25th March – PRESS RELEASE

Today marks 50 days to go until Tully and the Cassowary Coast, Tropical North Queensland hosts the first ever IRF World Rafting Championships in Australia. 

The excitement is electric as 400 white-water rafters, support crews and their families from up to 30 countries will soon arrive in the region in an attempt to Tame the Tully at the IRF 2019 World Rafting Championships Powered by Experience Co, from 13 – 20 May.

Teams from across the globe have now registered with previous World Champions Brazil, Japan and New Zealand Open Men’s and Women’s teams heading to Australia in May in their attempts to regain the IRF World Rafting Championship title. 

The Australian Rafting Federation (ARF) will be represented by seven teams competing on home soil. The current Australian U19 Men and Women, U23 Men, Open Men and Women and the Master Men and Women have all secured their spot to take on the world. 

The Echo H2O Under-23 Men’s team from Tully qualified at the 2018 Pre Worlds / ARF National Titles for the International Rafting Federation (IRF) World Rafting Championships. 

Will Hilder one of the six-member Echo H20 team, said “We have been training Wednesday and Fridays morning paddling out on the ocean and every other afternoon at the gym. Saturdays we go up the river for the day.”

He described the Tully River as one of the most challenging rivers, “The rapids are really big, there is rocks everywhere, it’s quite hard to pick your lines…We will be sure not to show any of the teams our home ground advantages.” 

Will said he will be watching and cheering on his mother Clare is also competing for Australia in the Master Women, “It’s pretty great, we’d both never done it before. We got the opportunity and just took it… its pretty exciting.”

Former World Champion and coach of the Echo H2O Under 23 Men’s team Graham Maifredi, said “Every training day is a boy to men adventure. They have developed into a tight unit and learnt to trust one another in a “real life “x box” game capturing great life skills along the way. Our juniors are the future, onwards and upwards. The teams to be watching out for include Czech Republic and Japan, they are Team Australia’s main contenders for the titles in the U23 division.”

February saw Team Teikei from Japan Open Men team travel to Tully to get a start on training and prepare for the upcoming event.

Having hosted the last IRF World Rafting Championship, Argentina have been described as some of the best athletes and rank current number one in the world across most disciplines.

The Cassowary Coast Region can begin to roll out the red carpet for athletes and their families as early as May 1st with Japan confirming they will be arriving 7 days earlier to begin training. 

Tully will be filled with colour and excitement over the next 50 days as the region will be on show with visitors expected from around the globe.

To celebrate the milestone organisers have now released:

The official course maps for the event, which will showcase the Tully River to the world. The course maps include the start and finish lines and spectator access points for all disciplines.

The official entertainment schedule outlining the event week including the official opening ceremony (14May) Super Saturday (19May) and the official closing ceremony (20 May).

The event week will be pumping with food trucks, children’s activities, live entertainment and beer gardens, creating the perfect atmosphere for spectators and competitors to experience all that Far North Queensland has to offer. 

The official event competition handbook has also been released providing a one stop shop for all event details including competition schedules, site plans and entertainment for all athletes and spectators to the event.

The official athlete’s glamping village will be home to 320 athletes housed at the Tully Showgrounds. Village staff will serve competitors lunch and dinner while the local Rotary and Lions clubs will provide an optional breakfast service. The showgrounds will have an international flavour with athletes from all around the world staying in the one location. 

Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor John Kremastos said he was excited to welcome the athletes and teams from around Australia and the world to the region.

“We are keen to showcase what we have here and show them some true North Queensland hospitality,” Cr Kremastos said.

International Rafting Federation President Joe Willis Jones said, “2019 marks the 18th IRF World Rafting Championship showcasing the best of the best teams from around the globe coming together in the truly global rafting fraternity to take on the demanding rapids of the Tully River. Teams old and new will be welcomed to this picturesque location from the residents of the Cassowary Coast and we look forward to sharing this river family event with everyone.”

The IRF World Rafting Championships 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 states 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.

Free event to attend.

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.

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Media Contact Natalie Polizzi Jersey Road

Phone: 0423 230 083


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