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News and views - April 2020

As we draw to the end of April the world continues to reel from the impacts of COVID-19. Lifestyles and freedoms are severly altered around the world and the sporting world has ground to a halt. The long walk to freedom has started in some countries as they see the spread of the virus drop to below growth levels, and this gives us hope. But others are only just starting along that hard path. 

We hope this Newsletter can bring you some distraction and positivity.

This month sees regular contributor, Shannon Farley, take a look at negotiating this pandemic like it's a river's first descent; we talk about our upcoming World Rafting Champs; announce GTE certification fees are now cheaper; look at the White Cards used to promote the UN's International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP); and we talk about the IRF's Rafting Operator Accreditation system which will be launched later this year.

Mark Hirst talks to us about the principle of SMILE when guiding; we bring your attention to the damming of the Batoka Gorge which puts the Zambezi River's white water under threat; Sean talks about favourite knots; we look at Rafting Magazines take on the 4 types of guides there are; and we look at the top 10 rafting spots in California.

As regions start reducing restrictions we hope to start sharing news about events starting to happen again - we'll let you know as soon as we hear! And news re our WRC 2021 coming very soon!

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

International Rafting Federation
#RaftersAreAwesome #RiverFamily

Top 10 rafting spots in California

If you are a thrill-seeking nature lover, then there are tons of whitewater rafting spots in California that will give you the best experience.

California is heaven for those who love the waters. There are tons of watersports you can enjoy in the area, from surfing, windsurfing, jetskiing, to kayaking, among others. If you want to experience the thrilling adventure of rapids, there is a lot of that in California too.

Whitewater Rafting Spots in California

A day whitewater rafting in the impressive rapids in California is a must-have experience for an active and stimulating vacation, especially in the summer. It wouldn’t be an experience you will easily forget.

If you are looking for the best whitewater rafting spots in California, here are . . . → continue reading . . . Top 10 rafting spots in California

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Help stop the Batoka Gorge Dam

The review dates of the Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the proposed Batoka Gorge Hydro- Electric Scheme (Zambia and Zimbabwe) on the Zambezi River been delayed due to impacts from the coronavirus. Now is the time to have your say – read the ESIA, make informed decisions, register your interest to help stop the building of this damaging dam.

Environmental Resources Management Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. (ERM) is contracted by the Zambezi River Authority (the Authority) to undertake the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study for the development of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) on the Zambezi River, 47km downstream of Victoria Falls. On 3 March 2020, ERM notified stakeholders of the availability of the draft ESIAs for public review . . . → continue reading . . . Help stop the Batoka Gorge Dam

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4 Types of Guides You Will Meet Rafting
4 Types of Guides You Will Meet RaftingOK so you booked a whitewater rafting trip with your friends on an awesome river. You’re super stoked to be going on an amazing whitewater adventure. You show up at the outfitter’s camp, they give you a safety orientation, and introduce you to your guide. Now you really want to make the trip special, but how do you communicate that to your guide? Well here is a quick rundown on how to work with your guide to make sure that trip is really memorable.

Hopefully you did your homework with the outfitter and selected an outfitter that actually lets you have fun rather than the cattle-car of a raft trip that you could buy on a daily deal site. This is the first step to having a good trip and . . . → continue reading . . . 4 Types of Guides You Will Meet Rafting

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Knot your business

It’s rare that I write a personal article but lockdown has given me plenty of time so as I while away the hours and days, I’ve found myself reviewing the last few months and in particular being assessed for the New Zealand raft guide qualification. During lockdown I’m living at the rafting centre where I’ve spent the summer (southern hemisphere) as I’ve been unable to leave due to flight cancellations and then the country going into lockdown. I’m living with a fellow trainee to the NZ qualification so we’ve spent a fair bit of time cleaning, tidying, and then playing with rafts and kit – albeit missing the almighty white water that we’re craving! So we’ve ended up picking up ropes and setting each . . . → continue reading . . . Knot your business

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World renowned Batoka Gorge threatened by huge dam

By Gary Wockner

Zambezi River at the bottom of Victoria Falls, where the river enters Batoka Gorge

When we hopped into the safari truck at “Safari Par Excellence” in Livingstone, Zambia, one of our guides handed each of us a “Nyami Nyami” necklace. He had hand-carved the pendent — which is a serpent-like creature — and gave it to us as a good-luck omen for the raft trip. The fabled Nyami Nyami is a serpent that guards the Zambezi River, and if a whitewater rafter is wearing the necklace, it is said to protect you through the world-famous class V rapids. Tens-of-thousands of tourists, from across the world, come to the Zambezi each year to raft its famous rapids, as well as world-class rafters . . . → continue reading . . . World renowned Batoka Gorge threatened by huge dam

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The principle of SMILE

By Mark Hirst of Lapin Koskikoulu

The principle of Smile & the big 3 During this brief post I wanted to share the tips I use to reduce the chances of my raft customers panicking during a swim. I am getting on a bit now, I will be 43 this year! I first went kayaking when I was in primary school in my home city of Manchester in the UK. As most school kids one of the first things we were taught is that if we go upside down when the kayak capsizes is “TRY NOT TO PANIC”. Yeah right I know, sit upside down in plastic lunchbox in cold dark water that is around 10 degrees C in an oxygen poor environment . . . → continue reading . . . The principle of SMILE
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Rafting Operator Accreditation (ROA) – what is it?

The IRF has for many years discussed the merits of developing an accreditation for operators that offer whitewater rafting guided or instructional services. Simply put, this process would provide a means of recognizing operators that meet or exceed internationally accepted safety and quality standards. In September 2019, a committee was created to address this need and draft an accreditation program for the IRF Board approval. The Rafting Operator Accreditation (ROA) Committee has now achieved this stage and is ready for input from stakeholders.

Throughout early 2020, the ROA Committee will be interviewing leading rafting companies around the world to gather feedback on the ROA draft. So far, 20 operators from 18 countries have been invited to participate in the interview. Their responses will be . . . → continue reading . . . Rafting Operator Accreditation (ROA) – what is it?

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Show your WhiteCard

April 6 was declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) by the UN General Assembly in 2013. This decision represented a significant step in recognising the transformative power of sport and its great potential in advancing positive social change. The International Rafting Federation (IRF) is aligned with the mission and objectives of Peace and Sport with our roots beginning with the Project RAFT peace initiative which brought together rafters from around the world in a spirit of peace and solidarity at the inaugural Chuya Rally, Sibera, Russia in 1989. This mission of peace through rafting has continued since then. Out latest initiative was to work with the United Nations to train Colombia’s FARC ex-combatants to exchange guns-for-paddles and become . . . → continue reading . . . Show your WhiteCard

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IRF’s GTE System upgrades make it cheaper

The IRF Guide Training & Education (GTE) System has recently had its cost structure, certification and card issuing process overhauled

In the days before social distancing – GTE course in Romania

In this time of so much bad news we’d like to bring you some good news. The cost of IRF GTE certifications has reduced!

The system has been simplified so that guides get their cards and certificates much faster. From now on each person who has completed the certification process will be sent, by GTE Admin, a certificate combined with a card. This will allow those who need cards or certificates to present to employers or put up on walls as proof of certification to have them sooner.

. . . → continue reading . . . IRF’s GTE System upgrades make it cheaper

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IRF World Rafting Championships 2020 (China) postponed

As much of the world finds itself in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, China is in the position of having practically eliminated community transmitted COVID-19 infections, and we have found ourselves faced with the same issues that the Olympics and many other sports have been facing over the last few weeks.

The IRF Executive Committee and WRC Organisers have discussed the realities of the situation, and supported by IRF BOD, the Athlete’s Commission and Sport & Competition Committee, have come to the conclusion that the IRF’s 2020 World Rafting Championship must be postponed to after 2020.

The main reasons that formed this decision are as follows:

The IRF believes that our sport must not in any way be a factor that could . . . → continue reading . . . IRF World Rafting Championships 2020 (China) postponed
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We’re all paddling a first descent with the Coronavirus

The world finds itself in uncharted territory in the turbulent crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. Longtime river adventurer, and IRF Honorary President, Rafael Gallo gives some words of comfort for how to navigate through to calmer waters ahead.

by Shannon Farley

We find ourselves in uncharted territory with the coronavirus pandemic. The world’s borders closed. Airlines grounded. Streets empty. Beaches, parks, and recreation areas with hardly a soul to be found. Businesses shuttered. The scene is surreal.

“It’s like the first descent of a river,” said longtime river adventurer Rafael Gallo. “We’ve never navigated this before. Our map is very vague, only giving us comparative scenarios from other similar experiences, and a little advance information from those a bit ahead of us.”

Like rafting . . . → continue reading . . . We’re all paddling a first descent with the Coronavirus

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