What is the IRF

The official world governing body for rafting
Since 1997, the International Rafting Federation (IRF) is recognised as the world governing body for Rafting Sport

We are a non-profit, democratic, global affiliation of sporting entities and personalities, responsible for fostering fair, credible and legitimate international rafting competition at all levels. The IRF includes entities such as national rafting federations, associate organisations, athletes, coaches, guides, instructors and recreational operating partners around the world. The IRF organises the World Rafting Championship (WRC), a top tier competition between the most recognised and celebrated rafting athletes in the world who gather together once a year to represent their respective nations. The IRF also organises or oversees a tremendous variety of continental, regional and local rafting competitions and championships.

The IRF is a supporter of the Olympic Movement

Our purpose in sport is to promote Olympic values (called Olympism) in order to place sport at the service of humanity for a better world. IRF competitions closely follow the Olympic model and International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendations, while remaining true to the traditions and history of our sport. The IRF is committed to strengthening the integrity of our member organisations and protecting clean athletes. The IRF supports the fight against doping and any other forms of cheating in sport and is fully committed to a strong code of ethics, transparency, good governance and accountability.

The IRF is in the forefront of raft safety worldwide

Recognised as the world body which oversees the certification and training of professional river rafting guides, the IRF works closely with national organisations and government bodies by offering the only rafting guide certification program accepted worldwide. Through our various courses and certifications, we can ensure a global standard of guides while continually evolving raft techniques to keep everyone safer on rafting excursions.

The IRF is deeply committed to protecting the rivers of our planet

We recognise that humans are not the owners of our planet, but instead are its caretakers and stewards. We believe free flowing rivers are necessary for a healthy world, and we strive to protect them from senseless destruction. Our intimate connection with rivers and the natural environment places us in a key role dedicated towards educating others to ensure that future generations enjoy sustainable access to clean water and free flowing rivers.

The IRF is about bringing the world of rafting together

So we can all benefit from our interaction. This interaction may involve anything from competing at the world championship level to being part of a local grassroots event in your hometown. Or it could be that once-in-a-lifetime experience of going on a commercial raft trip locally or around the world, whether it be for 1 hour or multiple days.


The International Rafting Federation (IRF) strives to find solutions which satisfy the demands of rafting while preserving those ethical values, of which they are the trustees. Rafting has a social value and a source of freewill and perseverance, one of the last strongholds of fair-play and respect for opponents, an initiation into team spirit and camaraderie. Rafting is a sport and recreational pursuit that is accessible to the general public through commercial tourism operators, sport and recreation clubs. Rafting is a low environmental impact activity that creates awareness of conservation and environmental appreciation while show-casing the skill elements involved in the sport.

Mission Statement

The IRF, the trustee of the rafting tradition, maintains and promotes the conditions which encourages the practice and the development of rafting at all competition, commercial and recreational levels. The IRF aims to facilitate the growing demands of the rafting fraternity through a unified body that deals exclusively with rafting issues and factors which influence the development of rafting.

Definition of Rafting

Rafting is an outdoor recreational and sport activity which uses an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other moving body of water. This is often done on whitewater rivers in a natural environment, and requires physical skill using paddle and/or oar to control the raft’s direction and speed. Participating in rafting sport creates lasting social benefits by developing healthy living habits that provide physical benefits such as developing coordination, physical fitness, and strength. The inherent risk and the need for teamwork improves social skills and supports positive mental and physical health.


The IRF is a non-government and non-profit international organisation for the activity of rafting.


The IRF will carry out its activities in compliance with the principles of:

  1. equality between all the members, all the athletes, all types of rafters and officials, without racial, political, religious, or other discrimination;
  2. non-interference in the internal affairs of affiliated federations; however, shall monitor all activities which affect the IRF either in part or in its entirety.
  3. the non-profit-making purpose, which means the financial resources shall be used only to pursue the purposes set forth in these Statutes. IRF members have no rights thereto.

The objectives of the IRF are to:

  1. Facilitate the growing needs and demands of the worldwide rafting fraternity through a unified body that deals exclusively with rafting issues and factors that influence the development of rafting.
  2. Promote rafting in all countries by encouraging the establishment of national rafting federations and associations.
  3. Represent and defend the interests of rafting before all national and international authorities.
  4. Act as an advisory resource to the media, educational institutions, government agencies, and the general public on rafting issues.
  5. Promote and encourage sportsmanship, fair play, and friendship between all members of the rafting fraternity.
  6. Organise continental and world rafting championships, and establish standardised rules for rafting competition.
  7. Promote rafting as an Olympic sport and as a Paralympic sport. The IRF shall observe the general and fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter, the IOC manual on sport and the environment and no provision of these ByLaws shall be deemed to conflict with or derogate from those principles.
  8. Train and qualify international judges for all IRF sanctioned competitions.
  9. Develop and maintain international guidelines and standards for safe rafting practices, and offer comprehensive training and assessment programs to promote these standards.
  10. Recommend raft guiding and river rescue services, standards and training programs.
  11. Work with rafting tour operators and their associations to help safeguard the rafting industry.
  12. Encourage the development of recreational rafting as a contribution to a healthy lifestyle for all ages and abilities.
  13. Promote the conservation and protection of rivers and river environments, and educate the public in sustainable environmental stewardship practices.