Race Results

EC 2019 Series
Results: R6 Overall; R4 Overall

EC Devil’s Stream
Results; Photos; Video;

EC British Open
Results; Photos

Canada Nationals
Results; Photos: -1-, -2-, -3-. Video H2H.

Pre-WRC, Ziyuan
Results: Men, Women; Photos: Trng, SP/OC, SL, H2H, DR; Videos: D1, D2, D3, D4;

ERC Vrbas, Bosnia
Results and media

EC Results so far
R6: OM; OW. R4: OM; OW.

EC Trnavka
Results: Sprint; Slalom. Photos.

WRC 2019, Tully
Results, Photos, press releases, etc

EC Wildalpen
Results: OM, U23M, OW; Photos

EC Priboj, Serbia
Results; Photos

EC Nottingham
Results, Photos: -1-, -2-, -3-. H2H Video

EC Romania, Dracula Race
Results; Photos

WRC 2018
All results

more archived Race Results

The rumble in the Thai jungle

As I took my seat on  Finnair flight from Helsinki bound for Bangkok, Thailand I had to take a reality check to see if this was really happening. In the matter of two short weeks and a few emails I was heading to Thailand to run the first ever IRF workshop deep in the jungle close to Chiang Mai.

RJ1Ex-kayak freestyle world champion, Eric Southwick had invited me to run an IRF guide and trip leader workshop for his newly established company 8adventures in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

Rafting operations on the Mae Tang river in Chiang Mai only started around 20 years ago but the area now has around 14 companies. 8adventures is the leading company in the area, offering a professional operation to the hoards of tourists wanting to experience the jungle.

Eric had kindly picked me up from Chiang Mai airport and given me the lowdown on the job ahead. My first priority was sleep. After a good night’s sleep at the 8adventures camp it was time to crack on and start the 5 day workshop. To assess the river I joined onto a trip and was pleasantly surprised by 2 things:

  • The Mae tang was super high due to recent rain. We had a solid 2km section of class 4-5 rapids to test us on all week.
  • The team at 8adventures were slick. Eric and his co-owners Sak & Oat had a tight operation. This was a pleasant surprise.
RJ2

Eric demonstrating the whitewater swimming position.

I had planned the workshop over 5 days to allow for extra teaching. None of the guides had ever participated in any type of structured teaching course. I also had to allow for language barriers so the plan was to take things nice and slowly and move at a speed that suited the students on the course. The 5 days were mapped out in the following way.

  • Days 1 &2 were dedicated to personal rafting & kayaking skills. I needed to spend time observing each guide running the river. This worked out really well as we had commercial trips every morning so I got to see the guides with real customers.
  • Day 3 was set aside to focus on whitewater rescue skills & safety kayak skills such as dealing with panicked swimmers & unconscious swimmers.
  • Day 4 was used for trip leader assessments.
RJ4

Keep your swimmers in a place where you can help them most & remember to smile

RJ5

Eric & Sak take it all in. It’s not every day I get to teach a former 2x World Champion & a Thai national champion about kayaking.

RJ6

A safety kayaker dealing with an unconscious swimmer

RJ7

Same bank entrapment drill

RJ8

Live bait exercise

RJ10

Swim test

RJ11

2 point raft tether exercise

RJ12

Throwbag skills test

RJ13

Rescue harness operation demonstrated by using a V Lower.

 

RJ14

A flipped raft stuck in a boily eddy was used in one of the TL scenarios. (Can you spot the surprise underneath the raft that awaits the rescue team?)

RJ15

One of the safety kayakers dealing with a stranded customer on the TL scenario.

RJ16

Mock body entrapment scenarios

The days were long as they are on all workshops. We started early in the morning and finished late in the evening. The Thai guides really took an interest in the whitewater rescue aspect of the workshop. They had lots of gear and wanted to know how to use it. Now was the time to introduce them to my favourite mnemonic that I find myself using time and time again on workshops

KIS, KIS: Keep it safe, Keep it simple

The Nature of the Mae Tang river really keeps the guides on their toes. The river is full of Bamboo strainers mixed in with some fatal sieves. I needed to ensure that the guides really took their time and used the self, team, victim principle to ensure their own safety not only during the workshop simulated rescues but also when on the river operating commercial trips.

RJ17

This picture sends shivers down my spine just looking at it

RJ18

RJ19

The Locals like to build as close to the river as possible

 

The extra time spent developing the rescue skills of the guides & safety kayakers really helped out during the trip leader scenario tests. Not only had the guides progressed in their understanding of rescue skills and principles, their team work had improved dramatically. Having skilled safety kayakers really made the life of the trip leaders a lot easier during the test.

To sum things up, Thailand now has its first IRF certified guides, safety kayakers & trip leaders. The bonus is the fact they all work daily together for the same company. We shared an inspiring week together. New friends were made and the IRF now has active guides in Thailand.

RJ20

The participants of the first ever International Rafting Federation workshop in Thailand.

I boarded my flight home tired and happy. As I sat down I realized it would all be starting again in 7 days time. This time I would not be in the river deep in the jungle but in the high mountains of the Indian Himalaya on the mighty Zanskar river.

Happy paddling, Mark

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