President's annual report: Happy New Rafting Year

President's annual report: Happy New Rafting Year

Dear Friends,

it is with great pleasure that I write to all of you and wish you a wonderful 2019.

2018 is getting to an end and we will all carry with us all the memories of this historical year: a year that saw our birth and our steady growth; a year that, beside all successes, is the first step of a new era for rafting.

In a year (not even a year, actually, as we will celebrate our first birthday at the end of January) many things have been achieved: we overcame several difficulties and, even when we made some mistakes, we always acted in good faith.

In these few months,

- we founded a democratic, operational and legally recognised International Sport Federation, a platform where all members are equally important and to which all can (must) contribute;

- 25 national federations were created and/or structured, so that they could be recognised by their respective National Sport Authority, Government or Olympic Committee (with all the related pros) and consequently enter the WRF as full members;

- the judges’ pool was enlarged and structured, as well as the data collection and management system;

- new competition formats were created: RX, RX mixed, World Cup, biennial World Championships, national competition system, international youth training camps, coaches’ seminars;

- the national/international guides system was structured and made operational in many different nations, helping the national WRF members to create a virtuous circle between competitive and commercial activity;

- a Junior and U23 World Championship was organised and successfully delivered: this event was a first timer for many different reasons. Notably, the first event where canoe slalom and rafting happened together and the first time where so many youngsters (120) were at the start of an international rafting event;

- the first para-rafting event was organised, paving the way for a more inclusive and accessible sport;

- the WRF social media and press department grew under the impulse of young and committed people and we can now enjoy a truly global reach;

- important interventions and initiatives for the protection of rivers all over the world were supported and implemented.

All these achievements gave rafting and the WRF a brand new positioning in the international sport world: thanks to the recognition by the International Canoe Federation (ICF, still maintaining a full autonomy) we are now under the direct observation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The signature of the Memorandum of Understanding with the ICF was the first important step toward a fruitful and friendly cooperation between two organisations that speak the same language: the language of paddlesports.

In a few words, many goals were achieved; others are about to be achieved or are developing quickly. However, much is still to be done and achieved by all of us: we were born with a great team spirit and we must keep growing operating as a team; this is why proactive discussions and critics will always be welcome, as there is no growth without debate.

Next year will be a very important one: we will need to confirm what was already done and improve and correct what must be improved.

World Rafting Championships, World Para-Rafting Championships, World Cups, National Championships, Youth Training Camps will be the most important events happening in 2019.

In addition, the new WRF Training Centre will soon open in Argentière la Bessée, France, thanks to the cooperation with the French Canoe and Kayak Federation.

Finally, 2019 will also see the opening of continental confederations headquarters.

I want to thank all of you (athletes, coaches, officials) that believed in this project and gave and are giving valuable contributions to it.

Special thanks go to:

- National Federation Presidents: I know that for many of you the last months were not easy, as the fear of the unknown often freezes us and it is hard to change our habits so quickly.

The past is part of our background and we can only look at a bright future if we look at the past with a positive attitude. Passion drove our first steps, and passion must always drive us toward the achievement of positive results. Polemics for the sake of polemics are not part of our DNA: we are proud of what we are achieving with the goal of giving a bright future to our sport and to our athletes.

- “my” Board, that contributed wholeheartedly to the WRF development and always put the collective interest ahead of their personal or national interest.

- the “small” rafting nations, that represent our added value and gave our sport a truly universal dimension and demonstrated that rafting really is a sport for all.

- the heads and the main members of all commissions: Oleksandr, Stefan, Zdeslav, Xavier, Huenchuleo, Francesco F., Francesco C, Nikita, Pavlina, Claudia, Caterina, Misha, Max M., Murat and all others led by a great Secretary General, Matteo, the heart and soul of WRF!

- the ICF, the ICF President, Mr. Javier Perurena Lopez, and the ICF Board and staff. They all welcomed us in Budapest (at the ICF Congress) as if we were life-long partners and are working with us on common projects that will ensure a bright common future.

- Mr. Ivo Ferriani, a great friend of rafting and of sports. He is the one that first believed in our potential and made it possible for us to pursue our goals and dreams.

- all our young rafters that are proving to be the real WRF asset.


I wish you all the best for a great 2019!

Your friend,

Danilo Barmaz

Glad to announce a new Member: Iraqi Canoe Federation

WRF announces that in December 2018 the Iraqi Canoe Federation (I.C.C.F.) sent the WRF membership application.

According to the Cooperative Agreement between ICF and WRF, WRF approved the application of the Iraqi Canoe Federation: I.C.C.F. is officially a Member of the World Rafting Federation.

"I hope to work well together to develop my national rafting team" said Mr. Majed Salih, President of the I.C.C.F.

"We are glad to support our new members. As a sport for all, rafting can be practiced without a special experience and that is a way to involve more people in the paddle sport activities. We believe that it will facilitate the development of the I.C.C.F. disciplines" said Mr. Hadi Ghaziasgar, Executive Board Member, who has closely followed the membership application of the Iraqi Canoe Federation.


Canoe and Rafting Federations of Brazil sign a historical MoU. Interview with Rebeca Fernandes, Vice-President of the Brazilian Rafting Association. 

- Rebeca, a new sport era began in Brazil, what do you think are the benefits about being with WRF? 

- I think that the membership of our Federation with WFR helps us in the battle we face every day behind the Olympic dream.

I really believe that in the worldwide Rafting there was a lack of organization about the agonistic interests: now WRF represents an istitution that is making the sport grow, reorganizing every aspect of it, working for new big goals.

Competitors and teams train daily and, as we all know, they seek recognition of their training and effort in international competitions. Becoming an Olympic Sport will certainly represent the opportunity of a reward for every athlete's sacrifice, a dream for every paddle lover.

- Brazil signed a MoU between Rafting and Canoe federations: what are the consequences of being under ICF for your Federation and for your athletes? 

- The Brazilian rafting association has now signed a collaborative agreement with CBCA (Brazilian Canoeing Confederation) that has been active in the last 16 years.

The consequences (that are only benefits) of being active within the Brazilian Canoeing Confederation is precisely the endorsement and credibility that rafting will reach during the national competitions, bringing more visibility to the sport and making us more publicized through TV and web media.

- What is your opinion about the Olympic project and about the Para-Rafting?

- We are very happy about the WRF Olympic project and we are starting to collaborate in order to reach our common goal as soon as possible.

Our athletes reached the podium in many international competitions in the last years and now they are looking forward to see their professional strenght and technique recognized in an Olympic way. We are ready to do the necessary to realize their dream.

Currently we have Brazilian athletes with physical limitation who, regardless, are able to compete so they fit in the official category. In the past these competitors received a limited accessibility to the sport because of the lacking organization, but now the WRF Para-Rafting category will give them support and the right opportunity to compete in official competitions.

- What changes do you expect about the Rafting world in a few month and as a long terms project?

- The Brazilian rafting competitors expect efficient changes, from this new project, in the worldwide organization of the sport, especially an increasing support to the beginning countries that need agonistic and commercial help.

Brazil is always in search of the best ways to realize the Sport's dream that is the recognition as an Olympic Game, in whatever category.

The President of the Confederation of Canoeing, Mr. João Tomasini, has proposed to add R4 Rafting to the Pan American Masters category of 2020 and we are looking forward to this participation and working to develop this project.

Brazil seeks this recognition and we are ready to develop any project in the field of competitive Rafting!

Great news from Argentina

WRF is glad to announce that on 24th November 2018 the FAC (Federación Argentina de Canoas) Directors Board Meeting celebrated in La Plata city signed the WRF membership application.
According to the Cooperative Agreement between ICF and WRF, WRF approved the application of the Federación Argentina de Canoas: FAC is officially a Member of the World Rafting Federation.

The entrance of Argentina represents another important step for the World Rafting in South America.

“With Argentina, Chile, Brasil and the other WRF Members we are ready to develop the WRF Pan-American Council” said Mr. Massimo Desiati, WRF Executive Board Member.

Successful meetings for WRF in Budapest during the ICF Congress


On 30th April 2018 WRF has been recognised by the the International Canoe Federation and, as an Associate Member, has been invited to the biennial ICF Ordinary Congress that took place in Budapest (Hungary) on 23rd-24th November 2018.
The WRF delegation was composed by Mr. Danilo Barmaz (WRF President), Mr. Matteo Benciolini (WRF Secretary General) and Mr. Francesco Fiorini (WRF Strategic Cooperation Manager).

The Congress has been opened by the ICF President, Mr. José Perurena, who welcomed the World Rafting Federation in front of the 66 ICF Delegations present and thanked Mr. Danilo Barmaz for the attendance.

The presidents of the Organising Committee introduced the presentations of the next Olympic Games: Mr. Toshihiko Furuya for Tokyo 2020 and Mr. Tony Estanguet, who is the ICF Vice-President, for Paris 2024.

During the reports by the ICF Executive Committee the Canoe Federations gave several inputs about rafting. At first ICF President Perurena explained the structure of the Memorandum of Understanding between International Canoe Federation and World Rafting Federation to all the ICF Members: the two federations are cooperating in order to improve both the paddle sports and the river world.

After these bilateral meetings between WRF and the National Canoe Federations new countries manifested interest in the WRF project, sharing the aim of improving their national rafting organization and agonistic field: we are working in order to offer a chance to the federations to grow and a dream to their athletes, with the opportunity of a career to realize it.

"It was a great honour to be present and meet a lot of ICF Members - said Danilo Barmaz, WRF President - Our philosophy coincides exactly with ICF vision of paddlesports. There is a great synergy among us. We will keep working on the development of WorldRafting and the positioning of rafting in the paddlesport world."


Photo credit by ICF

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