We have competitions in water tourism that take place in Latvia. A race where anyone can compete with their own boat, no matter what it is. We put the most popular boats in one class, the others next to the others. The competition usually takes place over two days, but now more and more often it takes place over one day. Since there are no mountain rivers in Latvia, we are forced to use the water that is available, and therefore the competition takes place in spring or autumn, when there is water in the rivers. We position ourselves more and more on the fact that competitions are training for bigger and more powerful rivers. 1964 is the year when this type of competition was held for the first time in Latvia, on the Amata River. Rafting as a sport has been in Latvia since 2006, although rafting was also part of the competition in 1964.
We are one big community that depends on water and nature, it unites us and it mainly determines the format of the competition. WW and inflatable kayaks, rafts and catamarans start together with us.
A small digression on boat classes:
So- All types of 2 seater kayaks not included in other boat classes
S- Industrially produced collapsible spikes
K- double catamarans with kayak paddles
PG- double catamarans with canoe paddles
P(MP)- called master inflatable boats
WW- whitewater kayaks
WWP- inflatable kayaks
I don’t know if anywhere else in Europe, in the world, there is this kind of competition in so many boat classes and so regularly in one season.
The Latvian Championship has been held since 2003. In one season we have had from 4 to 6 competitions, in principle there are no fewer than four. We have no state support, practically no sponsors. Everything comes from our own funds, entrepreneurship, passion and the desire to be near nature and water.
Competitions usually take place in three disciplines – sprint, slalom, downrivewer. In some competitions, we add various additional disciplines, such as knot tying, orienteering, tourism technical tasks. Shooting has also taken place.
This year, the race on the Amata River took place a little after the spring flood, as the race takes place on the second weekend of April. The water level was low, but still paddleable. This kind of experience is normal for us, but I think it was something new for the British team Phoenix. Thanks to the nearby hydroelectric power station, it was possible to get +20cm of water for the duration of the competition, even so – it was shallow. This made the sprint and slalom course easier, but no less accurate. Of course it’s easy to ride when there’s water, try when there isn’t any! In the second half of the day, the organizers had a surprise for all participants – DownUpRiver. Half of the track is downstream, the other half of the distance – upstream. A very tough event, I will tell you, which was not up to everyone.
After the competition there was an award ceremony for the first day at the Bille guest house, in whose apartments and campsite we also lived. I strongly recommend it if you are in Latvia. After that, the table was set for dinner and, of course, music. In the evening, fatigue made itself felt, and most of them went to sleep after the sauna… so around 00:00. Some people were not in the mood to go to bed and stayed up all night.
On the second day, everything went according to plan – the big descent. 17 km along one of the most beautiful and fastest rivers in Latvia. At this water level, it is a single slalom course with stones and gravel instead of goalposts. A great slalom and also a good result for the fastest, less than two hours. Some also didn’t dare to swim in Amata, even though the water was only 4*C.
That’s all…oh yes, rafting, results.
- Phoenix GB
- BERRY LV
- Simply LV
A huge thank you to everyone who took part, especially the Phoenix team from GB.
We are waiting for everyone next year, on the second Saturday of April on Sunday on the banks of Amata.
This season there will be two more water tourism competitions-
Valmiera – mid-August,
Barta – in September,
But information about that will wait.
Till then – keep paddle :)