Tully wins bid to host 2019 IRF World Rafting Championships

Credit – Raging Thunder Adventures

The International Rafting Federation is proud to announce that Australia has been selected to host the 2019 World Rafting Championships.

The Championship will take place on the beautiful and challenging Tully River located in North Queensland within the Tully Gorge National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Rainforest.

President of the IRF, Joe Willis Jones said “This will be the first time that Australia has been selected to host this event and it is fitting that the event be held on such an iconic river. The Tully is well known by rafting enthusiasts around the world to be a great whitewater river, and our athletes are looking forward to testing themselves against its rapids, and of course enjoy the region’s many other attractions and famous hospitality during their visit to North Queensland.”

The Australian Rafting Federation bid for the event which will be staged over eight days on the Tully River and is expected to bring up to 700 athletes and thousands of spectators to the region.

Tully wins the IRF World Rafting Championships Bid: (L-R) Cr Ben Heath, Cr Wayne Kimberley, Cr Glenn Raleigh, Cr Jeff Baines, ARF Bid Coordinator Graham Maifredi, Mayor John Kremastos, Council’s Richard Blanchette and Raging Thunder Adventure’s Paul Porteous.

Cassowary Coast Mayor John Kremastos said he was thrilled with the announcement and the opportunity to showcase the region’s natural beauty, adventure tourism and liveability on a world stage.

“The Cassowary Coast is an adventure capital with the nation’s top white water rafting river, world heritage rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, sky diving onto tropical beaches and so much more,” Mayor Kremastos said.

“The world rafting championships are a perfect fit, and testimony to more than 30 years of world-class white water rafting in this region.

“Cassowary Coast Regional Council is thrilled to have helped win this bid and to now help stage this event and welcome visitors to our region and to the Far North.”

National representatives from 30+ countries, ranging from open crews to masters and youth teams, will compete at the championships in a range of events from sprints and slaloms to head-to-heads and downriver racing.

Australian Rafting Federation Bid Coordinator Graham Maifredi said the event would boost the Cassowary Coast region’s sports and adventure tourism status.

“This is an exciting prospect for our community, our region and Australia as a whole,” Mr Maifredi said.  “This is the first world championship that we know of for this region and it was won after a competitive bidding process also involving Canada.

“I have had the honour of going to multiple world championships as a competitor, judge and event organiser and I’ve seen what a world-class event like this can do to boost a region.”

Australian Rafting Federation President Darrell Daveson said it has been a long-held dream to have a home-based world rafting championships. He said the major event would be preceded by a pre-worlds-Australian titles event on the Tully River in May 2018, also bringing exposure to the region.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council’s Cr Ben Health welcomed the tourism and economic benefits.  Cr Heath said planning would start soon on event bases in Tully and Cardstone and on an across-region accommodation plan.

“We are now officially on the road to 2019 IRF World Rafting Championships,” he said.

“As a region we work better together and the Australian Rafting Federation will be working with key local stakeholders in Council, Stanwell, the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Queensland National Parks, Raging Thunder Adventures, the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and traditional owners, Tropical Coast Tourism and Tourism Tropical North Queensland to host this event in the region.”

‘Better Together’