18th May 2019

Today teams showcased their strength, precision and determination on the Tully River as the third day of competition of the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championship, powered by Experience Co. kicked off.

The crowds were booming and the atmosphere was electric as the Open and Master teams hit the Tully River to compete in the slalom discipline. The winner is determined by the team who can navigate the course of slalom poles with the least amount of touches and misses combined with a fast time. Competitors and spectators filled the banks of the river to support and cheer on each team. 

Gate 6 proved to be very challenging for some of the teams, some getting sucked backwards over the next drop and forced to miss out a few more gates. A few teams strategically chose to miss that one, resulting in points being added onto their score but reducing the risk factor. Another gate the proved tricky was Gate 11 which needed good water reading skills, precision and power to get into it. After that there were 3 gates in the big white water with drops. 

Russia Open Men were the only team to get a clear run – twice! An incredible feat. However, it was the Brazilians that pipped them to the win with a blistering speed of 97.2 secs and only a 5 sec penalty. China took third showing that they are a future team to contend with.

It was Japan Master Men team who tamed the Tully River today by taking first place in their division but were only 0.30 seconds ahead of Czech Republic despite the latter’s first run getting zero penalties.  Russia took third. Australia took the win in the Master’s Women category.

New Zealand Open Women showed their strength and ability to weave in and around the slalom gates having two good runs with their second run of 145.67 including a 10 sec penalty giving them the win. Japan and Czech Repiublic also had good second runs which clinched them 2ndand 3rdrespectively.

Romania put on the best entertainment with a surf just after gate 12 and a grand finale by flipping!

Tomorrow is the final discipline – Downriver. It’s worth 350 points towards the Overall (the same as Slalom). Brazil Open Men, New Zealand Open Women, Japan Master Men, Australia Master Women and Indonesia U23 Women are all looking very dominant in their categories and will have to have bad day on the river tomorrow to lose the championship, but never say never. The U19 Men and U23 Men still looks wide open.

Results and media

For further information visit, or follow us on Facebook (@IRFWorldRaftingChamps) and Instagram (@internationalrafting) or join in the conversation #raftersareawesome


Raft racing takes place over several days and at the continental and world level is held in four disciplines:

  • Sprint: fastest from top to bottom
  • Head-to-Head: teams battle it out 1:1 over the sprint course but this time with buoy navigation mandatory – full contact is permitted in a knockout competition where the winner is decided not necessarily on who is fastest but who plays their tactics the best. If you’ve seen BoaterX – increase the contact and obstacles and you’ll understand Head-to-Head
  • Slalom: very similar to canoe/kayak slalom with the best of two runs counting but more complex with a larger craft and more heads to pass through the gates in the correct direction
  • Downriver (Endurance): a grueling test of working together as a team – race rules dictate this should be more than 20 minutes but less than 60 minutes 

Event Title: IRF 2019 World Rafting Championships Powered by Experience Co.Dates: 13 – 20 May 2019Free event to attend.Who will compete at the event: The World’s best White-Water Raft Racing athletesThe event is an Official International Rafting Federation sanctioned event.Website:
IRF Facebook: @IRFWorldRaftingChamps
IRF Instagram: @internationalrafting

About the International Rafting Federation: The International Rafting Federation is recognised as the world governing body for Rafting Sport.  Every year, the IRF organises the World Rafting Championship (WRC), a top tier competition between the most recognised and celebrated rafting athletes in the world who gather together to represent their respective nations.  The IRF also organises or oversees a tremendous variety of continental, regional and local rafting competitions and championships.  IRF competitions closely follow the Olympic model and IOC recommendations, while remaining true to the traditions and history of our sport that has made it so popular.

The IRF is about bringing the world of rafting together so we can all benefit from our interaction.  This interaction may involve anything from competing at the world championship level to being part of a local grassroots event in your home town.  Or it could be that once-in-a-lifetime experience of going on a commercial raft trip locally or around the world, whether it be for 1 hour or 16 days.

The IRF is in the forefront of raft safety worldwide.  Recognised as the world body which oversees the certification and training of professional river rafting guides, the IRF works closely with national organisations and government bodies by offering the only rafting guide certification program accepted worldwide.

The IRF is deeply committed to protecting the rivers of our planet from senseless destruction, and to preserve them for future generations. We recognize that mankind are not the owners of our planet, but instead are its caretakers and stewards.

Social media:

International Rafting Federation: @internationalrafting (Facebook, Instagram)

IRF World Rafting Championship: @IRFWorldRaftingChamps (Facebook)

About the Author:Sean Clarke is the Head of Media & Marketing for the International Rafting Federation, and Chair of British Rafting, the rafting discipline committee of British Canoeing.

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