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The first National Rafting Championship in French history is over: the union between the estabilished and competitive Canoe "d'eau vive" and the passion of Rafting guides laid the foundation of the agonistic Rafting in France.
On 19th May 2019 44 teams celebrated the beginning of a new river era that will exponentially grow in the next years starting from L'Arentière-la-Bessée.
On 15th February 2019 FFCK and WRF board designated the "Stade d'eau vive - Michel Baudry" as the WRF Centre of Excellence and less than 3 months later athletes from the whole France, but also rafters from Chile, Great Britain and Italy, joined an amazing event: canoeists, rafting guides, sport lovers, children and families discovered the new World of Rafting and "it seemed it wasn't the first time, thanks to the precise and punctual organisation" as the WRF President Danilo Barmaz said.
Rafters paddled on Time Trial rafts and had 2 manches of sprint in the morning to do their best in the Durance river: 32 rafts moved to the RX knock-out stage that, at the end of a full adrenaline afternoon, crowned the first National Rafting team of France: Yann Morais, Pierre Certain, Edouard Blanc, Driss Dighouth will debut next month at the World Championships 2019 in Tunceli, Turkey, accompanied by Didier Lafay (Directeur du Centre de Formation Canoë Kayak region PACA) and Bruno Carlier (Presidént du Comité Régional Canoe Kayak).
The best result (for a few seconds) was conquered by the Italians Pietro Fratton, Fabio Martini, Zeno Martini and Lorenzo Mastella, that is the National team of Italy and considered the race as an opportunity to test the competitive condition of the team.
Sébastien Assailly, Kévin Mouillade, Olivier Ernst and Vincent Hartmann took the second place and the bronze medal went to Cyril Audoit, Coralie Yebenes, Kévin Gix and Samuel Pereira who, with many other paddle lovers, were waiting for the birth of the agonistic Rafting in their country and are now optimistic about the new movement.
Local and federation's authorities, including Marie Patrick Vigne (mayor of L'Arentière-la-Bessée), Jean Zoungrana (FFCK President) and Député Joel Giraud, collaborated in the organization of the event and declared themself fully satisfied and ready to organize and host the World Rafting Championships 2021.
On 19th April the CESA (Chinese Extreme Sports Association) has received in its headquarter in Beijing the WRF Delegation.
The meeting between the CESA President, Mr. Wang Xuan, and the WRF President, Mr. Danilo Barmaz, assisted by their respective Secretary General, Ms. Han Jiling and Mr. Matteo Benciolini, held in the CESA headquarter in Beijing China, was very successful.
On Friday 19th April some important topics have been discussed by the two delegations, among which the development of the Training Guide Programme for Raft Guide and Coach, the participation of Chinese National Teams in the coming World Championships (Turkey 2019 and France 2021) and the organisation of international sport events in China in the coming years. The meeting was held in a very friendly atmosphere, reflecting the excellent quality of the WRF relations with CESA.
Rafting in China is as official discipline of the Chinese Extreme Sports Association, founded in 2004 and recognised by the Chinese Olympic Committee as an autonomous association since 2018: indeed, in the last years CESA has seen all its discipline increase of significance, especially, surfing and skateboarding that have been included in the Olympic Programme of Tokyo 2020.
“I’m very glad to know that CESA and WRF share the same passion for sport and the same vision for the development of rafting. I'm sure that our collaboration will be positive and lasting. We are honoured that WRF has been the first official international delegation visiting the CESA headquarter” said Mr. Barmaz “I want to thank the President Wang Xuan for the nice hospitality and important collaboration and the Vice-President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, Mr. Gao Zhidan, for supporting this meeting”.
Time Trial is the largest manufacturer of inflatable products for sports and outdoor activities in Russia for over 18 years and from 2019 this Russian affirmed brand becomes the Official Partner of World Rafting Federation: it will provide the main WRF competitions with the official rafts. Only the shipping cost shall be borne by the local organising committee.
During the World Champs 2018 in Ivrea (Italy) athletes from all over the world paddled on R4 Time Trial rafts and straight after the race WRF board started thinking about a long-term collaboration: at the end of March 2019 an agreement has been signed in Villeneuve between the Russian entrepreneur Ilya Gubarev and the WRF President Danilo Barmaz.
The TimeTrial factory was founded on 7th July 2000 by the captain of the Neva Tour Rafting team Sergei Petrov and since its inception, the priority direction for the company has been the production of inflatable rafts for rafting and competitions. Experienced specialists and representatives of the industries take part in the production of these equipments that are tested by professional athletes, coaches, Sports Federations, rescuers of the Emergencies Ministry and the military. Thanks to the modern technology offered by the production area of 2000 m² and 90 professional employees the rafts produced by the TimeTrial factory are present in 22 countries worldwide and have already earned the trust of many teams and Federations.
Mr. Ilya Gubarev declares "We are profoundly honored to collaborate with WRF, being part of the movement that is changing the Rafting World, making it grow, helping every single nation".
100 Km/24 hours: this challenge was born on 22nd June 2006 when 23 boats started from Voru and 18 of those arrived to the Lake Pihkva/Pskovskoe.
13 years later, on 19th April 2019, 1074 boats participated to the 14th edition of Võhandu Maraton and 968 earned the medal: a WRF representative team paddled for 19 hours on a R4 Time Trial raft.
The marathon's venue is beautiful: totally sorrounded by nature. After leaving Lake Tamula in Võru, the riverbanks are low, but they rise gradually until after some hours of canoeing the river enters a primeval valley. The steep and forested riverbanks of the primeval valley are interspersed with adjoining valleys and numerous sandstone outcrops. There are many springs and caves in the sandstone cliffs and adjoining valleys. In the last part of the marathon the riverbanks are low again.
There are great views from the river of wild forests, meadows and sandstone outcrops that our ancestors used to call walls.
Seven water mills have been built on the river, only ruins are left of some of them - passing the dams of these water mills should get your adrenaline going.
The President of the Estonian Canoe Federation and member of the Estonian Olympic Committee, Mr. Martin Ilumets, received the WRF team with the event manager Hillar Irves (member of the Estonian Canoe Federation): the President Ilumets declared that Estonian Canoe Federation, as new WRF Member, is ready to cooperate with World Rafting Federation in order to develop rafting in Estonia and Europe.
For the first time in ten years the Bulgarian Rafting Federation has a new chairman. His name is Tsvetan Petrov, chief international rafting judge, civil aviation pilot and Airbus 320 crew commander. His experience in rafting began about twenty years ago when he went on a student brigade in Alaska. There, in the world’s Mecca of Rafting - the Nenana River in Denali National Park, he received his professional rafting training. Coming back to Bulgaria he made the first pontoon dowriveron the Strumain the famous Kresna gorge and later trained most of the rafters that now work on the river.
- Mr. Petrov, BRF has become one of the founding members of the WRFa year ago, and you are the Chairman of theBulgarian Rafting Federation already for a month. What are the plans of the new leadership?
- There are large scale and difficult tasks ahead of us, but we are very optimistic, even more so that we have been waiting for a year the old leadership to withdraw and give us the authority to function. We feel very encouraged by our international partner (WRF), whose leadership is also new and young .I would say that during the last 10 years, much more could have been done for the Bulgarian rafting, but I'm sure we will catch up now.
- What are your most important tasks?
- First and foremost, we have to renew the federation's license, as required by the new law on youth and sport. Secondly, with the help of the WRF, Bulgarian instructors will be able to train and license Bulgarian river guides and coaches, which has not been done so far. Thirdly, the profession of river guide has not yet been recognized by the Ministry of Laborand social policy, because nobody has been working on this issue. That is what should be donetoo. But meanwhile, we need to make a federal logo, a new website, to work out and accept new rules, regulations and ordinances, and to do everything necessary in order to be in line with our senior leader, namely the World Rafting Federation.
- What about the development of the paralympic rafting?
- The problem is that nobody in our country has ever worked in this direction as well as in many others. We should start participating in international projects, you know there are so many projects financed by the European Union. The Bulgarian Ministry of youth and sport offers also numerous opportunities for international and local activities. Further and very important task is to develop the work with children and young people. At the moment, 3 clubs have been engaged in working with adolescents. Rafting, for example, can be made an extracurricular form in schools that are close to whitewater rivers. This means that we have to sign agreements for cooperation with the local municipalities on the win-win principle, so that the whole local community become involved and children get on and start practicing rafting.
- How do you plan to work with the rafting clubs?
- In our country, clubs have been struggling to survivesince their birthday. There are still clubs that do not compete - those who have not seen any benefit from being a member of the federation. Or have not been invited for members. My goal as a chairman is to pull them together and to make a strong and cohesive federation.We now have 13 clubs, our desire is to be 20 very soon.
- Is there a competition between the clubs when we talk about commercial rafting?
- Each club offers a different experience, whether the river is Struma, Danube, Arda or Chaya. Competition exists when the level of each club is standardized, that is, they are all very good. And this can be achieved by participating in international competitions.Therefore I would like all our clubs to take part at the competitions, organized by WRF and step by step to find their place among the best in the world.
The "BE WATER" project, co-financed by the European Union, has officially started in Slunj: it aims to enhance and “use” aquatic outdoor sports as a means of environmental education and awareness.
The kickoff of the project co-financed by the Erasmus + program has just been held in Slunj, Croatia, along the Korana River. The meeting was attended by representatives of the four project partners from Comunità della Val di Sole (Italy), the Kajak Kanu klub ’’Rastocki mlinari’’ (Croatia), the Rafting Club “Gimpex Straza” (Slovenia) and F.I.Raft (Italian Rafting Federation).
The activities carried out through the project will allow the creation of innovative and European environmental education tools based on outdoor aquatic practices (such as rafting and kayaking) and to start a transnational communication and awareness path on the importance of the water resource.
Project idea is born by the match of two transnational and common trends that need a common and innovative answer: on one side there is the outdoor sports practices in constant growth. With the increasing of outdoor sport practice popularity, mountains, rivers and other natural areas are under growing stress: according to the partners of the project, it’s is important to support this trend and bring citizen to practice open-air activities but at the same time it is essential to minimize the impact of outdoor sport activities on the wilderness, protected areas, rivers and to develop outdoor sport activities that include awareness on environmental protection. On the other side there is the specific water issue: waters sports and theirs industries need to be aware of - and develop more resilient offer to - the water crisis at local and international level (lost of glaciers, pollution, …) not only for environmental sustainability but also for economical and social issues.
Indeed, in order to guarantee environmental sustainability and open-air sport growth there is a need to develop alternative educational and sensibilisation processes and tools able to involve and sensitize citizens.
The first action that will be developed by the partnership will be the training of some "ambassadors" of the rivers. Through training courses dedicated to rafting, canoeing and kayaking guides, the project will contribute to improving the knowledge of the peculiarities and problems related to water at local and global level.
Straight after the excellent new that the Federatia Romana de Kaiac Canoe (FRKC) joined the World Rafting Federation, the Romanian Rafting started working for the WRF Training Programme for River Guide and Coach.
Last month Xavier Postiaux (a Belgian experienced Rafting and Canoe Trainer, Responsable of the WRF Training Programme Commission) organised a WRF workshop on Bazau and Busca rivers, near Nehoiu city.
WRF board he has been impressed by the motivation of the instructors: two members of the "Federatia Romana de Kaiac Canoe" are now ready to give all the support required by the Rafting activity in their country.
Step by step growing and performing!
Welcome on board! The Federação Portuguesa de Canoagem's membership application has been approved by the Executive Board: Portugal becomes an official member of World Rafting Federation. Athletes are training and looking forward to their first international experience and the WRF President, Mr Danilo Barmaz, declares "We are glad to cooperate and develop rafting and paddle sport together!"