Our river family is growing with great news from the welcoming and beautiful community of Villa Pehuenia and Moquehue in Neuquén, Argentina where we held last year’s IRF World Rafting Championship. The event created a buzz in the community and has grown into a demand for learning how to raft. Stepping up to the challenge was Waikiki Rafting Masters (Argentina Masters Men who came second overall).
The new rafting school started this week on Lake Aluminé with participants of all ages coming to take part. Having witnessed the success of the IRF competition, students of the local Mapuche community are now also taking part in the rafting school. Participants are learning about raft racing, recreational rafting and some have expressed interest in learning to be a raft guide.
We asked Martin Miguel Arreseigor, team captain of Waikiki Rafting Masters how he got involved: Continue reading Growing the rafting family in Argentina
Pato River in the background, Rafael Gallo (front) poses with ex-guerrillas Duberney (far left) and Hermides (far right). Centre are Costa Rican guides Max Solano (left) and Roy Obando
A Costa Rican rafting mission led by the company Rios Tropicales and the United Nations traveled to Colombia to meet with a group of ex-guerrillas from the FARC. Teaching them to tame the rapids of the Pato River, in complete peace, was the reason for the singular adventure.
By Alexánder Sánchez
It’s a quiet and a particularly cool night. A pair of crickets hum through the bushes and the river roars imposingly through the mountains. All is good without bullets, all is good without anyone dead. It is a quiet evening in the heart of the Caquetá jungle, a Colombian territory traditionally dominated by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by the Spanish acronym FARC).
Suddenly, a peasant voice sharply cuts the calm and from the first strum of his guitar to a group of Costa Ricans, waiting quietly and expectantly, their soul breaks… “… Today I tell you, brother, I no longer shoot, for the peace of my country, I left my good rifle … Already the bombers cannot be heard coming and the noises at night let me sleep … I am well accommodated, I smile and even talk to soldiers (military) … And my family knows about me …”
Before a softened and “goosebumped” audience, this is how young Freyi sings it. His musical confession portrays his stormy past, but above all, his hopeful present. Freyi is no longer a guerrilla; now he is a powerful rafting guide.
Continue reading Exchanging rifles for paddles: Ticos and ex-guerillas of the FARC
The IRF’s 2019 Congress will be held in the evenings of the 13 and 15 of May, at the WRC 2019 Event Head Quarters in Tully, Queensland, Australia.
Please Note: Proposals to be put before Congress:
Who can put proposals in? Each IRF Member (Full, not Provisional), IRF Executive Officers, and IRF Committee Chairs have the right to submit proposals (which must include detail with reasons and supporting documents) and reports to the Ordinary IRF Congress.
Authorized proposals: Proposals originating from an IRF Member must be signed by their president or authorized representative.
Provisional Proposals: To ensure all members have sufficient time to examine and discuss all proposals Provisional Proposals are now requested ahead of time – these need not be fully detailed yet but are to give the Exec Com enough information so that they can decide whether it complies with IRF Bylaw requirements (more detail below) and so can be included in the Agenda:
- Provisional proposals that request changes to the IRF’s Bylaws must be in the hands of the IRF Secretary General no later than the 13 February.
- Other provisional proposals must be in the hands of the IRF Secretary General no later than the 28 February. Any proposal received after this but before the 7 April will be considered individually and if it is deemed necessary and there is enough time for Exec Com to fully consider it, then it will be included. No proposals will be considered if received after the 7 April.
Procedure after receipt of a provisional proposal – the Executive Committee will determine if it is suitable to add to the Congress agenda. In this capacity the Executive Committee may:
- Ask for additional information or clarification;
- Return a proposal for revision;
- Reject an unsuitable proposal.
Provisional proposals may NOT be included in the Congress agenda if they:
- Do NOT fall under the jurisdiction of the IRF Congress;
Are not clearly written in the English language;
Are not submitted in the correct format;
Are repetitive of existing Bylaws, rules or policies;
Are deemed to be offensive, illegal, or might jeopardize the name, reputation, or standing of the IRF.
Please contact IRF Admin if you have any questions.
#AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #StrongerTogether #WeAreOne #WeAreIRF
This week we meet larger than life, character of a thousand words and improvisations, and master of hilariously bad jokes (especially when he translates them from one language to another), Dragan Babic. Many will know him from racing in Bosnia and Herzegovina OM but also he’s quite often behind a whistle, stop watch or clipboard as part of one of the regular IRF timing teams. It would do no justice for me to write about him so here he is in his own words…
How did you get started in rafting?
First of all I am coming from a family of paddling people because my father and uncle are the one of the best canoe double paddlers in ex-Yugoslavia so I was meant to be a paddler before anything else. As many of you know my country had a big civil war and until 2000 we did not have much contact with sports and activities. So my first contact with paddling was in 2000. My friends Boris Potočnik and Srdjan Šušnica in 2002 formed a rafting club named “Argonaut” and invited me to join and start rafting. That was my first contact with rafting boat but bear in mind that in that time I was paddling canoe slalom and downriver and I did not have time to train seriously. In 2010 I formed my own club and named it Dayak club. Now you must think I made a spelling error but no Dayak is a traditional boat in Banja Luka and it is 7m long and it is completely made from wood and you drive it with wooden stick that is named Dayak. In that club we had 6 people that was in some part involved in paddling sport and then we decided to make rafting team and to go try competing in Bosnian rafting league. After that – all else is history 😀
How did you get into rafting?
My biggest motivation is my team and friendship we have between us. I think that is our biggest strength and key of our success. And of course traveling all-round world and doing that with my friends.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Dragan Babic
In our final River Family interview for 2018, we meet Vedat Vural – a pioneer of rafting in Turkey. Before 1990, he worked as a mountain and expedition guide, always getting excited every time he saw rivers carving through the mountains and valleys. It all seemed a mystery. Where does it go? Which places does it go through? What beauties of Nature are offered in its secret valleys? There was only one way of finding out the answer; go with the flow. Vedat had to find a way to travel with rivers in the same harmony, first making his own raft from tractor inner tubes meshed around with fishing net and circular plywood floor. The first test was on Turkey’s Köprüçay river in summer 1988. To put it simply: it failed. Vedat recalled that they just drifted down the river without any control. However, this is when he got the bug. The mission now was to find a proper raft to explore the legendary historical and holy Euphrates river. There were some rafts in Istanbul made for an Austrian company, but the company had changed their mind about buying them. This was their chance. With one of these rafts, Vedat led the first descent of the Euphrates and Coruh rivers becoming a rafting pioneer in Turkey.
What motivates you to keep rafting?
I am in love with Nature. Weather, environment, conditions, crew, rapids are constantly changing. Honing my decision making skills, singing songs all the way. Sharing my experiences with my crew is the highest motivation for me.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Vedat Vural
If you haven’t met Graham “Fredi” Maifredi, you’re either brand new to rafting or been living under a rock for the past 25+ years. One of the biggest characters of our River Family, this week we meet the one and only (and let’s face it the world is not ready for more than one of him!), Fredi. He’s been rafting since time eternal, was involved in Project RAFT, was one of the founding members of the IRF, has his own video series on Youtube, been a raft guide for 28 years, raced for most of those and is Event Director for the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championship in Tully, Australia.
How did you get into rafting?
I started rafting after completing my boiler making/Structural Steel apprenticeship. I had 6 weeks paid leave up my sleeve, and decided to start a guiding course in November 1989 and after completing the course by Jan 1990 I got my certificate. Of the 7 guides that completed the course on the Tully river , two were successful – myself and Radar. The Tully River was crazy busy in those days… 50+ rafts used to run this technical river 300+ clients per day. It was all action and logistics. Such an extreme change to what my life was / used to be in ole Tully town.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Graham “Fredi” Maifredi
Cast your mind back to 1985, now imagine the Persian Gulf, the seaside port of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. Somewhere out there on the water is a young Kianoosh Mehrabi! For many years he’d watched videos of white water rafting and kayaking but didn’t know how or where to get into whitewater sports. So he started with many other water sports such as swimming, flat water canoeing and kayaking, water skiing etc, but they weren’t enough for him. They didn’t satisfy his adventurous side so he kept searching for true adrenaline sport.
Kianoosh stepped into the world of tourism in 1996. A little later he joined Ecotour Iran, the first and leading Iranian Ecotourism Center as tour manager. There he found the chance of working with ecotourism experts. At this point he started combining Nature and Adventure with tourism. He loved this job a lot but still it was not enough – because he had less time for his on water activities.
How did you get started in rafting?
I was on a wildlife tour in India looking for Bengal Tigers in 2002. After finishing the tour I had a few days free time so I decided to go to Uttrakhan Province, the holy province for Indians, the origin of the holy Ganges River. It was not only the most famous place for yoga and meditation but also a newly famous place for rafting. I joined a rafting tour for the first time and I fell in love with rafting. I found my real love!
I combined rafting and tourism. It was the best combination! I could have wet adventure and tourism together so I had enough time for both tourism and adventure sport. White water rafting in Iran was a relatively new adventure activity started in 2003 with early expeditions and rafting trips to the Himalayas (India and Nepal) arranged by Kianoosh Mehrabi, the first Iranian raft guide and river expedition leader. Many Iranians had the chance to paddle in the Himalayan Rivers – Alaknanda, Ganga, Trisuli, etc.
After gaining knowledge and experience in 2007 he devised “River Ecotourism in Iran” which was considered by the Iranian Tourism Organizations as a national development plan for the country. The plan was based on River Tourism safety standards and Eco-tourism principals. The main aims were: promoting white water activities in tourism and sport, preserving nature and conserving rivers, empowering local communities by employment and economic development.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Kianoosh Mehrabi
The World Paddle Awards are a prestigious award voted on annually by the public and a select committee of paddle sports peers. This year the rafting world is fortunate to have three nominations in with a chance. But they need your help to ensure they make it to the finalists and ultimately in order to win in their categories.
Read more about each of the nominees below and follow the link to vote for them. Be sure to click on the big black “Thumbs Up” 👍🏻 at the bottom of each nominee description to ensure your vote is counted.
Continue reading Vote for our World Rafting Champions in the World Paddle Awards
Owner/operator of Ultimate Descents in the land of the long white cloud (New Zealand) since 2002, Chair of the New Zealand River Association since 2014 and trip leader since 2000, this week we meet Tim Marshall. No stranger to the raft race circuit nor the IRF Guide Training & Education system, Tim is a senior 4/5 raft guide, river rescue instructor and raft guide assessor in NZ. He saw the light in 1998 when he realised he could work in the outdoors doing something he loves.
What motivates you to keep rafting?
The lifestyle, hanging in nature and showing what a beautiful world we live in to those who don’t get the chance to be in nature much. Meeting new people daily. Continue reading We are river family – meet Tim Marshall
Jib Ellison and Misha Kolchevnikov
As we ready ourselves for our 17th IRF World Rafting Championship, we take a look back at what it took to create this global phenomenon which started 21 years ago and boasts membership from over 50 nations across six continents, runs inclusive worldwide raft race competitions several times each year and can lay claim to hundreds of thousands of clients being safely guided down the rivers of the world each year by IRF qualified raft guides.
Cast your mind back several decades to a time when the world was under threat of nuclear annihilation at the press of a button due to the cold war between the USA and Russia (then Soviet Union). Jib Ellison, a California whitewater river guide, was searching for a thesis project to complete his university political science degree. Jib was aware of how rivers had the power to unite strangers, forcing them to work together as a team, and often creating lasting friendships long after the trip was over. His vision was to create a project to put Russians and Americans literally in the same boat on a raging whitewater river where they needed to work together for mutual survival despite differences. He mailed a letter (remember this was before email and social media existed!) to the Soviet government outlining his project and expected to receive no reply. Thankfully, his idea got to the right person, Mikhail ‘Misha’ Kolchevnikov, a pioneer rafter from Siberia and designated Russian Master of Sport. He and Jib set out to make it happen and from this was born Project RAFT (Russians and Americans For Teamwork).
Continue reading What did it take to start the International Rafting Federation?