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?
The International Rafting Federation is proud to announce a long term partnership with leading waterproof bag designers Aquapac. As a market leader in the design and production of waterproof bags since forming in 1983, Aquapac have grown and developed with sporting, rescue and recreational water based activities. Recently they made the jump into rafting with a sponsorship deal with the Australian Open Men’s Rafting Team.
Today we proudly announce our partnership with Aquapac providing our internationally recognised IRF certified raft guides and world renowned raft race teams with access to great quality waterproof products at discounted rates.
Over the coming month, all IRF qualified raft guides will be sent details of how to obtain their unique code to access discounts on the great range of Aquapac products. Race teams attending the IRF World Rafting Championship in Neuquén, Argentina next month will receive their unique codes at the event. Other raft race teams will be given access to discount codes in early 2019.
As we look forward to our 21st year of IRF World Rafting Championships, and Aquapac leap into their 35th year of great products, we welcome the long lasting partnership across the rivers and waterscapes of the world.
Check out the great range of products now: aquapac.net
#AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #aquapac #immerseyourself
Current manager at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, team captain for the GB Open Men’s team, avid freestyle kayaker (when he gets the chance) and recent convert to the world of Triathlons, this week we meet Pas Blackwell. Pas started getting heavily into freestyle kayaking after university so moved to Nottingham to be able to train more regularly. After working a few different jobs and struggling to find time to get to the river he decided to simply work on the river and loved it.
What motivates you to keep paddling/rafting?
I don’t think there is any better way to see different countries than from the river. You are off the normal tourist routes and you get to meet the people and experience the culture properly. Rafting and paddling has taken me to so many amazing places I would never have seen or possibly even heard about, so this sport and hobby has opened so many doors. Although I am coming to the end of my competitive career I will always be following the river to some great spots around the world and I am really looking forward to getting back in touch with the social side of things.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Pas Blackwell
The International Rafting Federation is very sad to hear of the untimely and sudden loss of Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) President, Mr. Patrick Baumann last Friday. The IRF would like to offer all staff, and members of GAISF our deepest condolences. Our thoughts are with Mr. Baumann’s wife, children and family.
By all accounts, Mr. Baumann was widely considered one of the most influential sports leaders of his generation; an inspirational leader whose vision, drive and enthusiasm characterised his work on behalf of GAISF, the IOC, Fiba, and sport worldwide. It is difficult to imagine what a shock this must be to all who knew him personally.
The IRF recognises him as the driving force behind the transformation of GAISF following his election in 2016. These visionary changes are directly responsible for the opportunity that the IRF has been given to apply for GAISF Observer Status, and to eventually join our kindred sport federations as a member of the GAISF fraternity. For this, the IRF shall remain eternally grateful, and it is with great regret that our federation did not have the good fortune to work with Mr. Baumann as a GAISF member.
With our sincere sympathies and on behalf of all IRF members,
Joseph Willis Jones
International Rafting Federation – President
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
Fate determined Bhupi’s white water career – he was fortunate enough to grow up in the small village ‘Sirasu’ based on the side of India’s holiest river, the mighty Ganges in Northern India. The time was right and since he’s rafted across the globe. This week we meet the globe trotter that is Bhupendra (Bhupi) Singh.
When he was a kid, rafting and kayaking in India was picking up. When someone told him that these raft guides and kayakers actually got paid to play on the river, he was sold. Later he realised that there was a much bigger world out there than he could have ever imagined.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Bhupi Singh