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News and views - November 2018

A lot has happened in the short time since we last caught up.
In this bumper issue, we introduce you to our new global partner Aquapac, meet more of our River Family, remind ourselves of what it took to start the IRF, look back at preparations for the 2018 WRC in Argentina, hear about Ex-FARC guerillas in Colombia training to become river guides, and delve into the action of the recent 2018 World Rafting Champsionship in Argentina.

Finally we also have two actions for you:
If your team are going to attend WRC 2019, you need to start registering and booking (it's only 6 mnths away!); and
Please vote for our own in the World Paddle Awards! We have three nominations in these prestigious awards.

See you on a river soon,
International Rafting Federation

Vote for our World Rafting Champions in the World Paddle Awards

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.

TR Hiko in action at this year’s IRFWRC

Team TR Hiko – Nominee for 2018 Team Award

IRF 2018 World Rafting Championship Title European Rafting . . . → continue reading . . . Vote for our World Rafting Champions in the World Paddle Awards
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We are river family – meet Stan Hájek

A very familiar face to the European Raft Race scene, with a paddling career spanning 53 years, Stan Hájek started paddling as a child, later meeting his girlfriend (now wife) whilst paddling in the Czech Republic and East & West Europe. At the time, sport expeditions were the only way to look outside the Iron Curtain until 1989. After 1989, raft makers were established in the Czech Republic, his two sons grew up and he exchanged canoes for rafts. In 1991 I organised the first downriver raft race on the Kamenice River in CZE.

How did you get rafting started in Czech Republic? My . . . → continue reading . . . We are river family – meet Stan Hájek

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#AreYouReady to #TameTheTully

After the successful conclusion to the IRF World Rafting Championship (WRC) 2018 in Argentina, we now set our sights on the 2018 WRC in Tully, Australia. Teams have now started to register for the event – but most importantly now, all teams who want to stay in the Athletes’ Village need to book their accommodation by Friday, 14th December. This is to ensure that enough tents can be ordered and supplied in time for the competition.

Included in the accommodation package is the tent setup and take down, beds and bedding, power and lights within the tents themselves. There are toilets and showers located in the Athlete Village . . . → continue reading . . . #AreYouReady to #TameTheTully

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We are river family – meet Tim Marshall

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

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Czechia have a golden day on the Alumine

The IRF’s 2018 World Rafting Champs came to a spectacular close today with the arduous Downriver. The rain and sprinkles of snow on the surrounding mountains did nothing to dampen the teams’ enjoyment of the awesome white water that the Aluminé offers.

The day definitely belonged to the Czechia teams. Their Open Men halted Brazil’s seven year streak of being World Champions, and all of their other teams medalled as well. Czechia are now the new World Champions in the Open Men’s and Women’s categories, as well as U23 Men, and Masters Men! They also took Bronze in U19 Men, Silver in U19 Women and silver in U23 Women – a great haul!

. . . → continue reading . . . Czechia have a golden day on the Alumine

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Skills, spills and thrills – Slalom on the Ruca Choroi

The teams gathered along the banks of the River Ruca Choroi, to test their skills against the hard slalom course set for them. The river is an innocuous, narrow, Class 2 with 1 Class 3 rapid on it, normally simple to negotiate. But today the course was set to challenge the best rafters in the world – and so it did.

The fastest run of the day was Czech Open Men. They also achieved the lowest number of penalties – 5 seconds in each run. Argentina U19 Men won their category with an incredible run with only 10 seconds in penalties in their fastest run and a time that would have placed them in 7th in the Open Men’s category! The Czech U23 Men’s best time, which . . . → continue reading . . . Skills, spills and thrills – Slalom on the Ruca Choroi

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Gold medal clashes in Head-to-head

The first race of the day was a great illustration of the excitement that the new format with buoys has brought to the Head-to-Head (H2H). Netherlands Open Women came down the last part of the course needing to round the final buoy and as they rounded it and headed to the line Chile Open Women came surging past in the faster water to take the win right on the line.

It was not the only race that was so close at the finishing line. Unfortunately for the locals the Argentina Open Men were pipped at the line by Japan, the latter going on to win their first Gold medal in WRC H2H. But Argentina still had a good day, coming away with 2 Silvers and . . . → continue reading . . . Gold medal clashes in Head-to-head

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Ex-FARC Guerrillas in Colombia train to be Raft Guides

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 . . . → continue reading . . . Ex-FARC Guerrillas in Colombia train to be Raft Guides

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Stunning day for WRC Sprints on the Alumine

The day got off to a crispy start as the temperatures had dropped below zero during the night – frost gave the terrain a ghostly appearance as the participants arrived for the day’s races.

As the day warmed up so did the competition – the teams are loving the river and the continuous Class 3 rapids that keep coming at you making it essential that you stay sharp throughout. It also provides different lines to choose ensuring great discussions on the river banks.

The first division to compete was U19 and there were saw a clean sweep of the Gold medals from the hosts, Argentina, much to . . . → continue reading . . . Stunning day for WRC Sprints on the Alumine

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Planes, rafts and automobiles – preparations for IRF World Rafting Championship 2018

Open Men team captains: Japan, Mexico, Brazil

Logistics in planning an International Rafting Federation World Rafting Championship is a phenomenal feat made successful only by the hard work of thousands of people from across the globe. Front and centre, visible to all is the Event Director and Race Director – not so obvious are all the individuals involved in tasks that most people would not bat an eye to realise were part of the overall event.

This competition is no different. There people on the ground running shuttles, equipment disinfections, ferrying radios, constructing the giant marquee that will be front and centre for lunches and meeting spaces, to the people serving lunches and translators helping teams work out their empañadas from their tortillas. That’s just the . . . → continue reading . . . Planes, rafts and automobiles – preparations for IRF World Rafting Championship 2018

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We are river family – meet Rado Orokocky
After a White Water Slalom career spanning 20 years, Rado switched to rafting. His first contact with rafting was in 1997 for two years. Then he rejoined into in 2004 until now. At first he started with his team on several European and World Championships but then moved onto coaching two of the most successful women’s rafting teams – at first Geronimo from 1999 until 2002 and Mistral from 2009 until they career end. What motivates you to keep rafting? I think that rafting is a good sport for people who like to be on the water with some good friends. If you have a good team you can enjoy so much fun and this is the most important thing. All other is bonus – traveling a . . . → continue reading . . . We are river family – meet Rado Orokocky
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What did it take to start the international rafting federation?

Project RAFT 1997

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 annihilation at the press of a button. One man had an idea and that idea was to transcend politics and the cold war between the USA and Russia by getting people from each . . . → continue reading . . . What did it take to start the international rafting federation?

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