Joe in China

IRF President to welcome hundreds to the inaugural IRF World White Water Summit

International Rafting Federation President Joseph Willis Jones will welcome over 200 participants from nations across the globe to the inaugural IRF World White Water Rafting Summit.

International Rafting Federation (IRF) President and Chair of the IRF Board of Directors, Joseph Willis Jones will open the inaugural International Rafting Federation World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019.

“Joe Willie” Jones, has led the International Rafting Federation since first being elected by the IRF Congress in 2013. He has been at the forefront of engaging rafting on a global scale for over three decades now having been one of the founding participants of the Project RAFT exercise in the late 1980s and a supporter of the IRF’s founding charter.

Mr. Jones has had a long and distinguished career as a white water adventurer, guide, explorer, competitor, instructor and coach. For more than 40 years, he has run hundreds of rivers spanning every continent, and led scores of multi-day wilderness trips to some of the most remote locations on the planet; from the Arctic regions of Alaska and Canada, to Patagonia, the Amazon, Central America, Oceania, Asia, Europe and Africa. He has also served as a consultant and river expert on several feature films and documentaries.  His work with the IRF has been far reaching, exemplified by his roles as the primary author for many IRF documents and policies, a Chief Judge in IRF competitions, and an Assessor/Trainer for the IRF Guide Training and Education Program, the future direction of which will be discussed at the Summit.

Among the many accolades he has received, Mr. Jones was awarded the prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal as part of a team that completed a grueling six-week scientific exploration of a little-known tributary of the Amazon, deep in the Brazilian jungle, and in 2013 he was honored by being selected as one of the founding members of the World Paddle Awards Academy,  a unique association of the greatest living paddle sports legends and figureheads in the world.

Now a permanent resident of Chile, Mr. Jones lives with his wife and family where they operate an eco-adventure tourism (and rafting) business with his extended Chilean family. He coaches and manages the gold medal winning Chilean national rafting team, and is heavily involved with organisations fighting to protect several rivers in Chile threatened by hydroelectric projects.

It is with these far reaching accomplishments that the IRF World White Water Rafting Summit is pleased to have Mr. Jones welcome and declare open this inaugural summit.

Mr. Jones said “I look forward to the important dialogue and exchanging of ideas among the distinguished summit attendees.  I am hopeful that the summit will lead to improvements in how we all manage safety in, on and around the white water rivers of the world; and to learning and sharing ideas on how to better combat the environmental threats to our rivers, and how we can collectively minimize our carbon footprint in the years ahead as we face the looming global climate crisis”.  Mr. Jones further added that he looks “forward to reconnecting with old friends and familiar faces and those new, who are making their mark on this truly global river family stage”.


Summit workshops cover important topics such as the future of IRF Guide Training and Education (GTE); advances in raft guide certifications; environmental risks facing rivers; how raft guides and adventure travel outfitters can transform their communities; rafting and world peace; dealing with drugs and alcohol among guides and clients; and, how to work with language barriers and engage in non-verbal communications.

For more information see the official website: or Facebook: @WWWRaftingSummit

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