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News and views - March 2020

In these unprecedented times, this month's news and views features status updates and event cancellations from some of our most prestigious and well known events around the globe.

The COVID-19 Coronavirus is impacting almost everyone's daily lives and at times like this we must come together in heartfelt emotion and support to protect each other.

Whilst many of us around the globe are subject to isolation and lockdowns, this is a time to remember river family and reach out. As you read the articles in this month's newsletter, remind yourself of those who you have rafted with over the  years. Get in touch and ask how they are doing. Make river plans for when we all make it out of this pandemic.

Take best advantage of this time and make efforts to protect and save rivers around the globe. In this newsletter you will see plans to dam Nepal's Karnali river. Over the coming weeks we will share details of other rivers that also need you.

As members of the global IRF River Family, we remind you to adhere to WHO advice which includes avoiding close contact with people who may have COVID-19; engage in frequent hand washing; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; practice respiratory hygiene; and if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

Look after yourselves and each other.
See you on a river soon.

International Rafting Federation
#RaftersAreAwesome #RiverFamily

Coronavirus COVID-19 Impacts to IRF Events (Update 4)

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the international sporting world, and the IRF is no exception. With lockdowns being brought into play throughout the world, borders closing and extreme travel restrictions in place, it is evident that it will be a long while before the sporting world gets back on its feet.

How this impacts our upcoming IRF events and activities:

ERC 2020 in Czechia – with heavy hearts we have announced the cancellation of our ERC 2020 WRC 2020 in Ziyuan, Guilin, China – China has moved through the peak of the pandemic and practically eliminated community transmitted COVID-19 infections, and Ziyuan has experienced zero cases at anytime making it one of the safest venues for . . . → continue reading . . . Coronavirus COVID-19 Impacts to IRF Events (Update 4)
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Ropes for River Use

In this article Rafting Magazine takes a look at rope used for rafting specifically static line. For this article they reached out to both Sterling and BlueWater ropes to get some technical insight on what works best for river rescue use. There is a lot to know and a lot to understand about what rafters need on the river. If you are looking for throw ropes or throw bags you can find more info on that here. They also will be bringing you some of the top contenders for best ropes on the market.

Ropes are a pretty complex topic in the river community. Both static and dynamic ropes find their way into our gear. It’s Important to know what they are and when to use them if you are unfamiliar with the purpose of each type of rope. Another important piece . . . → continue reading . . . Ropes for River Use

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European Rafting Championship 2020 in Czechia Cancelled

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread at an alarming pace, on 12 March, for the first time in its modern history the Czech government declared a state of emergency for the entire country. On 16 March, Czechia closed its borders, forbid entry of foreigners and issued a nationwide curfew. Most European countries have also closed their borders and travel has ground to a halt. As shown by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the situation has become severe.

Due to these unprecedented circumstances, and the uncertainty of how this will continue to affect Czechia and the rest of Europe, the Union of Boaters of the Czech Republic (IRF Member Organisation), and the IRF have jointly agreed to cancel the European Rafting Championship . . . → continue reading . . . European Rafting Championship 2020 in Czechia Cancelled

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Boating Business – Coronavirus and Economic Slowdowns
Boating Business - Coronavirus and Economic Slowdowns How will Coronavirus affect hospitality?

Coronavirus is a hot topic at the moment and rightly so, after all, at the time of writing this piece we have seen a huge impact to stock markets and global supply chains. These effects will ripple across the market and especially impact the tourism and hospitality sector. Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the USA senate labor committee said “We think the tourism sector will bear the brunt of our government’s travel ban due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The government should spur domestic tourism to assuage the impact of decline in foreign tourists,”

The senator’s statements show an interesting shift in the mentality of tourism during periods of economic uncertainty. Fears about pandemics and recessions create a situation where average spends on travel . . . → continue reading . . . Boating Business – Coronavirus and Economic Slowdowns

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Coronavirus COVID-19 Impacts to IRF Events (Update 3)

Contrary to rumours being released by IRF detractors, the IRF is still actively pursuing our WRC, ERC, ECs and WCs this year along with our GTE activities. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the worldwide international sporting calendar, and the IRF calendar is no exception. Our immediate concern is for events coming up in the next 8 weeks as government and health authorities react in various ways to contain or mitigate the spread of the virus with protective measures. The situation is changing daily. Nobody today can say what the developments are tomorrow, what they are in one month, and certainly not several months into the future. The IRF will not be making irresponsible decisions to change our competition calendar based on speculation. We urge all competitors to stay in touch with their National Federation and to keep watch for updates to this post and to our . . . → continue reading . . . Coronavirus COVID-19 Impacts to IRF Events (Update 3)

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Save the Karnali – Nepal’s last and most pristine free-flowing river

by Megh Ale and Karen Bennett

The mighty Karnali, Nepal’s longest, largest, and least known river system is in peril. Of the three major river basins emerging from the Nepal Himalaya—the Koshi, Kali Gandaki, and Karnali—the Karnali is the only river that remains free-flowing. All others have been dammed for hydropower generation reflecting an increasingly intensive pattern of hydropower development across Nepal. There are currently three mega hydropower dams planned for the Karnali River with 28 more sites being surveyed. Construction of any one of these dams will forever change the essence and flow of the Karnali River. The construction of all three will devastate the river system and the cultures, endangered species and economies that depend on it. A dedicated group of people are working to protect the free-flowing Karnali. In spring 2018, a group of scientists, river adventurists and a film crew undertook a 44-day expedition along its . . . → continue reading . . . Save the Karnali – Nepal’s last and most pristine free-flowing river

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2020 IRF Race Rules now available in Serbian

The 2020 edition of the IRF Race Rules is now available in Serbian. Thanks to Jasmina Marčok for the invaluable assistance in translations and review.

2020 IRF Race Rules in Serbian 2020 IRF Race Rules in Serbian (track changes from 2019 version)

Having the race rules translated into multiple languages allows us all to share the love of raft racing even further. You can view all current and recent versions of the race rules on our website here.

It would be great if we can get Czech, Russian, Spanish and Romanian versions this year. If you are able to assist in translating the current (2020) race rules into your language, get in touch and let Sean or Sue know if you are able to help:

#AreYouReady #RaftersAreAwesome #rafting #StrongerTogether #internationalrafting #RiverFamily #WeAreIRF

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Should We Be Classifying Rafts?
Should We be Classifying Rafts? This article is a reprint from our friends at ‘RAFTING MAGAZINE’

Kayaking has taken an interesting trend over the years by classifying boats. Given the crossover of many paddlers between these sports it is surprising that rafting hasn’t picked up the stratification of boat classes into broad categories. As we get more experienced with a topic we require greater degrees of specificity to describe similar yet functionally different concepts. So, we thought we would take a crack at some boat classification for rafts.

How does classifying rafts help?

We get a ton of questions about what boat to take out in which river. Different boats have very different performance characteristics. Everyone has their preference for style of boat and different regions will see greater popularity from different designs due to local . . . → continue reading . . . Should We Be Classifying Rafts?

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A New Member Joins the IRF Family – Ukrainian Rafting Federation

Recognising that we are stronger together, the Ukrainian Rafting Federation (URF), founded in 2009, are the most recent member to join the IRF rafting family. The URF joins the All Ukraine Rafting Federation (AURF) as our second provisional member federation from Ukraine. The IRF will be working with the two rafting federations to help unify rafting in Ukraine as we continue to unify rafting worldwide. We wholeheartedly welcome URF to the IRF Family!

The URF now conducts National Championships each year in the categories of Juniors, Open and Masters and have been competing in international competitions for a number of years. In preparation for meeting IRF membership requirements, the URF has added clauses to its organisation statutes, which among other additions, states that the URF recognises, “the International Rafting Federation (“IRF”) as the world governing body of rafting”.

. . . → continue reading . . . A New Member Joins the IRF Family – Ukrainian Rafting Federation

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IRF’s 2020 Race Rules now available

The IRF Sport & Competition Committee have concluded the annual updating of the Race Rules. The new rules come into effect from the 1 March.

The majority of the changes are under the H2H section, which is not surprising as this new format is still getting a few crinkles ironed out. The changes can be seen in the following document which shows where the changes have been made – IRF Race Rules – March 2020 with track changes. The key changes are listed below:

Definitions of “Inside the raft” and “Sportsmanship” have been added.


The Team with the faster time in the Sprint is awarded the choice of Start Lane. So times in H2H races no longer dictate choice of start lane. Under . . . → continue reading . . . IRF’s 2020 Race Rules now available
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The Great Karnali Quest – 242 kms of epic Downriver racing!

Karnali, the longest river in Nepal, is recognized as world class for whitewater rafting and is still the last free flowing river in Nepal. It originates from the base of mount Kailash, flowing across the beautiful landscape of Nepal before dispersing into the Ganges River.

The Great Karnali Quest- sacred downriver raft race (probably the longest downriver raft race in the world) will be an incredible experience of a lifetime. It would be 242 km of raft racing in the most pristine Himalayan river. This event aims to promote the Karnali Region as a wonderful destination for Eco-adventure tourism. The Great Karnali Quest is not only about the rafting challenge, it’s a campaign to raise awareness amongst the global community to conserve the natural rivers before . . . → continue reading . . . The Great Karnali Quest – 242 kms of epic Downriver racing!

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