“We would like to help and show everyone there how to bring themselves out of the shell” with these words Andrea Gatti, the technical director of the Albanian Rafting Federation, explained his experience with the rafting movement in Albania: it is growing, thanks to the cooperation between different clubs and the training project that he is leading. 15 new guides have been formed during the last months by the President of the National Federation of Albania Zamo Spathara in collaboration with Andra Gatti, Daniele Corsi and Fabio Corsi from Italy, sharing their river experiences on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.
The Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania Mr Blendi Klosi celebrated the new guides at the ceremony at the end of the course and immediately went paddling with them, young athletes from 6 different cities, in the Osum Canyon, formed by the river Osum that passes through the town of Berat and flows though the canyon, creating a gorge that is one of the most spectacular natural attains of the country.
During the training course two teams of guides have been selected for the participation in the upcoming World Rafting Championship, that represent a meeting point for river people from all around the world and it is not only about medals: sharing moments, creating memories and discovering new viewpoints is something that makes all of us grow. “It will be a great and useful experience for the delegation from Albania: to travel and meet new people from other countries is an opportunity to continue and improve the development of the discipline” Andrea Gatti added.
The delegation of two teams who will compete in the men category is composed by Ali Spathara, Claudio Hasanllari, Behar Zeqo, Alvaro Nallbani, Geri Saphatra, Klidi Dobroniku, Franci Koroni, Endri Hoxha, Xhuljan Ziu.
Mr Zamo Spathara declared “Once you touch the river you do not fear the storm in the city anymore. Rafting is sport, tourism and adventure. It unites us and make us stronger.”
Albania is back, competing in France after its last experience at the World Rafting Championship in Italy 2018.
Two weeks to go, see you in France rafters!
A new country, that no one has ever seen in a rafting competition, will take part in the World Rafting Championship 2021: Malta.
Brought together as a group at a young age, the four Maltese athletes are ex gymnasts and passionate practitioners of parkour living and training in Malta. During the years of dedication to gymnastic they have been exposed to several competitions both national and international, and also choreographing performances. Apart from Gymnastics and parkour they also practice free running, cliff jumping and Obstacle Course Racing.
They have been working and performing together since 2012 in the MalteseMotion project.
“It has been an exciting journey, discovering who we are as individuals and as a team.” Explained Isaac Camilleri Liberto, the athlete who introduced the team and their experience to WRF, that is proud of becoming a new part of it, meeting a new viewpoint and working to develop rafting in a new country.
“We are 4 athletes: me, my brother Noah Camilleri and my friends Clyve Fenech and Simon Gravino. We are a group of friends with the same goal, that is to surpass our limits.
We are always excited to face new challenges and adventures. I think that rafting is an energetic and dynamic sport with all the subtle blend of peculiar daredevil skills, presence of mind and physical precision: rafting has what we are always looking for.
The participation in the World Championships means so much to all of us. It validates our love for new opportunities and gives us the chance to meet people similar to us from all over the world.”
Hundreds of rafters from all over the globe will paddle with them in France in less than a month and the event is going to be unique, for all of them.
We’re happy to announce that we’ve partnered with One Tree Planted to plant trees!
The World Rafting Federation on the occasion of the WRF World Rafting and Para-Rafting Championships 2021, from june 28th - is honored to support reforestation with One Tree Planted as part of our commitment to sustainability.
1 ATHLETE = 1 TREE
1 Athlete = 1 Tree: this is the first goal of our collaboration that will only grow in the future!
Planting trees is one of the best ways to combat the damaging effects of climate change. Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide habitat to over 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Trees also provide tremendous social impacts by providing jobs to over 1.6 billion people, empowering women in underdeveloped nations, and supporting communities devastated by environmental damage.
During these weeks untill the Worlds our ambassadors will present you the project! Follow our media account for more and remember that every tree makes a positive impact for nature, wildlife and people!
Another race weekend just ended with the second and last stage of the Italian National selection. The third level Avisio river in Trentino, Val di Fiemme, confirmed the athletes who will compete in France under the flag of Italy.
The points of 3 disciplines have been added to the results of the previous two on Sesia river a month ago.
The sprint phase opened the weekend and saw Rafting Aventure Villeneuve getting the gold in the women category, stopping the clock on 1:25,82. Second place for Adda Viva Indomita Valtellina River with 1:34,15 and third place for Sesia Rafting-DRD4.
Sesia Rafting posted the best time of 1:09,28, winning the men sprint, 7 seconds ahead of Tigerle-ASV Sterzing (1:16,21) and Rafting Team Verona (1:16,72) who did battle for the silver medal within just a few hundreds of a second.
The sprint decided the RX matching. In the women category RX confirmed the Sprint results (gold for Rafting Aventure Villeneuve), while the men category saw a battle to change the ranking. Rafting Team Verona won the final A against the silver Valbrenta team, the final B gave a bronze to Tigerle - ASV Sterzing.
Downriver determined the predicted National teams who will participate in the World Championship 2021 reguarding the women and men categories.
Gold in the women downriver for Rafting Aventure Villeneuve with 19:02.85, 4 seconds and 25 cents ahead of Sesia Rafting-DRD4. Third place for Adda Viva Indomita Valtellina River with 19:24.45. The best time of 17:28.94 has the name of the Rafting Team Verona, with almost 20 seconds of advantage on the second team: Sesia Rafting, 17:48.29. Third place for Valbrenta team who moved up the rankings with 18:02.17.
Finally, these are the names of the athletes who are training in the Italian Alps and will compete in the French valleys in three weeks.
The first two women teams: Rafting Aventure Villeneuve (Letizia Lauri, Elodie Lumignon, Gaia Mascarello, Carlotta Scalvino) and Sesia Rafting-DRD4 (Martina Bonomi, Christa Gruber, Francesca Leonardi, Miriam Waldboth).
The first two men teams: Rafting Team Verona (Pietro Fratton, Fabio Martini, Zeno Martini, Lorenzo Mastella).
The third steps of the selections’ podiums decided the two mix teams: Sara Amonini, Valentina Volo, Mattia Felini and Nicholas Gheno formed a new team, as well as the other mix team of Francesca Fontanive, Silvia Venturini, Riccardo Colombo and Michele Songini.
Last but definitely not least, the two Para-Rafting teams who will face the rapids of Durance for the first time in a World Para-Rafting Championship.
Marco Montagna and Riccardo Novella (M&N Movimento e Natura) will padre with the athletes of Asd Pescantina Carlo Benciolini and Nicola Speri. Para-athletes Massimo Giandinoto and Rosario Sperandini (M&N) will paddle with Rinaldo Veneroni (Adda Viva Indomita) e Damiano Casazza (ASV Sterzing) as Italy 2.
8 teams, 33 athletes: Italy started the countdown, 20 days to go!
Alto Piquiri whitewater hosted the 2021 National Rafting Championship of Brazil, R4, from 21st to 23rd May, and the first two man teams locked away their tickets to L’Argentière-la-Bessée.
The overall podium confirmed the medals of the three disciplines: downriver, slalom and RX.
Rio Abaixo team, 3rd place, on the upper Piquiri river
Rio Abaixo got the bronze: Alex Canilha, Marcelo Ferreira, Jairo Mariano, Fernando Mori and William Thomaz, competing as a master team, always succeeded in conquering the third step of the podium, leaving the final to the powerful Volans crew.
While Kaimanas was the only women team, with young under 23 athletes, all the men teams paddled with the eyes on the first two steps of the podium, bearing in mind that a silver would ensure the national spot at the upcoming World Championship.
Volans Rating team, 2nd place
The athletes who will carry the Brazilian flag in France are Gabriel Amichetti, Koiti Kuramoto, Jhonatan Machado and Fernando Schamne Simões, who managed to take the second place as Volans Rafting, and the winners of every discipline in the Upper Piquiri river: Pedro Aversa, William Ferraz, Chicão Thiago Diniz and Ze Pegro, as Volans.
Volans team, 2021 National Champions of Brazil
The Delegation of Volans Rafting teams, from the Brazilian State of São Paulo (Piracicaba, Brotas and Juquitiba municipalities) is all set to paddle in France in one month from now.
June is close and the numbers are official: the 2021 WRF World Rafting Championship, in L’Argentière-Pays des Ecrins, will welcome 30 countries and 350 athletes in almost a month.
The limit for the teams’ number for each National Federation is 8, two teams per category: beside the historical 2 men and 2 women teams there will be 2 mix (2 men+2 women) and 2 Para-Rafting teams (2 LTA + 2 athletes).
For the first time mix teams will be full-fledged teams, competing in all 3 disciplines, giving birth to a definitive new dimension of rafting, with a different and challenging balance between strength and technique.
Another first time for the Para-Rafting teams: WRF organised the first Para-Rafting Championship in Kiev 2019, but this time the level of the river is higher (III WW) and athletes and para-athletes will compete in the same whitewater.
On 28th June 80 senior teams will arrive in France from all over the world and after the accreditation they will be able to train for the first time in the Durance river.
The following morning there will be the Downriver official training and the competitions will officially start with the RX qualifications in the afternoon, followed by the Opening Ceremony.
Check out the bulletin for the full programme: https://www.worldraftingfederation.com/events/wrf-world-rafting-championships-france-2021
EU Green Week just ended and WRF is happy to announce another step forward for the contribute that our movement is committed to giving to the protection of the global environment.
On 3rd June Surfrider Foundation Europe organised an online conference bringing together representatives of water sports federations, athletes, researchers, environmental NGOs and local institutions from across Europe. "All on board for healthy waters” reflected on what should be done to ensure healthy waters in Europe and make sure the rules we have in place to safeguard public health and clean bathing waters are up to date and meet the objective to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment and to protect human health.
For 30 years, Surfrider Foundation Europe has been protecting, safeguarding and enhancing the oceans and the entire population that benefits from them. It acts on a daily basis to fight against damage of the water environment and its users, working with every level of society from citizens, to businesses and public institutions and governments on 3 main issues: water quality and health, marine litter, coastal adaptation and climate change.
Last week’s meeting gave the floor to diverse stakeholders with either first hand experience of bad water quality or ideas for improving the EU legislation.
WRF President Danilo Barmaz presented the World Rafting Federation giving evidence of the importance of safeguarding fresh water. Despite almost 97% of water on earth consists of salt water and less than 1% is available fresh water, rivers represent the veins of our planet. We paddle in these veins, we live in them and the closer we get to the water, the more we become aware of how precious this resource is. We all should stop and think about it, but never think to stop. 48 million people in Europe are believed to be involved in water sports and as a community included in this number there is a lot that we can do.
All the water on this planet is connected, from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the mountains, the whitewater we paddle in is a peculiar part of the whole cycle. From large industries to the single citizen, irresponsible human activities contribute to altering and polluting the natural water cycle and reducing its resilience. We need to raise people awareness on this fundamental issues that affects everyone, not only people who live or work in close contact with water and nature, but the whole world population. We need to think together about solutions to ensure healthy waters, in order to best protect human and water health, that are strictly connected to each other.
For the first time Surfrider Foundation gave voice to rafting as a healthy and educational activity: both through competitions and commercial activities the sport catches the eye of people who are not used to see water as a force of nature, but benefits from it every day. Rafting, as an accessible introduction for anyone into the world of water sports, can change their perspective and show them the veins of this planet and how human activities threaten water worldwide.
This online event will also be the occasion for Surfrider Foundation Europe to deliver the European Manifesto for #HealthyWaters to the European Commission, which has received the support from more than 60 organisations across Europe.
“This manifesto advocates for:Extending of water quality monitoring to recreational and water sports areas Monitoring water quality throughout the year Adding new parameters in the monitoring of water quality and in the criteria for the classification of sites: the presence of marine litter, harmful algal blooms and cyanobacteria, and chemical pollutants Obligations for the Member States regarding identifying, assessing and preventing pollution Standardised, more accessible and better relayed public information on water quality, as well as strengthened and encouraged public participation Aligning all policies with an impact on water and the protection of the marine environment. This event has been labelled 'EU Green Week 2021 Partner Event' and has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union.”
The aim is to warn the public and European politicians of the need for quick action in order to enjoy healthier recreational waters. By bringing together all of its claims and recommendations in this text, it is calling for the adoption of effective measures to improve monitoring of these areas, whether they be oceans, lakes or rivers.
At the last WRF World Rafting Championship in Tunceli (Turkey) Brazil got the over all gold, placing first in the downriver and the slalom.
We talked with one of its member about his river experience and the current worldwide situation.
Thiago, when was your first rafting experience? What other sports do you practice?
I practice slalom kayaking, extreme kayaking and mountain bike.
My city is divided by the homonymous river Piracicaba that hosted the Brazilian Rafting Championship in 2003.
I used to paddle there with a close-knit team of slalom kayaking, so we decided to venture out, train as a team and we finally participated in the National Champs. Rafting is a great part of my life since then.
Rafting is the only team sport you practice. What did you learn from paddling together? And from rafting in general?
The main reason for me to paddle in rafting is the team: you learn how to deal with people, physically and mentally; rafting reminds me that we cannot achieve anything in life alone. I gave a talk at a company about rafting and I realised how much you can apply the river principles on the ground, out of the river in the daily life. If we work together we can’t have different goals: the objective has to be common so the team can evolve. The river makes you feel part of something and when you paddle together this feeling is complete.
I learned to respect nature, thanks to the river. It is a part of my life and at the same time I am a part of nature: you can’t play with it, but in it. And while you are enjoying nature you understand how important is to preserve and protect it.
WRF World Rafting Championship in Turkey, June 2019
How did Covid-19 change your life? What is the goal for you now?
Covid-19 certainly changed the whole world. I personally learnt to take care of my self more often, considering both the body and the mind. I have a bicycle store and my business increased a lot since the sport is exponentially growing every day: people are more aware of what they can do now.
A concrete dream that the whole rafting community should think about is “Rafting at the Olympics”: I may be biased but our sport has much to give and offers so many opportunities and examples that are worthy of the Olympic recognition.
Personally, my biggest goal in 2021 is to win in France and reconfirm the title of World Champion with my teammates William Ferraz, Antônio José, Martins Salvati, Samuel Barbosa de Almeida and Fernando Tarcíso schamne Simões. We are training everyday with our coach Marcelo Ferreira and we are looking forward to compete there. See you in France!
FFCK is one of the biggest canoe federations worldwide and in 2017 officially welcomed the rafting sport under its umbrella, becoming a WRF member.
Rafting in France is a historical discipline from the recreational and commercial point of view, but the first National Championship was held in 2019.
Since then the agonistic field is exponentially growing: next June the World Rafting Championship will see 30 Countries paddling in L’Argentière-la-Bessée on the French river Durance.
We interviewed Mr Jean Zoungrana, FFCK President since 2016.
The entry of the FFCK in WRF has been an enormous result for our federation, since France has one of the most important canoe federations worldwide. What are the reasons that prompt the FFCK to focus and invest on rafting?
Our federation obtained the delegation of the Ministry of Sports for Rafting in 2017. It is also the moment when I was elected president of the French Canoe Kayak Federation by carrying a development project for our federation which aims to develop all of our paddle sports and not just the Olympic disciplines as some federations do. I also proposed to change the name of our federation which is now a French federation of canoeing and paddling sports. Canoeing and kayaking are our historical disciplines, but since then we have had many other disciplines that have developed, one of which is rafting, and which should be recognized. Our desire to develop rafting is therefore part of a broader desire to develop all of our paddle sports in calm water, white water and sea, with our 700 clubs and our nearly 70,000 members.
What is the approach of your federation in the development of our discipline, historical from the recreational and commercial point of view, but at the same time “new” in the institutional field?
Rafting has long been developed in France as part of leisure and tourism activities. We indeed have a lot of whitewater rivers. These activities are organized by a highly developed professional sector. Until now our federation was not very open towards these structures. Here too, we have changed the federal strategy by opening up to this professional sector. These structures can become certified members of our federation and thus benefit from all our services and the defense of their activities.
The delegation of the ministry for rafting led us to develop a new dimension, the sporting dimension with the organization of the French championships, the selection of a French team, the participation in the world championships.
44 teams attended the First National Champsionship of France, 19th May 2019
Despite the first National Championship in France was held recently, almost 2 years ago, many teams participated and the level was very good. How did our sport developed over the years in France? How do you think rafting will grow from now on?
We actually organised our first French Championship in 2018 with the Provence Alpes Cotes d'Azur regional committee and its President Bruno Carlier. The development of the discipline goes from our point of view through different axes and in particular:
The establishment of a commission in charge of the Raft and of executives and elected representatives for the discipline. For the moment the raft is associated with our Freestyle commission to pool organisations. Ultimately, when the discipline is sufficiently structured and developed, an autonomous commission will make it possible to build a calendar of regional and national events, to set up training courses for judges, to adapt sports regulations. Unfortunately the Covid-19 did not allow us to develop these sports events as we would have liked.
It’s also training. In this context we have the L'Argentière-la-Bessée regional training center with its Director Didier Lafay, which has been recognised as a center of excellence by the WRF. We also have a "EuroPAddle pass" training system with skills to be developed in terms of technique, safety and the environment. In this context we have defined a color paddle progression from the white paddle which corresponds to the beginner level to the black paddle which corresponds to the expert practitioner of the discipline.
Rafting developed all around the world over the years, connected to several territories with peculiar differences. What could be the result of a worldwide union? What are the benefits of the resulting structure?
At the international level, we note that in certain disciplines, there are several federations. This is the case in Dragon Boat with ICF and IDBF, Va'a with ICF and IVF, but also for Raft. The multiplicity of federations makes things less readable. It multiplies the titles, the championships, with economic consequences which can be important for the federations to participate in the various championships. A single federation makes it possible to reduce schedules and pool organizations as much as possible. These situations require reconciliation. These require time and strategies to share the vision of the future of the discipline, the steps in the rapprochement and the agreements to be negotiated between the parties. It is not always easy, each federation having its history and its vision.
FFCK President Jean Zoungrana and WRF President Danilo Barmaz
A new channel near Paris will be built on the occasion of the 2024 Olympics, and this facility will therefore become the new headquarter of the FFCK. Considering the fact that rafting is a great tool to approach the public and make people discover the river world, what do you think about a rafting event/initiative that brings people in the river to value the river visibility before and/or after the Olympic dates?
Since 2018 we have inaugurated the Olympic and Paralympic nautical stadium of Île-de-France located in Vaires-Sur-Marne. We have installed our French teams and our federal headquarters there. Our project is to build our canoe-kayak and paddle sports house which will house the future federal headquarters at the entrance to the site. This site is one of the largest in the world dedicated to the practice of paddle sports, with its two artificial rivers for training and competitions and its lake for calm water disciplines. We will host events in many different disciplines: Rafting, why not?
What is the way to develop a positive synergy between rafting and canoe?
During the phase of discovering our paddle sports, it is important to be able to allow practitioners to discover all the supports. It’s part of a comprehensive paddle sports education. Thereafter, the athletes are led to make choices according to their physical and technical capacities. To promote the development of the discipline, one of the solutions would be to consider, in particular, joint organizations. In 2017, we organized the Slalom and wildwater world championships on the same site in Pau. Why do not we consider a championship that combines wild water with Rafting? This will make the sport grow.
WRF promotes the Olympic agenda values of Tokyo 2020 every day: sustainability, legacy and gender equality. How can these three principles be achieved and further developed through and after the Olympics?
Our federation shares these values and these orientations. Thus our federal project has three orientations: to perform during the Games but also in all disciplines, to celebrate the Games and to build our Paris 2024 heritage for the future. A material heritage in terms of infrastructure, equipment, navigation sites but also immaterial by making paddle sports accessible to all, by training our practitioners and by offering quality sports and leisure activities.
Regarding gender equality, in the last election I presented a team with equal representation of both genders. We are currently working on the evolution of our statutes so that there are at least 40% of women or men in all the bodies of our federation.
Sustainable development issues are also part of our concerns. We must fight against global warming by intervening in all our sectors of activity: transport, food, the life cycle of our equipment, waste management, in the organization of our events, etc. it is also the protection actions of our practice sites with all the cleaning operations of our rivers that our clubs carry out. Finally, it is also the defense of access to our spaces, sites and navigation routes to ensure that our users can continue to navigate safely on all sites.
What is your message to the athletes who are preparing for the World Rafting Champs?
France awaits them for this championship and is doing everything possible to ensure that they are received in the best possible conditions. The Argentière La Bessée site is a remarkable site for the practice of Rafting and offers excellent reception conditions as well as quality whitewater navigation courses with the river and the whitewater stadium. We look forward to welcome you all!