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News and views - Nov/ Dec 2019

As the year draws to a close we would like to wish you and your families and friends a safe and prosperous festive season, whether you're in high seaon and working hard, or in your off season and hibernating!

In this newsletter we have two big announcements, so read until the end! But first we hear from Ian Ponce, Programme Officer of the UNFCCC Programme Secretariat, where he introduces the Sports for Climate Change initiative; we announce the newly appointed GTE Committee; look at why the Zambezi White Water Festival should be a bucket list item; catch up with Colombia’s Rafting For Peace raft team at their National Champs on their home river; talk about the magical 4 letter F word; hear about raft guide training in Bhutan; look at the final results of the 2019 World Cup Series and get some ideas of gifts for rafters.

And the two big announcements!!

- Euro Champs 2020 in June on the Vltava River and Roudnice nad Labem, Lipno, Czech Republic!

- And the most exciting news of all .... the IRF is granted GAISF Observer Status!!!

Read on and see you on a river soon,

International Rafting Federation



IRF granted GAISF Observer status
GAISF Council grants the IRF Observer Status

To our IRF Member organisations, rafting clubs, athletes, associates, officials, coaches, and friends:

I am delighted to announce the momentous and historic news that the International Rafting Federation (IRF) was officially granted Observer Status by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) Council when it convened 27 October 2019. The IRF recently received a certificate from GAISF commemorating this achievement.

Read the official announcement from GAISF here.

GAISF is the umbrella organisation for International Sport Federations. GAISF Observer Status will open opportunities to network with the GAISF family and open important doors for the IRF in the world of international sports. It may also help our national federation members . . . → continue reading . . . IRF granted GAISF Observer status

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Are you ready for ERC 2020 on Devil’s Stream?

Yes, we head back to the Czech Republic for our Euro Champs in 2020, this time to the artificial course Roudnice on the Labe River for the Sprint, H2H and Slalom, and to the exciting Devil’s Stream for the Downriver.


Dates: 8 – 13 June 2020 Organised by: Union of Boaters of the Czech Republic (SVoCR) Team sizes: R4 and R6 Divisions and categories: U19M, U19W, U23M, U23W, OM, OW, MM, MW Be prepared that due to the race schedule it will not be possible to combine team members in categories: U19/U23/open and open/masters. This is the same restriction for whole teams as well Team combinations in R4/R6 is possible and recommended . . . → continue reading . . . Are you ready for ERC 2020 on Devil’s Stream?
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Gift ideas for rafters

Dry bag

Such a handy item to have in many places, not just on river trips – like going hiking in the rain, canyoning, boating, beaching. Read about five surprising uses of dry bags from managing your laundry, or as a pillow, managing cables and tech stuff, and staying in shape! Take a look at some options that Aquapac offer.

Throw rope

This is an essential peace of gear for a rafter. Beside being critical for rescue and hauling wrapped rafts off rocks it has many other uses as well – clothes line, pillow, to hang sun or rain shelters on. . . . → continue reading . . . Gift ideas for rafters

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IRF’s World Cup Series 2019 draws to a close in Indonesia

The 2019 World Cup Series saw only 2 events this year due to unforeseen circumstances causing the World Cup in Georgia to be cancelled. The first was in China at the Pre-Worlds, and the second was in Indonesia on the Silokek River recently.

The World Cup Series is aimed at teams at a club level, particularly at teams that don’t qualify for the annual World Rafting Champs or just enjoy having fun in rafting competitions. Teams do not have to qualify, they can just enter and get out there and enjoy the challenge of new rivers, in different countries, meet new paddlers and gain essential experience to improve their chances for future selections.

The Pre-Worlds/World Cup Series event was held on the Wu Pai River, Ziyuan, . . . → continue reading . . . IRF’s World Cup Series 2019 draws to a close in Indonesia

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Expanding the IRF River Family in Bhutan

By Zachary Collier The rivers of Bhutan were first explored by groups of international kayakers in the late 1990s. They discovered some phenomenal runs for both rafts and kayaks ranging from Class I to V+. In the 2000s these explorers brought groups of kayakers to Bhutan for the first commercial whitewater trips.

Bhutan’s first local river guides were originally trained by kayakers. As rafting became more common, these guides trained in Nepal and were mentored by Nepali rafting guides who worked in Bhutan during the busy season.

The past decade has seen a steady increase in the number of international visitors to Bhutan for rafting, kayaking, and/or SUP trips. My company, Northwest Rafting Company, offers multi-day rafting+culture adventures to this Himalayan nation for people . . . → continue reading . . . Expanding the IRF River Family in Bhutan

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The magical 4 letter F word!!

Camel White Water Challenge 1996, Zambezi River

By Mark Hirst

At some point in our raft guiding careers we will all experience a flip! This article aims to highlight some of the key points associated with flipping and will hopefully deliver a few tips to aid in the recovery of a flipped raft along with its crew. Let’s focus on the 3 main areas of a flip:

Before During After


One of the subjects often neglected during a safety demonstration is the flip. Raft guides often brush over the subject and only offer a few verbal pieces of information with no visual demonstration. This in turn can lead to a messy clean up as the crew did not receive enough information on what to do during a . . . → continue reading . . . The magical 4 letter F word!!

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Colombia’s Farc ex-combatants and police paddling together

Police and ex-combatants practice rafting together in San Vicente del Caguán. UN mission in Colombia. Credit:

Colombia’s Rafting For Peace raft team made a big impression on all who attended the 2019 World Rafting Champs in Australia earlier this year (see Rifles for paddles).

They were touched by their amazing story and admired the strength these paddlers showed in not only taking on learning to raft, but to also step away from their previous lives and make a difference for their future and by so doing, inspiring so many others.

Recently this team and their village of Miravalle in San Vicente del Caguán hosted the Colombian National Rafting Championship on the Pato River. This area was previously a strategic rearguard . . . → continue reading . . . Colombia’s Farc ex-combatants and police paddling together

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Zambezi White Water Festival – a bucket list item!

There are a LOT of reasons why this event should be on your bucket list!

Just look at the prizes – a bungi jump off the bridge for first place, a helicopter ride over the falls for second place, a bush drive for third place and a breakfast amongst the elephants for the best flip in Oblivion! And what do you have to do to earn those? Go rafting on the Zambezi!

There are 4 Events with the first 3 earning points for the Overall win, and the 4th having a separate prize.


Timed race from the . . . → continue reading . . . Zambezi White Water Festival – a bucket list item!

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New GTE Committee appointed

With the IRF’s Guide Training and Education System growing so strongly at the moment a new committee has recently been appointed to help take the system to even higher standards.

This new committee is being led by Gaspar Goncz who is the Chair of the GTE Com and has been driving the system since May 2009 and is based in Hungary. New energy has recently come into the system from Mark Hirst who is an IRF Assessor, an advanced Rescue 3 training provider and First Aid Instructor. Mark has taken up the role as Secretary of the GTE and is uniquely positioned in that he travels far and wide therefore gaining knowledge of the rafting industry in all corners of the world which is necessary when . . . → continue reading . . . New GTE Committee appointed

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