Wilderness medicine expert Abigail Polsby will be a distinguished speaker at the first International Rafting Federation (IRF) World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019. Polsby is the CFO and co-founder of Sierra Rescue International in California and directs the Sierra Rescue Wilderness Medical Program. She is an Instructor Trainer for Rescue 3 International and a certified American Canoe Association (ACA) Swiftwater Rescue Instructor. She will address the critical reasons why adventure travel outfitters should go beyond basic first aid and train their guides in wilderness first aid, as well as give practical steps for handling common injuries that happen in remote areas.
“When you’re out in the wilderness, you can’t always call 911 and just wait for help to arrive. You are the help. With a little bit of training and practice, you can actually do things to help someone who is injured,” said Polsby. “It is an adventure tourism company’s responsibility to take care of their clients. Guides need to know not only how to Continue reading Wilderness Medicine to be a major topic at the IRF World White Water Rafting Summit
Leading world expert on river rescue and International Whitewater Hall of Fame member Julie Munger will be one of the esteemed international speakers at the inaugural World White Water Rafting Summit of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) from October 8 to 13, 2019 in Costa Rica. Munger, who is CEO and co-founder of Sierra Rescue International and the Western Regional Director for Rescue 3 International in the U.S., will lead a dynamic interactive workshop on the latest innovative techniques in river rescue and wilderness emergency management. She will address the importance of professionalism in guiding and why river rescue should be a part of every company’s everyday rafting practices, like any other risk management and risk assessment.
“River rescue should not just be focused on guides getting certification but should be incorporated into a rafting company’s everyday operations along with planning and prevention. Everyone needs to work together to keep the river environment safe,” said Munger.
Rafting and adventure travel professionals from across the globe will come together at the Summit to share their experience and best practices and to develop plans for Continue reading Julie Munger, world expert on river rescue to speak at the IRF World White Water Rafting Summit
International author, social entrepreneur and raft guide, Ken Streater, will discuss how raft guides and adventure travel outfitters can transform their community and the world to inspire trust, ensure safety, and better the environment.
How raft guides and adventure travel outfitters can transform their communities and the world will be the discussion presented by keynote speaker Ken Streater during the first World White Water Rafting Summit of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) from October 8 to 13, 2019 in Costa Rica.
Streater, who is an international speaker, author, social entrepreneur and adventure travel outfitter from the U.S., is one of many international specialists who will lead powerful, engaging and interactive workshops at the Summit to be held at the Costa Rica Convention Center and the world-renowned Pacuare River. With the purpose of building on safety foundations in the adventure travel and sports industries, the Summit is backed by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT). Over 250 participants from 25 countries are expected to attend.
“I am pleased to speak to a powerful group of rafting guides and outfitters about their capacity to transform their community and the world. River guides have a unique opportunity and obligation to Continue reading Ken Streater aims to empower the rafting community at the IRF World White Water Rafting Summit
I remember attending my first ever rescue class in the UK in 1996 as a fresh faced 19 year old kayaker. I attended the course as I wanted to learn more about rescue and river safety.
During this time in the UK and Europe there was this new trend called the “Clean line principle” that was starting to gather momentum. Stories were coming to light that the handles on the end of your throwbag were potentially dangerous and could cause a snag hazard resulting in potential fatal accidents.
“Clean line principle”
Any throwbag with a loop big enough to get a hand through is an entrapment hazard
The clean line principle advises us that a loop in either end of a throwbag is a potential snag hazard. This means that the loop could potentially become snagged in a tree root or around a rock thus creating a potential entrapment hazard. We have always been taught that “Ropes and moving water are a bad mixture”. A swimmer or an object could then become entrapped in the snagged rope escalating a bad situation. By removing any loops from your throwbag you were reducing the probability of creating a snag hazard.
In my eyes over the years the clean line principle has now evolved into the “Clean Principle”. We have taken our leanings from the clean line principle and applied them to our personal Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) set up.
Unfortunately on my travels I am still seeing and hearing lots of stories of entrapment’s and near miss situations that could have been avoided if the “clean principle ” had been applied. Continue reading Keep it clean !!
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:
by Mark Hirst
Welcome to the IRF family Zach, Aaron, Dustin, Emily, Ellie, Michael, Brodie, Thomas, Santiago, Dave, Will, Sarah, Heidi!!!
I had been email in email contact with Zachary from Northwest Rafting in Oregon USA for over 2 years trying to find the time for Zach to attend an instructor workshop. His drive and enthusiasm were really impressive
We both finally decided that Zach & his crew at Northwest Rafting should host their own IRF workshop in the states.
Considering that the rafting industry in the USA is probably the largest in the world the IRF is massively under-represented in the USA, but this is changing fast.
Continue reading IRF gets a great GTE workshop done in Oregon, USA!
This is always a very busy time in the IRF with the Northern Hemisphere season kicking off, and this year we add to that by having our World Champs and our Congress in May! The racing season picks up pace and there are plenty of GTE Workshops to choose from stretching around the world.
Congress 2019 – 13 and 15 May, Tully, Queensland, Australia!
Competitions on the near horizon (May/June):
- The big favourite of the Euro Cup events – EC Wildalpen is on this weekend! Keep an eye on our social media to see what’s happening there. 12 nations, 24 men’s teams, 9 women’s teams!
- And don’t forget from 22 to 23 June it is EC R4 Trnavka AND Czech Cup!
- Switzerland is launching itself into the competitive racing world and are holding their National Champs from 18 – 19 May in Château d’Oex, Vaud.
- Slovakia’s National Selections are happening on the 25 May in familiar Cunovo, Bratislava.
- The “Crazy Chuya” event is happening late May on the Chuya-Mazhoi River, Siberia, Russia. Chuya is an infamous river not be missed!
- 7 to 16 June is the Great Altai Cup on the Peschanaya River, Smolenskiy district, Altai Krai in Russia.
- EC R6 Soca, Solkan is happening on the 15 June.
- Brazil have their 2nd R4 National Selection from the 28 to 30 June in Juquitiba.
There are so many workshops being run in great places!
If you are looking for more exotic places then you need to start planning now and here are some opportunities:
- 10 -12 Sept: Indus and Zanskar Rivers, India. Raft guide, safety kayak level 4 and trip leader level 3 assessment.
- 15 – 18 Sept: Vuoksa River, Russia. Details.
- 15 – 23 Oct: Zambezi River. Details. Come early for extra training, stay on for Zambezi Whitewater Festival!
- 12 – 16 April 2020: Illinois or Rogue River, USA. Details.
Otherwise take a look at the many courses being run in May and June – choose from Australia, Brazil, Ecuador to Austria, Turkey, Spain, Germany, France and Bosnia. (See full details here)
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
Sadly yet another of the world’s greatest rivers is under threat from daming. This is not a new threat – impact assessments were halted in 2015 but the project has now been restarted and now is the time for you to get involved and help prevent the loss of a natural beauty, white water enthusiast destination and prevent drastic impacts on the local tourism economy.
Plans are afoot to re-initiate the impact assessments of building a dam in the Batoka Gorge on the Zambezi River. Plans effectively mean a dam built 47 km downstream of Victoria Falls will wipe out most of the rapids many have come to know, love and revere most of the way up to Victoria Falls.
An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) must be completed, and environmental authorisation granted for the project by both the Zambian and Zimbabwean environmental regulatory authorities. In addition to these requirements, the ESIA specific to this project will need to be undertaken to align with international good practice guidelines such as the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Standards and International Hydropower Association (IHA) sustainability protocols.
Now is the time to make it known if you are or will be affected by the dam. Please spread the message wide and far – all potential stakeholders and those affected need to be in the know so that their voices can be heard.
The linked document is the official communication. Section 4 contains the contact details in order to be added to the stakeholder list. Add your name to the list of stakeholders and ensure your voice is heard!
Batoka Dam Interim feedback letter to stakeholders
Add your name to the stakeholder list: email@example.com
#damthedams #batokagorge #zambezi #zimbabwe #zambia #notinmyname
Follow the Facebook page: Save the Zambezi
By Shannon Farley
The Costa Rica Sports Association for Adventure and Paddling, which represents the IRF in Costa Rica, has conducted a massive certification mission in the country to certify 178 raft guides and safety kayakers with the goal of improving safety in adventure tourism.
The initiative, which has the support of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and the Costa Rican National Training Institute (INA), is the largest effort at one time in the world to certify guides in the rafting industry in guiding and safety skills.
Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 14, 151 raft guides and 27 safety kayakers from all over Costa Rica were certified to IRF standards using the Guide Training and Education Award System (GTE), the most widely recognised whitewater raft guide qualification in the world. In total in 2018, between September and December, more than 275 guides were IRF certified in Costa Rica, including four female guides. INA has agreed to officially validate the certification.
Continue reading Promoting tourism safety in Costa Rica with 100s of newly certified raft guides and safety kayakers