World white water rafting championship hopefuls will converge on Tully in May to vie for a spot in next year’s international event.
Here’s a taste of the white water that awaits you!
More than 100 paddlers will race in the Pre-Worlds and Australian Rafting Championships on the Tully River – and organisers are calling it a dress rehearsal for the “real deal” in 2019.
Tully will host the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championships, after securing the rights late last year in a coup for both Australia and the local community. The Pre-Worlds are also part of the package.
Event director Graham Maifredi said preparations were ramping up.
A community information session will be held at the Tully Visitor Information Centre on Monday 12 February and people who want to learn more about the two events – from potential suppliers, sponsors and volunteers to competitors – are encouraged to drop in any time between 10am and 12.
“After more than 30 years of rafting on the Tully River we’re gearing up for the big one,’’ he said.
“The Tully region is already known as an adventure mecca with skydiving, scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, sea kayaking, river kayaking, fishing, mountain biking and hiking as well as white water rafting, but we’re hoping the world rafting events will reinforce that and cement our name as the adventure capital.”
The Pre-Worlds will feature downriver races and sprints as well as slalom racing and head-to-head race-offs. It will be staged on the river from 9 to 13 May. Teams will contest open, master, youth (under-23) and junior (under-19) events.
Maifredi said the Pre-Worlds would entice Australian athletes and a number of teams from other countries who were keen to test their mettle in the river’s Class 4 rapids.
“This is the national titles and a selection event for the worlds but it’s also a chance for athletes from other countries to come and familiarise themselves with the river ahead of 2019,’’ he said.
“The Pre-Worlds will be a great training run for us as well, to see how our race locations, spectator sites, communications, operations crews and general logistics go.
“We have hosted Australian and Queensland rafting and kayaking championships here before but we’ll be honing in on our operations this time around to ensure we get it right for the Tully River’s first world event.”
The 2019 IRF World Rafting Championships is expected to bring up to 700 athletes and thousands of spectators to the Far North region. Maifredi said accommodation and entertainment also presented opportunities for locals.
The Australian Rafting Federation is working with Stanwell Corporation, the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Queensland National Parks, Raging Thunder Adventures, the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and traditional owners, Tropical Coast Tourism, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland to host the events.
The Australian Rafting Federation launched its World Rafting Championships website last week at www.wrc2019.com. Expressions of Interest forms are on the website.