Rafting and the International Canoe Federation

Rafting is one of the ICF's recognised disciplines. In April 2018 the ICF and the World Rafting Federation signed an historic agreement which sees the two parties work together to jointly promote their activities.

The deal brings the WRF under the umbrella of the ICF, but will have no impact on the running of day-to-day activities at the Rafting Federation.

The World Rafting Federation is working to give rafting a modern and dynamic vision, with particular attention to young people and athletes with disabilities. The creation of the Pararafting Commission as one of the first acts of the Federation underlines our commitment.

The WRF holds regular rafting events on some of the most picturesque but challenging waterways in the world.

Read more about the agreement

Application form for ICF member federations to join the World Rafting Federation

What is rafting?


The purpose of the slalom, which is held in two runs, is to travel in the shortest time possible a distance that requires the crossing of gates, in the ascending numerical order of the gates, trying to avoid touching the poles or the skipping of the gates themselves.

The slalom race takes place on two runs on the same race course and for the allocation of points, the best among the two is considered.

The gates are formed by a suspended pole. The downstream, in favor of the current, are indicated by 5 (five) green rings and from 5 (five) white rings, alternating between them. The upstream, against the current, are marked by 5 (five) red rings and 5 (five) white rings, alternating each other.

The number of gates along the slalom route must be of at least 8 (eight) and maximum of fourteen (14), of which a minimum number of 2 and a maximum of 6 must be upstream, evenly distributed on the right and left banks of the left of the river or channel.

All gates must be overcome in accordance with the numerical sequence and the direction established, as indicated on the signs that indicate the number.


The aim of the Downriver race is to paddle along, in the direction of the current, a pre-established stretch in the shortest possible time, overcoming the technical difficulties that the path provides.

The path must provide for a minimum length of 3000 meters, maximum of 7,000 meters

During the downriver no intentional physical contact (paddle against paddle, person against person, person against paddle/raft) is allowed at any stage of the race. It shall be punished with 10 seconds, to be added to the total race time or even with disqualification. In case of multiple 10 second penalties, they are added together.

History of rafting

Rafting was imported into Europe by the French Aventure Nouvelle in 1984 and it quickly started to spread in the continent, the first competitions were organised in France in 1984.

In 1989 the American and Russian foundation Peace Found, in the context of several charity and educational projects, organised “Project Raft”, the first international rafting event. The goal of Project Raft was to develop the relations between the two Nations as, even then, rafting was considered an aggregating and inclusive activity.

The first Project Raft “competition” took place in Siberia (Russia) on the Chuya River; in the following years it was organized in North Carolina (USA) on the Nantahala River. The Project didn’t end there but it further developed into a series of international championships around the world. 

More about the World Rafting Federation

The World Rafting Federation (WRF) is the world governing body for all aspect of Sport Rafting, especially international competitions.

Rafting, leisure and recreational Rafting, expedition Rafting, all others disciplines directly connected to Rafting and Rafting as sport for all.

The WRF is the final authority for all matters concerning competition Rafting and licensing of WRF River Guides.

WRF Executive Board

Mr. Danilo Barmaz, President
Mr. Boris Purjakov, Vice President
Mr. Fikret Yardımcı, Vice President
Miss. Blerina Ago, Treasurer
Mr. Oleg Grigoriev, Responsible for the Sport Department
Mr. Massimo Desiati, Representative elected by the Athletes’ Commission
Mr. Hadi Ghazi Asgar, Representative elected by the Technicians’ Commission
Mr. Matteo Benciolini, Secretary General

World rafting rules

World Rafting Federation website

World Rafting Federation presentation - sustainability for paddlesports and competition information