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: firstname.lastname@example.org
#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
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
By Shannon Farley
Nine ex-FARC guerrillas in Colombia have a new future ahead of them in adventure tourism, thanks to river rafting guide training provided by the International Rafting Federation (IRF) and Rios Tropicales adventure company in Costa Rica.
The new raft guides, who are former combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by the Spanish acronym of FARC), will complete their training on Nov. 9 with a graduation ceremony. The accomplishment is even more extraordinary because the Pato River where they have trained and will operate commercial rafting trips is a former FARC controlled “red no-go zone” – once a feared, forbidden and secret place.
The fledgling adventure tourism venture is the result of a United Nations supported mission at Colombia’s Miravalle Territorial Area for Training and Continue reading Ex-FARC Guerrillas in Colombia train to be Raft Guides
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
Trentino Wild, one of the biggest rafting companies in Italy, are looking for IRF certified guides to work for them on the Noce River next season. They run trips on a class IV river and sometimes they run class V too. They are also a river rescue school, so the rescue part is essential for them. Their season is very long, it starts half way through April and finishes half way through September.
They are looking for:
- GOOD guides, with a good river sense, and a good curriculum, good river rescue skills (they are a river rescue school)
- Guides that are professionals of the river (IN the river and OUTSIDE the river)
- They must have a knowledge of the Italian language, and with Italian or European citizenship (so the correct work contract can be arranged)
- Must be IRF Class 4 / 5 certified
They are offering:
- Insurance through the company
- A home to stay in and serious work
If you’re interested and can satisfy the requirements – contact Trentino Wild
#RaftersAreAwesome #raftguide #weareirf #riverfamily
Are you looking for work this coming season?
Is your company looking for guides for your next season?
Use the IRF Forum to advertise yourself or your company!
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
Wanting to get or upgrade your IRF Guiding certification, or become an IRF GTE Instructor?
There are some great locations to choose from ranging from Bosnia, to Mexico, Spain, Slovenia, Argentina, the Zambezi River, Ecuador, Futaleufu River, Scotland, Cardiff and Oregon, USA!
The playground of the mighty Zambezi is an incredible location to be training up to become a raft guide. And the stunning beauty of the Futaleufu is another bucket list item for many. Throw in other well known rivers such as the Tara, Mendoza, Hood, Gallego, and more and you are spoilt for choices. 🙂
Here is the summary – explore and find the right place for you!
- 24 – 28 Sept: Guide and Trip Leader (TL) workshop and assessment on the Tara River, Bosnia – Details.
- 24 Sept – 20 Oct: IRF GTE course and assessment. Río Trancura, Pucón – Chile. Instructor: Paulo Cartes Ortiz. Organized by: Chile Ríos – Professional training and training. www.chilerios.cl. Languages:Spanish
- 25 – 30 Sept: IRF + Rescue3 on the Gallego River in Spain – Details.
- 27 – 30 Sept: IRF GTE Workshop & Rescue3 Europe WRT on the Tara River, Bosnia – Details.
- 31 Sept – 7 Oct: IRF GTE certificate + Rescue 3 Europe WRT + Basic Life Support in Slovenia – Details.
- 1-4 Oct: Guide and TL, Alto Ebro River, Spain – more info.
- 4 – 7 Oct: IRF GTE Workshop; Rio Mendoza, Argentina – more info
- 6 – 13 Oct: IRF GTE Workshop on the Zambezi River – contacts Sebastian Larcher.
- 18 Oct: IRF Safety Kayak Assessment; Tampaon, México – more info
- 23 – 24 Oct: Guide, TL, Safety Kayaker; Pescados, México – more info
- 24 – 28 Oct: Guide, TL, Safety Kayaker; Santo Domingo, Ecuador – Details.
- 27 Oct – 1 Nov: IRF / SRA / WRT GTE Workshop. Grandtully, Scotland – more info
- 3 – 6 Nov: Guide, TL & Instructor update; Cardiff, UK – more info Mark Bowler
- 10 – 15 Nov: Assessment for Instructor Guide class IV and Instructor Safety kayak class IV, Guide, Safety kayak, Safety Raft and Trip Leader class IV. Cara del indio, Futaleufú Patagonia, Chile Instructor: Daniel Gonzalez and Gaspar Goncz. Details in English and in Spanish.
- 25 – 31 March: IRF Guide, Safety kayaker, TL & Instructor workshop. Venue: Northwest Rafting Company, Hood River,Oregon, USA. Instructor: Mark Hirst. Details
Whitewater raft guide, kayaker and writer passionate about exploring new rivers and cultures, Juniper Rose has paddled in 15 states across the US and 9 countries around the globe. She loves sharing rivers with others whether its clients on a guided trip or good friends out for a kayaking run. When she was 12 years old Juniper convinced my dad to let her come along on a source to sea trip that started at the headwaters of the river where she was raised and ended in the ocean weeks later. Ever since that trip she’s been hooked on whitewater. By age 16 she was guiding commercially. Guiding then became a summer job during college and a means for traveling the world thereafter.
Continue reading We are river family – meet Juniper Rose