4 February 2019 – PRESS RELEASE

100-Day countdown to world rafting titles on the Tully.

February 4 marks the 100-day countdown and around the world rafters are getting hot, hot, hot as they prepare to compete on the wild and wet Tully River in Tropical North Queensland for honour and glory in the IRF 2019 World Rafting Championships Powered by Experience Co.

Strategically paddling for placings in the pristine white water of the Cassowary Coast Region from May 13 to 20 will be around 400 white-water rafters from 30 countries.

Relative newcomers to the world stage, Norway’s Open Men’s team, have confirmed their attendance in tribute to honour the memory of rafting hero, and former Australian Rafting Federation president Andrew Mazurkiewicz.

Closer to home, the Australian Rafting Federation (ARF) will be represented by eight teams in the Under-19 Men’s and Women’s, Under 23 Men’s and Women’s, Open Men’s and Women’s and Master Men’s and Women’s divisions, including athletes from Cairns and Far North Queensland.

The AUS CROCS Under-19 Men’s team from Cairns is hoping for a home advantage, alternating training between the pool and the mighty Tully River. As the Queensland Crocs, the young team won gold at the national selection event to qualify for the International Rafting Federation (IRF) World Rafting Championships. 

Liam Stephen, one of the six-member AUS CROC team, said competing in a world championship is an honour and he and his former school mates were excited and training hard.

“After last year in the nationals we revved up our training so we know when we get to the ‘Worlds’ we will be ready. If we were to win, honestly…it would be a huge honour for all the boys,” he said.

Mark Miller who coaches the young team, including his son Cooper, said training had escalated from paddling flat out in a pool in a raft tied to a fence for 40 minutes (the duration of the downriver event) to two hours paddling flat out to improve fitness and endurance, and sessions on the river to learn how to read water and change and adapt to that changing water.  

“The Tully is a very technical river… for the boys to have a home ground advantage is massive,” he said. “We’re hoping we’re in the top three. Argentina, if they come, Brazil, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, and Russia – there are about five teams that are smoking hot but Argentina is number one.”

“There is never going to be a better opportunity for these boys to represent and compete for their country. It is an absolute chance of a lifetime to do well on home soil and they deserve to do well.”

With just 100 days to go before racing begins, organisers have now released plans for the event, which will showcase the region to the world.

The Cardstone site is set in the lush rainforest of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and only metres from the Tully River. Come May, it will be pumping with food trucks, children’s activities and entertainment creating the perfect atmosphere for spectators and competitors to experience the thrills and spills of the spectacular racing.

Right in the heart of Tully, the Tully Showgrounds will be the key meeting point for competitors, locals and visitors, with entertainment, food trucks, a beer garden and awards ceremonies. The official athlete’s village will accommodate athletes with glamping sites at the showgrounds. Village staff will serve competitors lunch and dinner while the local Rotary and Lions clubs will provide a breakfast service.

Cassowary Coast Mayor John Kremastos is throwing out the welcome mat and encouraging competitors, supporters and other visitors to make the most of this naturally beautiful region where two World Heritage Areas meet. 

“It’s exciting to be just 100 days out from this tremendous international experience here on our own Cassowary Coast,” Cr Kremastos said. “Locals have volunteered to help organisers with the event and the community at large is preparing to welcome the massive influx of expected visitors. With everyone behind the World Rafting Championships it will be a spectacular success.”

The event will have significant television and digital viewing reach, including the distribution of television broadcast to a cumulative audience in excess of seven million across 20 different nations and more than 60 broadcasters.

President of the International Rafting Federation, Joe Willis Jones, is looking forward to the event being held in Australia after many years of Australian teams paving the way with medals at international events. 

President Jones said “the pre-worlds event held on the Tully last year showcased Tully’s enthusiasm for, and long-standing relationship with, white water rafting and we (IRF) cannot wait for our competitors and world to experience the challenging nature of the Tully River and the warm welcome of the people of the Cassowary Coast”.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Tully was the perfect location to host the event in Australia for the first time.

“It’s an exciting time for Tropical North Queensland as we count down 100 days to go to the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championships,” Ms Jones said.

“This is the first time Australia has hosted the event and we’re thrilled the organisers chose Queensland.”

“This is going to be an exciting event which will draw competitors and spectators to Tropical North Queensland to witness the exciting action taking place in the Tully River.”

The IRF 2019 World Rafting Championships Powered by Experience Co is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar, worth $800m to the state’s economy in 2019.

Experiences are now on sale via Experience Co for those looking to travel to the Cassowary Coast Region, two hours south of Cairns, for the event –

For further information visit, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @wrc2019_tullyaustralia or join in the conversation with #raftersareawesome


Event Title: IRF 2019 World Rafting Championships Powered by Experience Co.

Dates: 13 – 20 May 2019.

Event Title: IRF 2019 World Rafting Championships Powered by Experience Co.

Dates: 13 – 20 May 2019

Who will compete at the event: The World’s best White-Water Raft Racing athletes.

The event is an Official International Rafting Federation sanctioned event.

Media Contact Natalie Polizzi Jersey Road

Phone: 0423 230 083


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