The Pacuare River of Costa Rica will host more 35 countries this month for the 2011 World Rafting Championships.
The World Rafting Championship takes place every two years. The event started out under the auspices of Project RAFT. Project Raft was initiated by Russian and American rafters looking to show that an international competition could be held between countries rife with political animosity. The first Project Raft event was held in 1989 on the Chuya river, Siberia, followed by the Nanthala River, USA (1990), Reventazón and Pacuare Rivers, Costa Rica (1991) and Coruh River,Turkey (1993).
Project Raft evolved into the Camel [cigarette] White Water Challenge (CWWC) which took place on the Zambezi river, Zimbabwe (1995–1997). In 1998, the event then earned the status of World Championship. The first sanctioned World Championship was held in Costa Rica on the Reventazón and Pacuare rivers; followed by South Africa’s Orange river (1999), Chile’s Futalefu river (2000) and back on the Zambezi (2001), the Gauley River, United States (2001), Czech Republic (2003), Quijos River, Ecuador (2005), South Korea (2007) and Bosnia (2009).
Bunny Johns, one of the organizers of the 1989 and 1990 Project Raft events remembers “Being a part of the first International Rafting Competition (Project RAFT) in the Soviet Union in 1989 behind the “iron curtain” was an incredible experience. To fly behind the “Iron Curtain” to Moscow and be greeted by the armed guard with “Welcome to Moscow”! Be given your camping rations for the week which included a whole box of sugar cubes – something the average Russian would never see in a month! Get on a plane to Siberia, load your own luggage and start the party in the airplane only to be told to “sit down, the pilot cannot control the plane” (yeah, I remember the Costa Rican team started it)! Camp by a river lined with ice! Compete with 50 teams from around the world! And then the iron curtain fell! That we still have an International Rafting Competition today!!!!! Yeah, it was AN EXPERIENCE.”
This Years Event
This year’s event will be held on the Lower Pacuare – a favorite run for rafters and kayakers around the world. The athletes will compete in four disciplines: time trial (speed ) Head to head (one to one) slalom (obstacles ) and down river (downstream).
Enjoy following the event to see which country takes away the title of 2011 World Champion!