2012. Can you tell us more about the importance of the Pan America contest?
“In Costa Rica there is not much in the way of female competition, so the Panamerican Champs are vital to grow, to compare ourselves with other teams, and to learn more about the sport. In the Americas we are all at a similar level, so it is pretty exciting.”
Pan American and World Cup events are great places to gather teams that do not necessarily have to be the number one in their country, but which provide excellent insights for teams as to where they are in relation to others, because these competitions bring together the strongest teams in the region and the world.
Do you and the team have a goal you have not achieved yet in relation to rafting?
“Yes, we want to win a gold medal in slalom as we know that is our strength in a World Championship; and we really want to win at least 1 Head to Head, we have never passed the first round :-(. ” A little sports luck would not be a bad place in those moments.
One of the team members carries experience from way back to Camel White Water Challenge years where she was a member of the first Costa Rica woman teams – Carol Vargas explains how she started:
“My first official competition took place in 1991 with Project Raft. I joined a team called Youth Unlimited, with members from Zambia, Russia, California, Argentina and Costa Rica. Later on I competed in the Camel Challenge World rafting championship, which took place on the Futaleufu in Chile – this participation was Costa Rica’s first official women’s rafting team. “
Her last major event was at the WRC 2011 on the Pacuare River. Now she focuses on her two sons and plans to use her experience to forment and make this outdoor sport accessible to more women and children in Costa Rica.
They are all a good representation of Costa Rican women – independent, professional, fighters, athletes and confident in themselves.
Their facebook page www.facebook.com/ClubRaftFemCR?fref=ts