With an international background and upbringing worthy of a UN Ambassador, Yann Coppen shares his passion for rafting with us. African born with French, Indonesian and Dutch blood, Yann began his journey in the northern part of Japan. After years of travelling and guiding abroad, he discovered the High Atlas Mountains and started to run trips on the most pristine rivers of Morocco. From here he runs his successful company Berber Rafting Adventures.
How did you get started in rafting?
I was studying Japanese in Tokyo for 5 months and had had enough of city life and decided to move back to nature where I belong. I was born in Ivory Coast and grew up like Mowgli which didn’t make sense to live in the city. I was living in internet cafes and one day I applied for a raft guide course and started to live the dream of a raft guide, traveling in remote places.
What keeps you rafting?
I love cultures and thanks to rafting I can combine work with traveling
Most memorable river experience?
During a 10 day rafting trip in Nepal we encountered local villages who hardly see people from the outside world. There was this young girl who spent the all day watching her picture on my camera. She probably seen her reflection on the water but never on a photo
Funniest / most ironic river moment?
Working with a ex-pornstar and a ex-world olympic champion for a Dutch TV show
Worst moment on a river?
During a 2 days rafting trip in Morocco i had to cancel the trip. After the first day of rafting we spent a great evening under the stars of the high atlas. On the next morning we found the floor of the raft blown up which made it unsafe to continue. So what do you do in the middle of nowhere…We had to climb out of the canyon with mules under the heat. Sometimes you have to make a safe decision even though the clients won’t like it. Luckily the clients understood and were happy with the trek in the end
How do you maintain a life balance?
I live in the Alps and there are so many outdoor activities around my home. Traveling, cultures and food is my main hobbies but now i have a new exciting adventure and she is only 10 months old.
Any words of wisdom to those new to rafting?
Listen to your guide and be flexible and you will have the best time of your life!
What do you think is the key strength of the IRF?
It’s recognized in more than 40 countries which opens up opportunities for guides who wish to travel and experience new rivers and new countries mourned the world.
When will we see you next?
I’ll be heading to the High Atlas mountains again next spring 2019.
You can find out more about Yann’s passion on this short video.
Yann is part of our River Family. Are You?
#AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #RiverFamily #StrongerTogether #WeAreIRF
We’re looking for more stories of River Family – if you have a story to tell, email Sean with your story and photos.