San José, Costa Rica. Under the theme, “Risk management for a prosperous future”, the first-ever World White Water Rafting Summit (WWWRS) will be held at the National Conference and Convention Centre in San Jose, Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019.
The historic event was announced on Saturday, May 18, 2019, during the IRF World Rafting Championship at the Tully River in Australia by Rafael Gallo, Honorary President of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) and President of the Costa Rica Sports Association for Adventure and Paddling (ADAR). The Summit has the backing of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).
The WWWRS will convene experts involved in the regulation, certification and operation of rafting with the mission to modernise rules and procedures of the IRF worldwide. Rafting dignitaries attending the Summit will include Joe Willis Jones, IRF President and Chair of the Board of Directors; Jib Ellison, Founder of Project RAFT (Russians and Americans For Teamwork); and Julie Munger, CEO and Founder of Sierra Rescue International and the Western Regional Director for Rescue 3 International in the USA.
“It was decided to hold the World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica because the country is following a model of cooperation between the government and the private sector for the certification of guides and rafting companies. As well, Costa Rica is an iconic place for rafting in the world due to the beauty of its rivers,” explained Gallo.
Rafael Gallo announces the WWWRS at the IRF World Rafting Championship 2019 in Australia
Costa Rica has positioned itself for many years as a leading tourism destination in sustainability and adventure activities. “We are very proud of the challenge of assuming the headquarters of this Summit, since Costa Rica is undoubtedly the ideal scenario for its extensive biodiversity, the generous endowment of its rivers, and its permanent initiatives to improve tourism,” said Juan Carlos Borbón, Marketing Department of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).
Summit participants will be able to acquire knowledge and share their experiences of the different rafting practices carried out around the world. Additionally, the representatives of government entities and the creators of standards will be informed about IRF proposals on different topics.
Among the topics that will be addressed at the WWWRS are the advances in guide certifications, the latest techniques of swift-water rescue, the environmental risks that can occur in different rivers of the world, and the need to increase knowledge in first-aid and specialise in emergency management in remote wilderness areas. The use of alcohol and drugs among guides also will be discussed.
“Another very important issue that will be discussed is the language barrier between guides and clients from other countries. For example, New Zealand and Australia are seeing an increase in Chinese tourists who are seeking rafting trips, and clear communication is paramount, especially in the case of an emergency,” Gallo explained.
Summit attendance is expected from more than 250 participants from at least 25 countries. For more information:
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
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?
No stranger to racing, guiding or safety training, this week we meet Steve Nomchong. Steve grew up in southern reaches of Australia, experienced rafting at a relatively young age and got hooked.
Steve was too young to vote in 1983 when a proposed dam that would have flooded the Franklin River in Tasmania became a major issue in that year’s federal election. It took a few years but he got the chance to raft the Franklin in early 1986 and see what all the fuss had been about. That trip changed the course of his life.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Steve Nomchong
Former FARC-EP Combatants in Colombia Trade Guns for Paddles
By Shannon Farley
Former combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP in Spanish) might seem unlikely whitewater rafting guides.
Rafael Gallo helping train ex-FARC-EP combatants in river rafting in Colombia.
However, a project supported by the United Nations at the Miravalle Territorial Area for Training and Reincorporation (TATR) in the Municipality of San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá Department, is encouraging ex-guerilla fighters to trade their guns for rafting paddles in a new sustainable ecotourism endeavor.
Rafael Gallo, honorary president of the International Rafting Federation (IRF), traveled to the Miravalle TATR at the beginning of August with a delegation of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia to assess the viability of developing a commercial rafting operation on the Pato River.
“Going rafting in the Pato River is very symbolic because you are part of the peace process in Colombia,” said Gallo, CEO of the Costa Rica adventure tour operator, Rios Tropicales. “Thousands of armed fighters have put down their Continue reading River of Reconciliation in Colombia
A Judges course will be run during the 2018 World Rafting Championship in Argentina. Anyone keen to do the course should email IRF Admin.
The details are:
Dates: 5 – 10 Nov (during WRC)
Place: Event Headquarters, Argentina
Cost: $US30 to be paid to Instructor on the first day of the course. This is a once off payment.
Schedule and what is expected of you:
- 5th Nov, 9am to 12am – attend Judges Orientation Workshop with all Judges and Jury
- 2pm to 5pm – attend Judges course run by Judge Instructors
- 6th Nov, 9am – 12am – work with Official Judges at the Sprint Race as an Assistant Judge Trainee
- 2pm – 5pm – attend Judges course run by Judge Instructors
- 7th – 10th Nov, all day: work with Official Judges at the event as an Assistant Judge Trainee
- 10th Nov: write Judges exam. If you pass the exam and the assessment you will be certified as a General Judge.
What you need to provide: A copy of the IRF Race Rules as it is on the IRF website plus the two addendums. Own pens and paper. All accommodation, meals and transport are also for your own cost.
Register: Please let IRF Admin know if you will be attending so we can be sure to include you in any updates and details and have sufficient space for you.
By Fieke Reijntjes
A good bottle of wine with a special rafting label
Putting the equipment sponsorship to the side, the question most people would like to know the answer to is: How do we raise money? There isn’t a straight forward answer and that’s probably because raising money isn’t easy and it will cost time and effort. Finding financial support can contribute massively to more enjoyment by taking pressure away and feeling valued whilst training for and competing in our beautiful sport.
There are a few really successful ways of raising money for rafting showcased by different teams. This article might give you a few ideas’ to start your own projects or find a sponsor. The below is tested by teams from the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain and Brazil. Continue reading Sponsorship, how do we get it?
The International Rafting Federation would like to extend a warm welcome to the Rafting Sports Association of Pakistan (RSA) as a new member.
Pakistan has many amazing rivers and there is plenty of potential to promote rafting in Pakistan especially on the Sindh, Jehlum, Neelum and Kunhar Rivers. Right now only one river is being used by the companies for rafting and that is River Kunha River, but soon there will be rafting on the Sindh as well. Continue reading Pakistan joins the IRF
Most of you are aware that the newly created World Rafting Federation (WRF) and certain people in the International Canoe Federation (ICF) signed a cooperative agreement shortly after we (the IRF) filed our application for GAISF/Sport Accord membership. Although the details have been kept secret, the IRF is happy to comment on the agreement should those responsible release it publicly.
The ultimate goal of Olympic inclusion for rafting remains a top objective of the IRF. The first step to Olympic inclusion is membership of GAISF/SportAccord. Our submission for membership is acknowledged and progressing through the application process.
GAISF/SportAccord and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) require that only one internationally recognised body may represent a sport. By creating a second international body, the leaders of the WRF have delayed IOC recognition of rafting and therefore delayed rafting’s introduction into the Olympic Programme.
Continue reading Rafting and the Olympics: The Road Ahead