By: Shannon Farley
The first-ever World White Water Rafting Summit will be held in Costa Rica in October 2019. The event is sponsored by the International Rafting Federation (IRF), the Costa Rica Sports Association for Adventure and Paddling (ADAR), and the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT).
Under the theme, “Risk management for a prosperous future”, the first-ever World White Water Rafting Summit (WWWRS) will be held at the National Conference and Convention Center in San Jose, Costa Rica from October 8 to 13, 2019.
The historic event was announced on Saturday, May 18, 2019, during the World Rafting Championship at the Tully River in Australia by Rafael Gallo, Honorary President of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) and President of the Costa Rica Sports Association for Adventure and Paddling (ADAR). The Summit has the backing of the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT).
The WWWRS will convene experts involved in the regulation, certification and operation of rafting with the mission to modernize rules and procedures of the IRF worldwide. Rafting dignitaries attending the Summit will include Joe Willis Jones, IRF President and Chair of the Board of Directors; Jib Ellison, Founder of Project RAFT (Russians and Americans For Teamwork); and Julie Munger, CEO and Founder of Sierra Rescue International and the Western Regional Director for Rescue 3 International in the USA.
Why Costa Rica?
“It was decided to hold the World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica because the country is following a model of cooperation between the government and the private sector for the certification of guides and rafting companies. As well, Costa Rica is an iconic place for rafting in the world due to the beauty of its rivers,” explained Gallo, who is also President of the Costa Rican rafting company Rios Tropicales.
Costa Rica has positioned itself for many years as a leading tourism destination in sustainability and adventure activities. “We are very proud of the challenge of assuming the headquarters of this Summit, since Costa Rica is undoubtedly the ideal scenario for its extensive biodiversity, the generous endowment of its rivers, and its permanent initiatives to improve tourism,” said Juan Carlos Borbón, Marketing Department of the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT).
What will be discussed at the summit?
Summit participants will be able to acquire knowledge and share their experiences of the different rafting practices carried out around the world. Additionally, the representatives of government entities and the creators of standards will be informed about IRF proposals on different topics.
Among the topics that will be addressed at the WWWRS are the advances in guide certifications, the latest techniques of swift-water rescue, the environmental risks that can occur in different rivers of the world, and the need to increase knowledge in first-aid and specialize in emergency management in remote wilderness areas. The use of alcohol and drugs among guides also will be discussed.
“Another very important issue that will be discussed is the language barrier between guides and clients from other countries. For example, New Zealand and Australia are seeing an increase in Chinese tourists who are seeking rafting trips, and clear communication is paramount, especially in the case of an emergency,” Gallo explained.
Summit attendance is expected from more than 250 participants from at least 25 countries. For more information, please go to the website www.irfwwraftingsummit.com or on Facebook.