We all know that the winning teams, the first teams, in each country’s national selections get to go to the World Rafting Champs. In many countries they are the same team each year; so the question is –
“what about those “eternally second” teams?”
During my paddling, and through this opportunity to write about the clubs, I saw that the case of the syndrome – “eternally second” – is everywhere. Teams that suffer from this syndrome often lose motivation and quit. These is a sad and unhappy thing!
But why do they quit? I want to remind and encourage these teams.
In addition to the all important World Champs, there are other big competitions, various festivals and plenty of other events where you are welcome!
Other than the World Champs nearly all other competitions are open to competitors from all over the world, regardless of their place on a national level. If you missed the chance to qualify for the WRC why not try another competition? If you are “perpetually second”, you can raise the money and choose to attend any one of the following competitions:-
- European Championship’s – second largest competition in the world and 95% of the European teams that are going to the WRC come to the Euro Champs. This competition is every alternate year with the next one being held in 2014.
- World Cup event – is an open competition that you do not have to qualify for and each country can send as many teams as they like. Here you can get a chance to compete with some of the best teams in the world, on the most beautiful rivers, get the racing experience you need, make new friends and have a good time.
- Pan American Champs – the largest competition for the American continent and is always on beautiful rivers and the best teams come from North and South America, and sometimes from other parts of the world.
- PRE World Champs – there you have a chance to compete on the river that has been selected for the WRC, and the best teams like to go so that they can get familiar with the river.
- Euro Cup events – ALL the Euro Cup events are open to all teams from around the world! The most highly rated event seems to be in Wildapen, Austria, which is for R4 and pulls teams from all areas of Europe and sometimes from other continents too. A close second is the event on the Vrbas in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is R6 and had 33 teams racing in 2012. Other events that have a good number of teams are the events in Czech and Slovakia but the event in Serbia is growing and the race in Croatia combines with a big festival so there is more to do than just raft! The event in Norway is held together with an extreme festival – so also plenty to see and do there and the river is exciting as is the river at the Euro Cup event in Finland.
Besides the many competitions that are held around the world there are various festivals of which some are competitive. I will use this opportunity to list some of the festivals and if I have left out any please do inform us so we can add to this list.
- Futa Fest-Chile
- Mountain Games-America – in Vail and previously sponsored by Teva – now by GoPro
- Musi Triboatton – Indonesia
- Hell or High Water-Canada
- Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival
Being second, third, fourth, etc is not a good enough reason to not travel around the world and compete. Use the opportunity of the open competitions and festivals and participate – see you there! :)