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News and views - January 2019

Happy New Year to you all!

Here's to a great 2019 - it is certainly shaping up to be an awesome year with the World Rafting Champs in May in Australia, Euro Rafting Champs in Bosnia in July, 10 events already in our Euro Cup Series and looking good for 4 events on 4 continents in the World Cup Series!

This newsletter closes out last year with some very sad farewells to two fellow paddlers, meeting more of our river family, reminding ourselves of the age ranges for this year's WRC, looking at some of the teams heading to the WRC, making a new world record in the number of newly qualified IRF raft guides in Costa Rica, and getting a glimpse of what to expect from this year's Nile River Festival.

See you on a river soon,
International Rafting Federation

More 2019 raft races than you can shake a paddle at!

It’s only mid January and we have 18 raft race events already in the diary (at the time of publication). This number will increase in the coming weeks as organisers confirm dates for other events. 2019 is shaping up to be the year that your team get their name known on the IRF European and World Cup circuits (and of course the European and World Championships if eligible).

Euro Cup series As it stands, this year’s Euro Cup series is already more than ten events across the continent from as far west as the United Kingdom to Georgia in the east. Popular favourites Wildalpen, Devil’s Stream and Trnavka feature again, as does the burgeoning new favourite Dracula Race in Romania (who can’t love a race . . . → continue reading . . . More 2019 raft races than you can shake a paddle at!

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We are river family – meet Dragan Babic

This week we meet larger than life, character of a thousand words and improvisations, and master of hilariously bad jokes (especially when he translates them from one language to another), Dragan Babic. Many will know him from racing in Bosnia and Herzegovina OM but also he’s quite often behind a whistle, stop watch or clipboard as part of one of the regular IRF timing teams. It would do no justice for me to write about him so here he is in his own words…

How did you get started in rafting? First of all I am coming from a family of paddling people because my father and uncle are the one of the best canoe double paddlers in ex-Yugoslavia so I was meant to be a paddler before anything . . . → continue reading . . . We are river family – meet Dragan Babic

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Will Tully give the Australian U19 Men team a home advantage?
Coach: Mark MillerTR: Cooper Miller, Justin Baume, Lachlan WillmottBR: Nathan Tibbs, Liam Stephen, Jacob McClarty

Not content to just compete in rugby, mountain biking and kayaking, the AUS CROCS are looking to win hearts, minds and medals in the IRF’s World Rafting Championship on the Tully River in May. This week we find out a little more about the team and how they’ve gotten to where they are. They can’t wait to show you their river and hospitality.

In September of 2017, Mark Miller was approached by the Australian Rafting Federation to become the team coach. It didn’t take long for Mark to decide – his own son Cooper was keen to join the team and overnight Mark took on the reigns as coach. However, at this point . . . → continue reading . . . Will Tully give the Australian U19 Men team a home advantage?

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What do freestyle kayaking and rafting have in common?
All aboard the Big Air Ramp

For one thing, they now have a common festival to celebrate the joys of big white water. Since 2002 the Nile River Festival has showcased the Nile’s amazing rapids, Uganda’s friendly peoples and been home to some of the world’s best freestyle kayakers. From 2019, the Nile River Festival will also provide an opportunity for raft racers and raft enthusiasts to take part in the action.

Over the last 10 years, the White Nile (Lake Victoria down to the confluence with the Blue Nile) has seen the construction of two dams which has devastated much of the local microcosm of natural flora and fauna and drastically changed the lives of thousands of inhabitants, many of whom used to make their livings from . . . → continue reading . . . What do freestyle kayaking and rafting have in common?

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Promoting tourism safety in Costa Rica with 100s of newly certified raft guides and safety kayakers

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 . . . → continue reading . . . Promoting tourism safety in Costa Rica with 100s of newly certified raft guides and safety kayakers

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We are river family – meet Vedat Vural

In our final River Family interview for 2018, we meet Vedat Vural – a pioneer of rafting in Turkey. Before 1990, he worked as a mountain and expedition guide, always getting excited every time he saw rivers carving through the mountains and valleys. It all seemed a mystery. Where does it go? Which places does it go through? What beauties of Nature are offered in its secret valleys? There was only one way of finding out the answer; go with the flow. Vedat had to find a way to travel with rivers in the same harmony, first making his own raft from tractor inner tubes meshed around with fishing net and circular plywood floor. The first test was on Turkey’s Köprüçay river in summer 1988. To put it simply: it . . . → continue reading . . . We are river family – meet Vedat Vural

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We are river family – meet Graham “Fredi” Maifredi

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 . . . → continue reading . . . We are river family – meet Graham “Fredi” Maifredi

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