After a White Water Slalom career spanning 20 years, Rado switched to rafting. His first contact with rafting was in 1997 for two years.
Then he rejoined into in 2004 until now. At first he started with his team on several European and World Championships but then moved onto coaching two of the most successful women’s rafting teams – at first Geronimo from 1999 until 2002 and Mistral from 2009 until they career end.
What motivates you to keep rafting?
I think that rafting is a good sport for people who like to be on the water with some good friends. If you have a good team you can enjoy so much fun and this is the most important thing. All other is bonus – traveling a lot to the interesting destinations, get medals from big competitions and more.
Most memorable experience on the river and why?
It was many years before I started to do sport seriously. My parents took me into a boat when I was one year old. Of course I didn’t remember it, but when I started to recognise the river and life on the river it was amazing. I always try to remember those times.
Funniest river moment?
Funniest? Our Balkan tour 2007. We did Eurocup rafting series trip through Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina. We won this series and we had a lot of fun, party, nice weather and rivers.
Worst moment on a river?
Maybe when I first time flipped with my slalom boat and swam out. I was scared, but now I am ok and I can say that I am friends with rivers. We have a nice relationship. I respect the river and it gives me power and pleasure. I hope that the river respects me too.
What do you do outside of rafting?
Outside rafting I have a lot of activities. My work is completely different and out of sport so I must keep my physical condition on. I do many sports – ice hockey, soccer, badminton, cycling, skiing, SUP paddling and more. Easy to say, I enjoy the life together with my wife and friends. I also relax with my two radio controlled planes.
You’ve been racing for SVK for some years now and are president of the Slovak rafting federation – how has your approach to rafting changed over the years?
Actually before my rafting mission I was in national white water slalom team as kayak paddler. So I had no idea about rafting. When I joined to the team the rafting was completely different as it is now. It was more fun and now it looks like serious sport. At the beginning we had only R6 category and mostly on natural rivers. Now we have R6 and R4 and more age categories and the rafting has moved also to the artificial courses. Thanks to it the rafting is better accessible.
Any words of wisdom to those new to rafting?
Only two words. DONT PANIC! Seriously? If somebody have opportunities to try rafting, go for it and you will see what happens. The feeling of the river is nice and very addictive.
What do you think is the key strength of the IRF?
All what IRF is doing is based on trust and friendship. They are a strong team who wants to keep rafting alive.
When will we see you next?
It is easy to answer. I will be on the WRC in Argentina. I am a valuable part of SVK Masters Men team. After that if all will be ok, I would like to visit Australia WRC 2019 and maybe ERC 2019 in Bosnia Herzegovina too. Not as a competitor but as a spectator and delegate of Slovakia Rafting Federation.
Rado is one of our River Family. Are You?
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We’re looking for more stories of River Family – if you have a story to tell, email Sean with your story and photos.