The picturesque Kresna Gorge in Bulgaria has long been a site of ecological importance and a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly the rafting community. However, a recent proposal to build a highway...
In a heartwarming display of sharing and environmental awareness, athletes from around the world came together during a recent WRF World Rafting Championships 2023 Valtellina, Italy to support the World...
Asian Rafting Championships on the go! A thrilling new adventure will bring together all the rafting lovers from across the continent to race for the title of Asian Champion celebrating the spirit of river...
The last RX on Adda river was on fire at the World Rafting Championships 2023.On friday the knock out of Mix, Women and Men went on until the finals at night, with the fireworks that lit up the 400 athletes,...
Gates on Adda river awarded the points of the second day at the World Rafting Championships in Valtellina, Italy. Red gates were paired (4 5 7 8 11 12 ) and forced the 30 nations to paddle challenging...
Tic tac! The Worlds are just over a month away and we are happy to present the Media-Tool-Kit of the event.
The WRF World Rafting Championships 2023 will be the biggest rafting event in history, bringing together for the first time more than 30 Nations. Participants and partners are encouraged to help promote as well as celebrate the event through the use of this digital toolkit which has been developed to help you maximise the opportunity through a range of assets and ready-to-use content.
On March 13th, 2023, Vjosa was declared as Europe's first Wild River National Park, further cementing its status as one of Albania's natural wonders. The river is home to more than 1,100 species, including diverse fish fauna with high percentages of endemic species of the Balkans, and authentic communities. With its lush vegetation, Vjosa is an ideal destination for adventure enthusiasts seeking exploration and relaxation.
For over a decade, environmental experts, tourism activists, and organizations such as EcoAlbania, Patagonia, Riverwatch, Euronatur, and IUCN, alongside residents of the communities surrounding Vjosa, media, national and international artists, tour operators, and activity enthusiasts have been dedicated to safeguarding Vjosa for future generations.
During the celebrations of Vjosa NP's declaration in the Municipality of Tepelena, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced, "Currently, almost 21% of Albania's territory is designated as a protected area, and we are continuously expanding this area each year towards achieving our target of having 30% of Albania's land as a protected area by 2030."
Minister Mirela Kumbaro announced, "Today, the Albanian government has officially declared the Vjosa River and its three tributaries (Drino, Bënçë, Shushicë) as a National Park, encompassing its entire length. This declaration is the result of two years of tireless efforts from the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, the National Agency of Protected Areas, the National Agency of Territorial Planning, local and foreign workers, Patagonia, and IUCN. The team worked village by village to cover the entire stretch of the river, from Leskovik, Çarshova, and Përmet to Këlcyre and Tepelënë, Memaliaj and Fier, Vlorë and Gjirokastër, Dropull, and Libohova. This historic decision would not have been possible without the support of my colleagues. Environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and tourism development were once unimaginable when economic aid was focused on addressing emergencies. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to this achievement. This decision marks a significant milestone in Albania's efforts towards environmental conservation."
Vjosa is home to 13 globally endangered animal species and 2 plant species, along with at least 50 animal and 24 plant species listed on Albania's Red Lists, according to information from ecoalbania.org. The river and its tributaries flow freely from the mountains of Greece to the Adriatic coast of Albania, creating a vast natural area with diverse habitats. The upper part has narrow gorges, the middle course has wide meandering river sections, and there is a quasi-natural delta in the Adriatic Sea. The middle stream alone has at least 8 priority habitat types for nature conservation within the European Union framework. Scientific understanding of Vjosa's biodiversity and ecological processes is limited because it is one of Europe's least explored rivers. However, existing studies emphasize the river valley's importance as a biodiversity "hot spot" in Albania, providing ideal aquatic habitats for numerous species.
GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR ECO TOURISM
Blerina Ago, a member of the WRF Board, an advocate for nature conservation, adventure travel, and pioneer of promoting destinations in the Western Balkans, suggests that the Vjosa River in Albania has the potential to become a premier ecotourism destination worldwide. Its unspoiled waters, stunning scenery, and diverse biodiversity offer an ideal setting for a unique nature-based experience.
Ecotourism has gained popularity, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as travelers seek authentic experiences that enable them to connect with nature while supporting local conservation efforts. The Vjosa River is one of the few remaining wild rivers in Europe with untouched habitats that provide shelter for various species. Visitors can observe a wide range of wildlife, including otters, eagles, and rare freshwater fish. Additionally, the river offers various activities, such as kayaking, climbing, rafting, wilderness camping, stand up paddleboarding, hydrospeed, cycling, hiking, and mountain climbing, allowing visitors to actively engage with the river's natural beauty.
Blerina Ago, Entrepreneur and Tourism Consultant. Founder and CEO of activealbania.com
The Vjosa River is not only blessed with natural beauty, but also cultural monuments and traditional villages that showcase Albania's rich history and local traditions. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by exploring ancient ruins, visiting local markets, and enjoying traditional cuisine. This well-rounded experience supports local communities and adds to the river's appeal as a world-class ecotourism destination.
To fully realize the potential of the Vjosa River, it is essential to develop sustainable tourism infrastructure that supports conservation efforts and benefits local communities. This may involve eco-friendly accommodations, green transportation, and recreational facilities with minimal environmental impact. Education and training programs for visitors and the local community can also promote sustainable tourism practices.
In order to achieve success in ecotourism in the Vjosa River region, it will be essential for local communities, environmental organizations, and government agencies to collaborate. By working together, these stakeholders can ensure that tourism development aligns with conservation goals while promoting local economic growth. The World Sustainable Tourism Council's GSTC criteria can provide a framework for managing tourist destinations in a sustainable manner, supporting the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable tourism in the Vjosa River region can offer numerous benefits, such as providing income for local communities, increasing awareness of conservation, and funding for conservation efforts. With careful planning and cooperation, the Vjosa River has the potential to become a model for sustainable ecotourism in Europe.
During the first 10 days of March the Fédération Royal Maroccaine de Rafting held a course of for river guides.
Two experienced guides cooperated with the local organisation: Mr Zach is an international rafting trainer and assessor from United Kingdom with over 30 seasons of experience working in outdoor adventure, and he is one of the instructors and founders of the Royal Moroccan Rafting Fédération;
Mr Alex Aitkin has been padding rivers for 40 years in 46 countries. He is member of the WRF training committee, a rescue 3 instructor and an expert advisor for the Royal Moroccan Rafting Fédération.
The courses were near the in cathédrale of Tilouguite, province of Azilal, translated from English to Arabic and berberian by Abdullah Yassine and Mr Mustapha Outili and Mustapha Amaguar kindly offered a complete accomodation.
24 rafters took part in the event, including 3 women, and the President El Mamoun expressed full satisfaction about the active participation.
The programme included the activity we should always take time for: cleaning the river and it's environment.
Furthermore the agonistic field is growing in Morocco: 2 male teams will compete at the world champs. See you in the river!
The power of sport in promoting environmental sustainability and forest conservation is undoubtedly enormous. In recent years, more and more athletes, teams and sports organizations have joined the cause of OneTreePlanted, a non-profit organization dedicated to planting trees around the world to restore forests, protect wildlife and fight climate change.
Athletes' commitment to environmental sustainability is nothing new, but OneTreePlanted has been able to make the most of this potential. The organization has created an online platform that allows athletes and sports enthusiasts to support the cause of reforestation through donations, challenges and crowdfunding campaigns. Many professional athletes have already shown their support for OneTreePlanted, using their visibility to raise awareness of deforestation and the need for action to protect forests.
But it's not just professional athletes who support OneTreePlanted. Sports teams and organizations of all levels are also embracing the cause of reforestation. The World Rafting Federation on the occasion of the WRF World Rafting Championships 2023, as for the previous one in 2021, is honored to support the reforestation project - this time in Uganda - by planting 1 tree for every athlete participant in the event.
We now wanna direct to every athlete, we have chance through the sport we love to raise awareness of the need to protect forests and take action against climate change. Athletes, teams and sports fans can all do their part to support this cause, helping to create a more sustainable future for all.
Check out the website for more: https://onetreeplanted.org/
The Albanian Rafting Federation organized the "2023 National Rafting Championship" in the city of Berat on March 29, 2023.
Competitors were sports teams from Berat, Përmeti, Skrapari, Dibra, Elbasan, Saranda.
The participating sports associations were Albania Rafting Group, Black Drin Adventure, Albania Rafting - Vjosa, Albanian Sport & Tourismem Elbasan.
This championship shows that the sport of rafting has spread almost all over Albania where there are rivers suitable for this sport. It comes after the training for guides of the special rafting specialty that the Albanian Rafting Federation developed with applicants from all over Albania on the Osum river and in the river Vjosa in Permet.
The downriver winners are listed as follows:
In third place the team of Bistrica with the result 12 min and 23 seconds, in second place the team of Vjosa 11 minutes and 17 minutes and in first place Osumi 10 minutes and 44 seconds with captain Murat Mamurani.
The winning team will represent Albania in the 2023 World Rafting Championship that will take place in Valtellina, Italy on June 26 to July 2, 2023.
The president of the Albanian Rafting Federation Zamo Spathara emphasized to the participants that this truck showed an increase in the technical quality of the guides and an increase in the number of participants.
5 teams means 5 rivers where rafting takes place all year round, 5 consolidated realities, 5 defenders and promoters of rivers and water tourism activities.
The special feature of this training is that it was attended by citizens from Austria, Croatia and Hungary who practiced rafting in the Albanian rivers together with our trainers and guides.
Spathara adds that: "The future goal of the Albanian Rafting Federation is to turn rafting into a mass sport by starting to become part of the school sports curriculum, especially in the cities and villages that have the river as part of their lives".
Andrea Gatti, external expert for professional training of Albanian Rafting guides since 2014, added:
"The potential of the Albanian rivers is unimaginable and the Albanians and future generations will live with the income from tourism. The championship is important as it is a workshop from a technical and safety point of view and an educational opportunity for young people".
This activity was supported by the Municipality of Berat, the World Rafting Federation, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Albanian Olympic Committee
26th June – 2nd July 2023
Dear Sport friends,
on behalf of the Italian Rafting Federation and Adda Viva Valtellina SSD, it is my pleasure to extend a warm invitation to your National teams to participate in the upcoming World Rafting Championships, which will be held in Valtellina, Italy from June 26th to July 2nd.
This prestigious event will bring together the world's top rafting teams to compete in various categories, including men's and women's rafting, as well as sprint and slalom competitions.
As the host nation, we are particularly excited to showcase our passion for RX, slalom and downriver events. We are also proud to feature the para-rafting category, which is an important aspect of our championship and underscores our commitment to inclusivity and diversity in the sport of rafting.
The championship promises to be an exciting display of athleticism, teamwork, and passion for the sport of rafting. The Valtellina region, with its stunning natural beauty and adventurous spirit, is the perfect setting for this competition. We are confident that your team will enjoy the warm hospitality of our community and the challenging rapids of the Adda River.
We would be honored to have your team participate and compete alongside the best in the world, including in the para-rafting category. Your presence would not only contribute to the success of the championship but also provide an opportunity for cultural exchange and the strengthening of international ties.
With this Bulletin we will provide you with additional information on the championship, including travel and accommodation details.
We look forward to welcoming you and your team to Valtellina for the World Rafting Championships.
Benedetto Del Zoppo
Valtellina is a breathtaking valley located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. The valley is surrounded by the stunning Italian Alps, and is known for its beautiful mountain scenery, rich cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine.
The climate in Valtellina during the end of June and early July is generally warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (around 16-30°C).
The weather during this time of year is usually dry and pleasant, making it an ideal time to explore the beautiful outdoors of Valtellina. Valtellina is a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with countless activities to enjoy including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and of course, rafting. The Adda River, which winds through Valtellina, is one of the best rivers in Italy for rafting and kayaking. The challenging rapids and beautiful scenery make it a perfect location for the World Rafting Championships. In addition to the outdoor activities, Valtellina also boasts a rich cultural heritage.
The valley is dotted with charming medieval towns, historic castles, and beautiful churches. Visitors can explore the historic town of Sondrio, stroll through the picturesque streets of Tirano, or visit the beautiful Abbey of San Pietro in Valle.
Foodies will also love Valtellina's culinary scene, which is known for its delicious wines, cheeses, and cured meats. The valley is particularly famous for its Valtellina wines, including the popular red wine called Valtellina Superiore. Other local specialties include pizzoccheri, a type of buckwheat pasta, and bresaola, a type of air-dried beef.
Overall, Valtellina is a stunning region that offers something for everyone. We are confident that visitors to the World Rafting Championships will fall in love with the beautiful scenery, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality of this unique part of Italy.
The most awaited appointment for rafting and extreme sport lovers is almost there: the WRF World Rafting Championships 2023, organized this time by the Italian Rafting Federation and the Adda Viva Indomita Valtellina River in Valtellina, in the heart of the beautiful Italian Alps.
This year the competition will see about 450 athletes of the best rafting teams from all over the world, to compete for the title of ‘’World Champion’’. The event will be held in Valtellina, Lombardy, in northern Italy - on the waves of the river Adda where many canoeing events of continental and worldwide interest have been organized in the past including the 2014 ICF World Canoeing Championships.
The competitions will take place from 26th June to 2nd July in different specialties, including the Downriver, the Slalom, and RX: the specialty in which two teams will compete simultaneously in the same section of the river to win the victory. The Rafting World Championship is an exciting and spectacular event that attracts many fans of this extreme sport. But don’t worry if you cannot reach Italy because all the competitions will be followed live and broadcasted online on the official channels of the World Rafting Federation (@worldrafting) as far as all the media, contents and results.
So what’s your bet? Which flag will top the podium of the Champion this year? At the moment more than 30 nations are already registered, from all over the globe (Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia,Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, North Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Peru, Slovenia, Serbia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela).
The challenges of rafting, together with the natural beauty of the places where the competitions take place, will once again make this appointment a unique experience for anyone who loves adventure and adrenaline. An important occasion for the World Federation to promote ecotourism and the protection of the environment through young people and sport: re-proposing a partnership with OneTreePlanted - a movement that works for reforestation worldwide - for each athlete participating in the worlds in fact a tree will be planted in Uganda, country with one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.
Follow us on all our social account to stay update and find all the news on the World Rafting Championships 2023!
The final start lists will be available on 15th April.
Taking place 26 June - 2 July 2023, the event is the main competition of the season.
The World Rafting Championships is held every two years and provides 5 action-packed days of intense competition, in a new semi artificial venue where fans can witness the raw athleticism and talent of many of the world’s best athletes at close range.
After the great show in France, WRF confirms that RX finals will be held on friday night, guaranteeing an electrifying atmosphere.
Also, today the event’s new brand mark has been revealed.
World Rafting showed confidence in the hosting city and in the LOC to host this prestigious global championships and in 100 days we - working alongside our partners - will give our best to deliver an event to remember. “We’re hyped for the season and looking forward to welcoming spectators, athletes and friends to Adda river”.
Next year, the Senior World Championships will be held in Italy (Sondrio) and the registrations are already open.
Massimo Desiati,President of the Sport Department: “Following strong collaboration between the WRF and Pan-American Council, we are pleased to reveal two great events in Pan-America for the 2023 season. World Cup will be held in Aluminé, Argentina (1-5 november) and Costa Rica will host the first Pan-American Cup (11-15 May). We look forward to this exciting sport year”.
The European calendar confirms the weekend in Serbia and announces an exciting competition in Val Di Sole with the ICF collaboration.
The calendar will be updated constantly.
Read the full 2023 Sport Calendar