Board of Directors

In accordance with Article 8 (2) of IRF Bylaws, the Board of Directors (BOD) is composed of Executive Officers and Administrative Committee Chairs who are elected by the Congress. The Board of Directors is responsible for the management of the IRF, and for determining the Annexes to Bylaw Articles, and general policies which affect the entirety of the IRF, within the confines set forth in the Bylaws.

IRF Executive Committee

Joseph Willis Jones President and Chair of Board of Directors
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President and Chair of Board of Directors

Joseph Willis Jones

  • President
  • Chair of Board of Directors
  • GTE Assessor / Trainer
  • General Judge

Joseph Willis Jones, or “Joe Willie” as he is known to his friends,  serves as President and Chairman of the Board of the IRF and has held past positions with the IRF Board of Directors as co-Head of Sport and Competition and as Head of the Pan American Race Committee.

Mr. Jones is an IRF Judge, and an Assessor/Trainer for the IRF Guide Training and Education Program. He has a long and distinguished career as a whitewater 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.

Raised in the mountains of the southeastern United States, he discovered and fell in love with river-running as a boy. After teaching himself how to run whitewater in an open canoe, arming himself with river guidebooks and the fearlessness of youth, he began to test the limits of the sport by targeting rivers that publications cautioned as being ‘unrunnable’ in canoes – an experience which led to his pioneering many first open canoe descents.

When commercial rafting exploded in the eastern USA during the mid 1970’s, his river experience gave him instant work as a raft guide where he realised that he could make a living pursuing his passion. At the same time, he began competing in and winning many regional open canoe wildwater and marathon races.

In 1981, lured by the images and stories of big western whitewater, he moved to western USA where his skills won him employment with numerous rafting companies on ‘classic rivers of the West’. He soon formed his own rafting business and paddling school, while continuing to rack up first descents with canoe and raft on many steep creeks and rivers of California, Oregon and Washington.

As an avid rock climber and rescue squad firefighter, he began to experiment and adapt climbing equipment, climbing knots and professional rescue techniques to aid in equipment recovery and swimmer rescue; and to teach these methods in his classes, to University paddling clubs, and to other river guides long before river rescue instruction became commonly available.

Gaining a reputation as one of the top whitewater boaters in the USA, he was invited to join a number of cutting-edge exploratory river expeditions in the USA, Asia and South America.

Topping the list in 1985 was a ‘yet to be repeated ‘ first raft descent through the Class V+ Grand Canyon of the Stikine tucked away deep in the wilderness of British Columbia, Canada. The Stikine proved to be one of the toughest sections of whitewater in the world, considered by many today to be the ‘Mount Everest’ of big water expedition paddling against which all other rivers are measured.

With a whetted appetite, this became the first of many paddling adventures in the far North – he spent years exploring the rivers of Alaska and the Yukon as well as taking adventure seeking tourists in rafts, canoes and sea kayaks to some of the most remote rivers and sea coasts on the planet.

In 1989 he was invited to Siberia by Project RAFT to compete for the USA in the first international raft competition, where he was part of an event that changed rafting forever by sparking international raft competitions around the world. Project RAFT was a citizen diplomacy initiative to ease tensions between the Soviet Union and the USA by putting Russians and Americans in the same boat on raging whitewater rivers. This led to additional international competitions which launched the formation of the International Rafting Federation. He continued to compete internationally for several years before focusing his energies once again on commercial guiding and river exploration in Central and South America.

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 son where he operates 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.

Eric Boudreau First Vice President, Chair of Sport & Competition
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First Vice President, Chair of Sport & Competition

Eric Boudreau

  • First Vice President
  • Chair of Sports & Competition Committee
  • Judge Assessor

Eric started as a raft guide in 1988 and competed as a raft racer from 1996 to 2008. He was team captain/coach of the Canadian OM rafting team from 1999 to 2008.

He has been an Organizer and Race Director of six Canadian National Championships, 5 white water festival and about 15 rafting events including a World Cup in Canada.

He also has experience in organizing races for other sports such as mountain biking and ice canoe races.

He is a qualified referee for rugby and judge for ice canoe racing as well as having been an IRF Judge for the past 14 years.

He is an athlete in different sports such as rugby, ice canoe racing and mountain biking.

Since he stopped racing his love for rafting and the racing part of it has still been in him. He always tries to use his experience and knowledge to help the IRF to grow and move forward to become every year a better and more professional federation, running better and more professional events.

He has been the Head of the Judges Committee since 2009, which was created at that time. In the last few years in particular he has taken the standard of judging to a new level. Instituting compulsory Judge Workshops at the start of A and B level events has ensured that all judges are continually kept up to date with rule changes and reminded of how the IRF expects judging to be done at these prime events. The creation of the Judges Handbook provides a standard base that all event organisers, Juries and Judges can use for their events.

His experience with managing the Judge Committee over the past 8 years, and his regular experience on the race Jury, often as Head Judge, makes him an ideal candidate to lead the Sport & Competition Committee. Having gotten the Judge section running well and heading in the right direction he’d like to put his energy into improving other areas of the Sport & Competition section.

Gáspár Göncz Second Vice President, Chair of Guide Training & Education
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Second Vice President, Chair of Guide Training & Education

Gáspár Göncz

  • Second Vice President
  • Chair of Guide Training & Education Committee
  • GTE Assessor / Trainer
  • Chief Judge

Gáspár was a flatwater kayaker in his youth, and was to become a pro athlete when he realised there is more fun on whitewater than on flatwater, so he swapped to whitewater kayaking and rafting instead.

After finishing his Masters degree in Economic Sciences at Corvinus University of Budapest, Gaspar soon represented Hungary at World Championships in several whitewater and kayak disciplines, which included White Water Rafting, Slalom Kayak, Freestyle Kayak, Wave-ski, Marathon Kayak and Kayak Sprint.

After many years spent with kayak and raft-guiding, Gáspár went on educating himself further and soon became involved in organising raft guide training programs on four continents. By this stage, Gáspár had become an IRF Assessor, responsible for the International Rafting Federation’s Guide Training & Education Scheme, organising IRF Instructor Workshops on various rivers around the globe. He has awarded IRF Instructor certifications in over 30 countries.

Being a Rescue 3 Instructor he delivers Rescue 3 Whitewater and Swiftwater Rescue Technician Courses in Eastern Europe and some exotic countries.

After paddling 200 rivers, he has a good understanding of rivers and different rafting cultures around the world.

Gáspár is the founder of the one-of-its-kind and truly unique Whitewater Rescue Challenge held annually in the Austrian Alps. Gáspár is also proud to produce state of the art WWTC throwbags and raft thwart bags, specially designed for whitewater and rescue use. A lot of research and testing had led to great products with specific features that are preferred by professionals worldwide. He has been the key driving force behind the very successful Guide Training & Education sector of the IRF since he stepped up into the position in 2009.

He also organises the GTE Conference which is now an annual event which brings Instructors together to get updated and for them to share their general knowledge and gain an increase in experience so as to raise the level of instruction and knowledge of river safety world-wide.

Besides being an IRF GTE Assessor he is also an IRF Chief Judge.

Pieter Bekkers Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer
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Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer

Pieter Bekkers

  • Treasurer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • GTE Assessor / Trainer
  • Judge Assessor

Pieter Bekkers started off his sporting career studying in sport education, specialising in whitewater kayaking and tennis as well as becoming a certified swimming teacher.

In the early 1980s he started building polyester Kayaks for personal use and selling while working part-time at the sport complex of Budel County. He started a kayak club in Budel as a trainer and initiator and organised the first kayak course in the French Alps for the ALO the Hague (State Sports Education School) and other participants. He then started his own company which built and rented kayaks and organized kayak courses in the Belgium Ardennes and the French Alps, and started the first kayak school in the Netherlands. From 1984 onwards he was running kayak whitewater courses in the French Alps (Durance), Swiss Alps (Inn), Dolomites in Italy (Rienz), and Soca in Slovenia. He developed and organised these programs himself. In this period he paddled plenty of rivers in Europe together with friends and also made numerous “First Descents”.

By 1994 the company had grown and the activities covered: kayak-whitewater weekends and weeks in the Belgium Ardennes, French Alps, Dolomites (Italy), Soca and the spring weeks in Corsica; company sports activities/team-training and sport/games days in the Netherlands and Belgium; special adventures and special programs for Caballero Around the World, Peter Stuyvesant Travel, Hyundai Challenge; renting of outdoor material, kayaks, mountain bikes, Langlauf skis, archery materials and rafts; renting of their locations; trips to Grand Canyon and Chile.

In 1997 he attended the Camel White Water Challenge in Zimbabwe on the Zambezi as part of the Dutch team, getting to do his first decent of the Zambezi River. Here he encountered the IRF for the first time at its launch. In 2004 he put new life into the Dutch Rafting Association (Nederlandse Raft Bond = NRB), put up a new BOD and associated it to the IRF. At present he is on the NRB BOD as president. NRB also started organising annual Dutch National Championships. From 2006-2009 he trained up a Rafting Ladies Team who became Dutch champions in 2006-2007-2008 and 2009 and in WRC results of this Dutch Ladies Team; 2007 – 8th place in Korea, 2009 – 5th in Bosnia.

He started Wildwaterschool which trains people to be professional Raft Guide and Kayak Instructor and also for Whitewater Rescue training. He wrote an educational book for rafting training and education for Dutch Sports Education Schools and other people who are interested and was asked by Dutch Water Dreams in Zoetermeer (first artificial rafting course in the Netherlands) to take care of the training project for Rafting / Hotdogs / Hydrospeed and Safety. Every year they train 50-125 new raft guides and he is responsible for DWDs safety.

In 2010 he was very key in the organising committee from Dutch Water Dreams for the IRF WRC Artificial 2010 and was Race Director at the event itself.

He regularly organises IRF Workshops in France at the river Durance and is now an IRF GT&E Assessor. A total of 8 schools from the Sports Education Schools are being trained by him in the French Alps; Rafting/ Kayak / Hotdog and Whitewater Rescue.

His Rafting Reader went into the 9th year/press and a total of 800 copies have been sold over the last 9 years. He also began a company that could do raft race timing and scoring.

Besides being an IRF GT&E Assessor, Pieter is also an IRF Judge Assessor and has been very involved in the recent World Champs in Indonesia where he worked very closely with the organisers in the preparation and then finally at the event as Co-Race Director. He has also been working very closely on the 2016 WRC at Wadi Adventures having been the first to contact them and following up with scouting trips and all advice to assist them through the bidding process. Without Pieter the 2016 WRC would not be happening and the 2015 WRC would not have run as well as it did!

Sue Liell-Cock Secretary General
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Secretary General

Sue Liell-Cock

  • Secretary General

Sue did her first river trip after getting a BSc in Computer Science and Geographical Science and discovering the normal working life was not for her. She was immediately hooked and became a river guide. Later she became part owner of a river company in South Africa. She was a founding member of the South African Rivers Association (now APA) and played a key role in its initial organisation. 

She was one of the first female guides in South Africa and has done much to promote women in this sport. In 1992 and 1993 she was a part of the Hunter’s Gold Ladies team which paddled in the Zambezi River Festival – in 1992 they were the only women’s team which, despite predictions from certain men that they’d need to be helicopter rescued out, came a respectable 16th out of 31 teams. She attended Project RAFT in Turkey 1993 as part of the African team.

From 1995 to 2001 she worked with Tony Hansen organising the Camel White Water Challenge (CWWC). She was a founding member of the IRF in 1997 and through her work with the CWWC found herself in a pivotal role for the future of rafting. She has been key in its administration and forward movement ever since.  Her experience as a guide, river company owner, competitor, event organiser, administrator and mum are all used in this role.

In 2001 Sue had the first of her two sons. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

IRF Administrative Committee Chairs

Aleš Danek Chair of Athletes' Commission
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Chair of Athletes' Commission

Aleš Danek

  • Chair of Athletes’ Commission

Alex is 41 years old,. He’s been rafting since he was sixteen and for the last 10 years has been a member of team HIKO, a top Czech raft team, in fact, were the World Champions at WRC 2018 in Argentina and have medaled many times.

He sees this committee as a good opportunity for the opinions and comments of the athletes to be collected and to be voiced within the IRF. He feels it will be positive if the other committees on the IRF will be able to hear from the Athletes what they think and to discuss their opinions and proposals. He believes it will be helpful for the IRF and for rafting in general.

Jozef Kytka Chair of Judges' Committee
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Chair of Judges' Committee

Jozef Kytka

  • Chair of Judges’ Commission
  • Judge Assessor

Jozef has been active in the rafting sport for almost 15 years. The first period of 5 years it was as a member of the support team for the Slovakian Open Men’s team, and then the next 10 years as an active judge taking part in about 6 races a year on average. This included local races, Euro Cups, World Cups, ERC and WRC. He obtained the highest judge qualification of Assessor in 2011.

He has a lot of experience in organising and leading judges at a national and international level, having been the Head Judge at ERC Lipno 2012, ERC Čunovo 2014, ERC Slovakia 2018, and Jury member in WRC Indonesia 2015, WRC WADI 2016, ERC Slovenia 2016, ERC Georgia 2017, WRC Argentina 2018.

In last 5 years he has trained almost 60 new Judges and set the Judges Workshop and Training Course up on Powerpoint and this has become the base of the material used by Assessor and Instructor Judges at their workshops and courses.

Peter Micheler Chair of International Relations Committee
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Chair of International Relations Committee

Peter Micheler

  • Chair of International Relations Committee
  • President (1997 – 2006)
  • GTE Instructor Grade 4
  • Chief Judge

Peter Micheler, the founder and managing director of RTA, is one the most successful Slalom Kayak paddlers World Wide.  From 1977-1988 he was a national team member and won several world championship and World Cup titles. In the 80’s he was eight times German Champion in the Kayak Men’s class (1980-1988).  And still an unequalled performance to date.  In total 8 medals World(cup) – and European championships, 13 German championships, and in addition innumerable victories in international competitions.

At the end of his career as a Kayak paddler he dedicated himself completely to Rafting. Together with his former sport comrades in the Kayak Slalom and present guides of RTA he won the European Championships three times in a row (’92 – ’94), became five times vice-world champion and in 1997 gold medal winners at the World Nature Games in Brazil. In 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 he was in the team that was German Rafting Champion.

He was a founding member of the International Rafting Federation 1997 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since then. He led the IRF for 9 years as the President and at present a vice president. (2006)

Emilia Begunova Chair of Recreational Rafting Committee
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Chair of Recreational Rafting Committee

Emilia Begunova

  • Chair of Recreational Rafting Committee
  • Chief Judge

Emilia Begunova is a person with a lot of experience and good vision for the rafting development.

Her education is Master of International Tourism. In 2001 she founded a company for rafting and adventure tours which is now a leading company. She has long years of experience as a rafting guide and a competitor, being a captain and trainer of rafting teams, as well.

Emilia became a judge in 2009 and since then taking part in almost every significant race on international level.

In 2009 she established the Bulgarian Rafting Federation and stood for its rights to being an independent and nationally recognized organization, organizing training courses, competitions and other events in Bulgaria, strongly standing behind the idea of developing the rafting culture in Bulgaria and nearby countries.

Emilia has been Co-Head of Recreational Rafting & Conservation since 2013, first with Rafael Gallo and then with Kianoosh Mehrabi. During this time she led a survey examining which rivers people felt were under threat and which rivers have seen an improvement over the years. More recently she has been working with Kianoosh on the project of getting more Eco-rafting Festivals to be held, where rafting as well as river conservation are introduced to locals and anyone else related to the river industry are brought in as well, such as equipment manufacturers and tour operators

Kianoosh Mehrabi Chair of Sustainability Committee
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Chair of Sustainability Committee

Kianoosh Mehrabi

  • Chair of Sustainability Committee
  • Trip Leader Grade 3
  • Raft Guide
  • Chief Judge

Kianoosh has an MA degree in Geography and Tourism Planning and has been planning and managing projects in the field of River Ecotourism and Eco-Rafting in Iran ever since. He has arranged rafting festivals and competitions as well as judge and guide training workshops.

He has been an IRF certified Raft Guide and Trip Leader  as well as IRF Race Judge since 2009, and has recently become certified as a Chief Judge.

He has explored numerous new rivers in Iran, such as the Karoun, Karkheh, Dez, Ghezel Ozan and Haraz Upper parts. He has managed a few river expeditions in Himalayas in India, Nepal, etc.

Kianoosh’s passion is Ecotourism and has 19 years of experience including River Expeditions, Wildlife Tours, Birdwatching Tours, Desert Safari, Jungle Safari, Climbing etc, and, since 1998, he is the Tour Manager and Managing Director of Ecotour Iran, the first Iranian Ecotourism Centre. He is also manager of Marcopolo Ecotourism Centre (Marco-Eco) the leading Iranian Travel Group & Holding since 2016. He does work cooperating with the UN in some projects; conservation of the cheetah in Iran, Ozone layer projects etc.

He has been Co-head of the RR&C Committee with Ms Emilia Begunova from 2015-2017; Founder and Head of Iran Rafting Association since 2011; Executive Manager of the Rafting Committee in the Iran Canoe Federation since 2015

Research and projects he has been, or is still, involved in include his MA Thesis on River Ecotourism in Iran which was selected as the national plan by Iran National Tourism Organization; plus various River Ecotourism Projects in a number of different provinces around Iran; and teaching “Ecotourism” and related subjects to ecotourism since 2003.

He has been working on expanding these projects world-wide, which is a slow process, but is gaining traction. He, together with Emilia, tried to get a Eco-Rafting Festival happening at the 2017 ERC and WRC, however, the plans need to be included by the organisers much earlier, so work will be started now with 2018 ERC and WRC and 2019. He feels being Chair of Recreational Rafting is the ideal place to continue to do this.

tbc Chair of Media & Marketing Committee

IRF Honorary Presidents

Rafael Gallo Honorary President (2019 - present)
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IRF Honorary President

Rafael Gallo

  • Honorary President
  • President (2006 – 2013)
  • Vice President (1997 – 2006)
  • Chair of Board of Directors
  • GTE Assessor
  • Chief Judge

Commending his decades of involvement, achievements, and integral role in the formation and development of the International Rafting Federation (IRF), Rafael Gallo was nominated as the first Honorary President of the IRF.

The new position was proposed by the current IRF President Joe Willis Jones, and approved by the IRF Board of Directors as an annex to the IRF Bylaws.  The annex states that “The (IRF) Congress may bestow the title of ‘Honorary President’, or ‘Honorary Member’, respectively, upon any former President or member of the Executive Committee for meritorious service to rafting and the IRF … Honorary Presidents shall primarily serve as an IRF Ambassador.” The nomination of Mr. Gallo will be considered for ratification at the IRF Congress in March 2019 in Australia during the next World Rafting Championships.

President Jones is pleased to have the honour of nominating Mr. Gallo in recognition for his years of commitment and service. “Everyone who takes part in rafting sport today is beholden to the dedication and effort of those that worked to create it.  Rafa’s years of service to rafting and to the IRF put us all in his debt. Without Rafa, it is likely that the IRF would not exist.”

Gallo is one of the original founders of the IRF. He served as the IRF’s first Vice-president, alongside President Peter Micheler, from 1997 to 2006, and then took over the IRF presidency from 2006 to 2013. Gallo has helped improve rafting safety rules and guide training around the world. He was also one of the first assessors for the IRF, which is the highest level for river guide training certification that allows him to certify instructors, who in turn can certify rafting guides.

“As a founding member of the IRF, Rafa was very integral to waking everyone up to the need for an international governing body for rafting. He has been a strong component of the IRF since it was created and having him as an Honorary President will ensure that the IRF can continue to benefit from his years of experience in the international rafting world,” said Sue Liell-Cock, IRF Secretary General.

“It feels great to have become part of innovation in the rafting world through my whitewater rafting company, Rios Tropicales, in Costa Rica, and become such a leader. I feel lucky to have been in that historic era at the beginning and had the opportunity to lead such an important organisation as the IRF with so many people from around the globe. It was a joining of minds from all over the world,” said Gallo. “The IRF has brought rafting to a more competitive level. You see people striving to be athletes and not just river guides, and they love rafting,” he added.

How the IRF began
Starting with the first Project RAFT event held on the Chuya River in Siberia during the 1989 Chuya Rally, people came from all over the world for the first time to compete together in river rafting.  Called “Russians and Americans for Teamwork”, the project was initiated by Russian and American rafters to override the political animosity between the two nations at the time, and to join together in the sport of rafting. The Chuya Rally proved to be a catalyst event that changed the world of rafting forever because of the contacts made and the friendships forged.

President Jones recalls first meeting Gallo at the Chuya Rally where they both participated as rafting athletes representing their respective countries. “Rafa and I became fast friends and he invited me to Costa Rica to work as a river guide and guide trainer for his newly-formed rafting company. The ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle of Costa Rica and the Project Raft ethos was fully merged at Rios Tropicales, and it attracted some of the best river guides in the world to work a season or two with Rafa’s company. ”

This first “World Rafting Championship” was replicated in 1990 on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, in 1991 on the Reventazón and Pacuare Rivers in Costa Rica, and on the Coruh River in Turkey in 1993. After that, it evolved into the Camel Whitewater Challenge from 1995 to 2001.

As international rafting competitions grew, drawing up to 50 teams to compete in Slalom and Down River events, there became a need for an official body that could represent and unite the various international rafting interests.

It was at the 1994 World Championship hosted on the Dora Baltea River in Italy that Rafael Gallo and Peter Micheler saw the necessity to form an international rafting organisation that could represent all competitors, guides, and aspects of rafting. “People were having a lot of fun competing against one another but it needed to be organised much better,” said Gallo.  “Everyone showed up to this World Rafting Championship and discovered there were no set rules. It was very chaotic. The rafts were different sizes, the rules kept changing along the way, and the organisers had no clear idea as to how to run an event.  We knew if international raft competition was going to survive, we needed to change the model and implement an organisational structure and rules for raft racing.”

The founding group – Lee Porter, Peter Micheler, Rafael Gallo, Tony Hansen, Sue Liell-Cock, Neil Baxter, Glenn Lewman, Zeljko Kelemen and Thomas Karas – met in 1997 at the Augsburg Eiskanal in Augsburg, Germany – Micheler’s home base and site of the 1972 Summer Olympics’ canoe slalom event. There, they drafted the first raft race rules and organisation statutes, and in October of that year the IRF was officially launched at the 1997 Camel White Water Challenge (CWWC) event.

The first official IRF World Championship – run jointly with the CWWC – was held in Costa Rica in 1998 on the Class 5 section of the Reventazón River, hosted by Gallo and Rios Tropicales. This is where the rules to govern raft racing were finalized. Later, in 2001, the IRF World Championships separated from the CWWC.

20 Years of Success with the IRF
As the IRF competitions developed, so did the need to create a universal training system for raft guiding.

In 1999, at the IRF World Championship on the Orange River in South Africa, where Gallo acted as the first chief judge of an IRF event, he was involved in creating a guide training and education system that would be compatible for river rafting anywhere in the world.

“We wanted to create a method of assessing and certifying the basic skills and knowledge that a rafting guide should have,” Gallo said. “We adopted it right away in 1999 with our guides in Costa Rica.”

Gallo again was chief judge for the IRF World Championships in 2005 in Ecuador and in 2007 in South Korea. He hosted a second IRF World Championship in Costa Rica in 2011 which was the first ever Carbon Neutral World Championship in any sport.

“By this time, IRF competitions were not festivals. They were full of pro athletes. People were training, getting sponsors and taking it very seriously,” said Gallo. “It was great. We were accomplishing our objective to create a world-class competition. We were already positioning ourselves to get rafting into the Olympics.”

In 2009, Gallo was inducted into the International Whitewater Hall of Fame for being an advocate for conservation and a leader in river rafting in the world.

The future of the IRF
“Having ambassadors around the world is very valuable to promote the IRF and put it forward in the right places. The IRF Committees can turn to Rafael for advice and assistance in areas where his knowledge or expertise can assist,” said Liell-Cock.
“For me, becoming an honorary president is a great way to continue participating in the future of the IRF,” noted Gallo. “With 20-plus years of experience, I can be a mentor who has ‘been there and done that’ to help the new leaders who are guiding the rafting world as it is growing and growing.”