After five solid days of pedal-to-the-metal rafting on the Class IV water of Australia’s Tully Riverat the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championships, powered by
Experience Co., it was Brazil surging to the overall win, with a third-place showing in the event’s final Downriver race giving them enough overall points to top the podium. Russia took second place, with second-place finishes in Slalom and Downriver, with New Zealand, which won the Downriver Race, taking third overall. Rounding out the top five was japan in fourth and Czech Republic taking fifth.
The U.S. Open Men’s Team could do no better than an eighth-place showing in Downriver, earning them a 12thspot overall.
For the Open Women’s division, the competition was just as heated, with New Zealand winning the overall crown, after taking first in every race except the Downriver, where they took second. Their 972 total points were following by 938 for Japan in second place overall and the Czech Republic, which finished third.
Gate 6 proved to be the deciding factor in the Slalom event, with several teams getting sucked backwards over the next drop and being 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 three gates in the big white water with drops.
Russia Open Men were the only team to get a clear run – twice! However, it was the Brazilians that beat them to the win with a blistering speed of 97.2 seconds and only a five second penalty. China took third showing that they are a future team to contend with.
The Japan Master Men team took first place in their division, only 0.30 seconds ahead of Czech Republic despite the latter’s first run getting zero penalties. Russia took third. For the Master Women, it was Australia taking the win.
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 second penalty giving them the win.
Romania put on the best entertainment of the Slalom day with a giant surf just after gate 12 and a grand finale by flipping.
In the first day’s Sprint event, Brazil came out on top for the Men’s Open division in the Sprint event, clocking in at 242.52, followed by Japan in second and Russia in third. The U.S. team finished in 12thplace, 13 seconds back at 255.
For the Women’s Open, New Zealand came out on top at 261.06, followed by Russia and the Czech Republic.
The Tully is playing host to over 400 competitors and support crew from 19 different nations for the event, which kicked off Thursday in the Sprint event, whose winner is determined by the fastest team from start to finish.
The local Australian teams, meanwhile, are also turning heads, with top finishes in several other categories.
The home team Australia Masters Women’s squad came first in their division, eight and a half seconds ahead of Costa Rica. Australian Under 19 Men also tamed the Tully by taking first place followed by Indonesia and Czech Republic. Australian Under 19 Women showed the country how it is done competing in a division above in under 23s and still placing first ahead of the highly anticipated to win New Zealand and Indonesia.
Most competitors were excited for the event to come to Australia’s famed Class III-IV Tully for the first time.
“We’ve been waiting for this to happen in Australia for the last 20 years, finally here we are,” says Costa Rica Open Men team captain Alex Sagura. “It was a really good race, nice place, nice river, nice people, Australians are amazing.”
The afternoon also saw the Under 19 and Under 23 divisions teams tackle the Head-to-Head, which sees 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 (i.e. picture BoaterX in rafts).
In the Under 19 Men final, Australia took the battle right to the finish line with some strong tactics in play by Costa Rica. Australia was able to pull through from the core to push the Costa Ricans back and take on the win with a narrow margin. In the Under 23s, the Indonesian women took the battle and used tactics right up to the line with a neck and neck final with New Zealand. The Under 23 men’s races saw Czech Republic take home the medal over New Zealand.
For further information visit www.wrc2019.com
Youtube channel with event videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcLIe-1pC4f-Yw2O2sHoW4fR_SJR8-jWY