The world’s first World Rafting Summit, designed primarily to address risk management, will be held in Costa Rica this coming Oct. 8-13, drawing more than 250 participants form 25 countries.
The first World Summit of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) will be held at the Costa Rica Convention Center and the Pacuare River, with an agenda focused on managing risk for a prosperous future. The event was announced by Rafael Gallo, president of the Costa Rica Sports Association for Adventure and Paddling (ADAR), at the IRF World Rafting Championships in May in Australia.
The summit will convene experts in the regulation, certification and operation of rafting to modernize laws and procedures of rafting worldwide. “Costa Rica was chosen to host it because it’s one of the first countries to follow a model of cooperation between the government and the private sector for the certification of guides and rafting companies,” says Gallo. “Plus, it has some awesome rivers.”
The local tourism board is excited about the prospect.
“Costa Rica is an ideal setting for it,” adds Juan Carlos Borbón of the ICT.
According to the summit organizers, participants will be able to learn about and share their experiences of different rafting practices carried out around the world. Additionally, government representatives and safety standard creators will be informed about IRF proposals on different topics.
Confirmed participants include Joe Willis Jones, IRF President and Chair of the IRF Board of Directors; Julie Munger, CEO and co-founder of Sierra Rescue International and the Western Regional Director for Rescue 3 International in the U.S.; Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, the Minister of Environment and Energy for Costa Rica; and Ena Buenfil, owner of the adventure company Huaxteca Expeditions in La Huasteca, Mexico; among others.
Topics to be addressed include advances in raft guide certifications; the latest in swift water rescue techniques; management of the environmental risks that can occur in different rivers of the world; the need to increase knowledge in first aid and specialize in first aid in remote wilderness areas; managing drug and alcohol use and abuse among guides and clients.
“Another important issue is the language barrier between guides and clients from other countries,” adds Gallo. “For example, New Zealand and Australia are seeing an increase in Chinese tourists who are seeking rafting trips, and clear communication is paramount.”
The summit will be followed by a “One River, One World, One Family” Friendship Float on the Pacuare River, as well as an Instructors Workshop and Certification Courses.
IRF World White Water Rafting Summit: Managing Risk for a Prosperous Future
Date: October 8 – 13, 2019
Location: Costa Rica Convention Center, San Jose, Costa Rica