Continental Committees are Sub-Committees of the Sport & Competition Committee (S&C Com) whose remit is Raft Racing.

Bylaw 44 - Continental Sub-Committees
  1. Continental Sub-Committees shall serve under the Sport and Competition Committee, and are responsible for assessing and advising the Sport and Competition Committee and the Executive Committee on bids for Continental Championship events, and to conduct votes on sport and competition issues relevant to their continent.
  2. Members of the Continental Sub-Committee shall be elected from the Member Organisations of their continent during each Ordinary Congress or within two (2) months after the Congress has adjourned.
  3. Each IRF Member Organization in good standing shall be eligible to offer representatives from their organization to stand for committee election.
  4. A maximum of two (2) representatives from a single nation shall be eligible for election.
  5. Votes on all issues shall follow the general voting protocols that are established in ARTICLE 29.
Bylaw Annexes to Article 44

Continental Sub-Committees shall:

  1. Endeavor to have seven to ten (7-10) elected members.
  2. Conduct votes among IRF Member Organizations on relevant Continental issues.
  3. Handle Continental Sport and Competition issues that the IRF Executive Committee requests of them.
  4. Report all activities and minutes to the IRF Executive Committee.

Euro Race Committee members:

Emilia Begunova

Emilia Begunova

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Euro Race 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 on the BOD since 2013. 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

Peter Micheler

Peter Micheler

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Euro Race 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 was a Vice-President for some time too.

Pieter Bekkers

Pieter Bekkers

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Euro Race Committee

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 have happened and the 2015 WRC would not have run as well as it did!

Aleksei Shirokov

Alexei Shirokov

Aleš Danek

Aleš Danek

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Euro Race Committee

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.

Goran Lolic

Goran Lolic

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Euro Race Committee

Goran Lolic

  • Judge Assessor

Goran is from Bosnia and Herzegovina and lives in the town of Banja Luka. He is a Lawyer of Internal Affairs, working in Republic of Srpska Ministry.

He first made contact with rafting in 2002 on the river Vrbas near his home town. He is one of the founder members of the Rafting Klub Kanjon who have been hosts to several Euro Champs and one World Champs. He was involved in the organising of the 2005 R4 Euro Rafting Champs, 2009 R6 World Rafting Champs, 2015 R6 Euro Rafting Champs, 2019 Euro Rafting Champs and more than 20 other rafting competitions on the River Vrbas.

He became an IRF Judge in 2006 and since then has participated in all A level IRF events (WRC), in all B level IRF events in Europe (ERC) and more than 70 rafting competitions at C and D level. As an IRF Chief Judge and now as an IRF Assessor Judge he has run more than 11 courses for new judges. He is a member of the Sport & Competition Committee and Judges Committee.

Sean Clarke

Sean Clarke

Mihai Mares

Mihai Mares

Bert Kanora

Bert Kanora

Ine Skjorten

Ine Skjørten Wilson

Committee member no photo

Rado Orkocky

Committee member no photo

Martin Prochazca

Committee member no photo

Florian Kain

Committee member no photo

Janko Tavcar

Pan American Race Committee members:

Eric Boudreau

Eric Boudreau

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Pan American Race Committee

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.

Joe Willis Jones

Joseph Willis Jones

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Pan American Race Committee

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.

Gunther Atem

Gunter Atem

Lucas da Silva (Core)

Lucas da Silva

Johanna Arguello

Johana Arguello

Committee member no photo

John Ancito

Committee member no photo

Dora Fuentes

Committee member no photo

Cesar Diaz

Asia / Oceania Race Committee members:

Kianoosh Mehrabi

Kianoosh Mehrabi

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Asia / Oceania Race 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 on the IRF BOD since 2015; 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, worked 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. He feels being Chair of Sustainability is the ideal place to continue to do this.

Yuni Yunita

Yuni Yunita

Graham Maifredi

Graham Maifredi

Committee member no photo

Nino Dai

Committee member no photo

Daigo Shibata

Committee member no photo

Tapan Gurung

Committee member no photo

Mohamad Hafiz

Committee member no photo

Raewyn Larcombe