At our last Congress, the IRF decided to set aside 12 July to be World Rafting Day. And here are some of the ways that this day was celebrated in Serbia, Iran, New Zealand and the USA.
Drina Regatta – Serbia
This regatta gathers together a large number of fans of the river and of World Rafting Day.
Bad weather conditions did not dampen the spirit of the many lovers of the Drina River who came together again to participate in the Drina Regatta which this year, was held on World Rafting Day. A large number of water sports lovers gathered on this beautiful river to paddle down stream from Rogacica to Ljubovija, a distance of 40 km. The regatta was sponsored by the Serbian Rafting Federation and the hosts were Ljubovija rafting club “Drinska regatta”.
The race was started by the firing of the cannon that “pirates from Ladjevci” brought to Ljubovija for many years. This year the race was opened by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Sports, Nenad Borovčanin. He enjoyed the “flood of optimism, good mood and joy” so much he decided to stay for the full event. A video of the opening of this year’s race is HERE.
Serbian Rafting Federation President, Boris Purjakov, thanked Rafting Club “Drinska regatta” which, he says, has a decade and a half of experience in organizing this event which, unfortunately, Serbia is not yet aware of. “We are working to make this day declared the international day of rafting, and the central event will be held here in Serbia. It is a great honour for us and we want to show that we can gather more than 10,000 people, which has not been done any where else in the world.” said Purjakov. Video here.
Head of the Iranian Rafting Association, Kianoosh Mehrabi said “As a member of international rafting family, we celebrated “World Rafting Day” with the first ever “Moonlight Rafting” in Iran. Our program started in the small hours on the 12 July 2014 with the slogan “Eco-Rafting – to care about Nature and Local People”
This was our plan:-
- Pre-Opening: Safety briefing (11 July 11:30 am)
- Opening: Night Rafting (under moon light on the beginning of 12 July, 00:01 am)
- Lecture by the Province Head of Tourism, Head of Iran Rafting Association (8:30-9 am)
- Training villagers (morning 9:30-11:30 am)
- Rafting for the province Tourism Organization managers and employees and other local organizations-To become familiar with Eco-Rafting and meet the villagers (12 am-2 pm)
- River Swimming Competition for villagers (3-3:30 pm)
- Rafting Competition for villagers- Sprint (4-4:30 pm)
- Workshops for villagers (5-6:30 pm):
- Conserving nature
- Rafting and Employment
- Importance of Safety
One of the advantages in New Zealand is that some of their rivers are geothermally warmed and so are at quite a nice temperature even though it is winter! So they took to the rivers and had some fun on World Rafting Day:
Here is a great photo album of the day.
And here are two videos of rafting on the River Tarawera on World Rafting Day.
American Whitewater – a non-profit organisation which has been “Saving Rivers Since 1954” and whose mission statement is: “American Whitewater restores rivers dewatered by hydropower dams, eliminates water degradation, improves public land management and protects public access to rivers for responsible recreational use.” was also promoting World Rafting Day and this is what they had to say on the 12 of July:
Many of the Euro countries were, understandably, too busy with Euro Champs to have focussed on making this a big occasion – we hope that next year we will see a bigger response from all our member federations and from companies, guides and everyone out there who loves rafting!