The very first love for competitive rafting was shown back in 1989, when Russians and Americans joined forces and organized the first rafting competitions – up to 50 teams competed in Siberia (1989), USA (1990), Costa Rica (1991) and Turkey (1993).
The only logical step after that was the establishment of an International Rafting Federation.
The initial key areas for this representation were Guide Training & Education and Sport & Competitions.
So, back in 1997, Lee Porter, Peter Micheler, Rafael Gallo, Tony Hansen, Sue Liell-Cock, Neil Baxter, Glenn Lewman, Zeljko Kelemen and Thomas Karas met in Augsburg, Germany to form the IRF – International Rafting Federation.
The first Congress was held at the 1997 Camel White Water Challenge (CWWC), also the first unofficial IRF World Championship.
After that, first official World Rafting Championships was part of the 1998 CWWC in Costa Rica. This is where the rules to govern raft racing were finalized.
As for Europe, first IRF European Rafting Championships (ERC) were held in Italy in 2000. Subsequent ERCs have been held in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and then annually since 2014.
In addition to all that, under the name of the IRF, Rafting Cups are organized all over Europe and the world, as well as various regattas, white water rescue trainings, rafting guide trainings…
We even (IRF) joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Sports for Climate Action initiative as a signatory to the Sports for Climate Action Framework.
And, not only that! The IRF WRC held October 2011 in Costa Rica is the first ever Certified Carbon Neutral world championship sporting event. EARTH University certified Costa Rica’s WRC as Carbon Neutral.
Beside that, we participate in actions to preserve rivers, the environment and nature in general. We are constantly working to raise awareness in the preservation of nature and the wealth it offers us. Day after day, we spread our voice, we are heard, seen and felt more and more.
For the past 25 years, we have been sharing with you our love for nature, water, rivers, paddling… In one word – rafting.
Let’s continue in the same direction, even stronger. To spread love, to learn, to compete, to meet, to socialize, to support… Until the last stroke, to the goal itself.
Very, VERY happy 25 years of IRF – years of pure happiness!
Cause – we are #RaftingFamily 💚