The World Rafting Federation
The World Rafting Federation (WRF) is the world governing body for all aspect of Sport Rafting, especially international competitions. Rafting, leisure and recreational Rafting, expedition Rafting, all others disciplines directly connected to Rafting and Rafting as sport for all.
WRF Statues has been approved by the Constituent Assembly in Belgrade (Serbia) on 26th January 2018. The registered office has been established in Rome (Italy).
The WRF has built up a dynamic and solid structure, based on the principles of good governance, universality, equal opportunities and transparency.
The WRF has included athletes in its decision-making processes at all levels. It has also adopted anti- doping policies to protect athletes’ health and integrity.
The WRF has enhanced the potential for media interest and sponsor support. As aconsequence, growth is constant and exposure is increasing. The trend is upward, like a controlled rafting progression, staying true to the core values of the sport. Moreover, sport rafting is a formidable educational tool to fight obesity, social problems and discrimination.
Following the common goals of reuniting paddlesports and fostering sustainability within sport and Olympic movement (see Olympic Agenda 2020, recommendation 5), on 27th April 2018 the WRF signed an historical cooperation agreement with the International Canoe Federation (ICF), obtaining the status of ICF Associate Member.
Thanks to the collaboration with the ICF, rafting has been included in the Sport Programme of the International Masters Games Association and it will make its debut in 2020 Rio de Janeiro Pan-American Master Games.
WRF, together with other international sport federations and national Olympic Committees, including International University Sport Federation (FISU), Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF), International Sport School Federation (ISF), is also Founder Member of the International Federation for Sports Officials (IFSO)
The principal purposes of WRF are the direction, regulation, promotion, development and furtherance of the sport of competition Rafting on a world-wide basis.
The WRF is in particular responsible for and undertakes:
- to encourage, promote, develop and supervise rafting competitions worldwide.
- to promote the spirit of the Olympic Movement, respect the Olympic Charter, and to seek program status in the Olympic Games.
- to affiliate to General Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF).
- to fight against doping and all other processes and procedures that might undermine sporting equality, to implement Anti-doping Rules in accordance with the World Anti-doping Code
- to promote good sporting practice.
- to generally promote this sport as a healthy and educational activity for youth.
- to establish and maintain rules for international rafting competitions and for the participation in such competitions.
- to monitor and enforce the application of those rules by the Continental Councils and the member federations.
- to organize Word rafting Championship, World and Continental Cups, as well as other competitions, and to decide which international rafting competitions are officially recognized.
- to award licenses and contracts to WRF members and other organizations that seek authority to organize official international rafting competitions and associated activities.
- to establish training courses for all WRF officials in order to guarantee the highest possible standards for all WRF officials.
- to develop, manage and supervise the WRF rafting guide training program.
- to consider the protection of the environment when organizing and promoting its activities.
A good book to read on the history of rafting is the Complete White Water Rafter by Jeff Bennett.
Formation of the International Rafting Federation
A growing need and demand for an official body that could represent and unite the rafting communities of the World stimulated a group of people, led by Lee Porter, to form the IRF in 1997.
The founding group were: Lee Porter, Peter Micheler, Rafael Gallo, Tony Hansen, Sue Liell-Cock, Neil Baxter, Glenn Lewman, Zeljko Kelemen and Thomas Karas.
The initial key areas for this representation were Guide Training & Education and Sport & Competitions.The first Congress was held at the 1997 CWWC, also the first unofficial IRF World Champs. The first official IRF World Champs was part of the CWWC, in Costa Rica , 1998. This is where the rules to govern raft racing were finalised. In 2001 the first IRF World Champs completely separate to the CWWC were held in West Virginia , USA .
Guide Training & Education
GT&E is growing in significance as guides, commercial rafting companies, insurance companies and governing bodies all over the world are starting to demand a more formal and internationally recognised award scheme for guides. This we have created and it has been in use since 1998. It is continually growing in its importance and international recognition.
Sport & Competition
The History of the World Rafting Championships is strongly linked to the formation of the IRF.