One of the best things about whitewater rafting is that it appeals to all levels of sportsmen, ranging from the new rafter, to the world-class veteran. The United States is home to a variety of different whitewater courses, ranging from beginner to international level difficulty. What this means is that up and coming rafters have ample opportunities to learn the techniques of the water – no matter where in the US they reside. What it also means is that the serious rafter has the opportunity to work hard and to potentially become a member of one of the best whitewater teams in the world.
This year will be no different from those past, with a number of events both within and outside of the US that are sure to satisfy both spectators and exhibitors alike. Keep reading for a summary of a few our favorite annual events designed to test the best in the sport.
2016 promises to be an exciting year for USRA (United States Rafting Association) participants and spectators with a number of events hosted throughout the US. If you’re in Oregon from April 2-3, make sure to go to the Rogue and Upper Klamath Rivers to see the R4 (raft with 4 people) championships. Spring water levels promise for a fantastic experience for all involved! If Oregon is just a little too far to drive, the R6 championships will be held at FibArk on the Arkansas River in Colorado from June 16-19. These championship races promise to present some of the most challenging and exciting whitewater around – perfect for choosing who is truly the best in the US.
New to the USRA? Here are some essential facts to know before watching the championships:
- The URSA divides the US into 3 main regions: Western, Central, and Eastern
- Each region holds its own championship, with the winners competing at the National Championship Race to determine who will proceed to the World Rafting Championships
- All races must follow International Rafting Federation guidelines for selecting a winner
This year, there will be 3 world championship races held by the International Rafting Federation. The first will be held in Austria from April 16-17, the second will be in China from July 20-25, and the final race will be in Japan from October 7-10. If you want to see some of the best whitewater, while also exploring some of the most beautiful places in the world, any of these locations would be well worth the trip.
Races are split by gender, with one team representing each at the world championships. For the women, the Red Ladies of Colorado have had a few continuous years of success, and hope to continue such winning into 2016. For men, the title is more volatile, with a different team winning every year for the last several years. Prior to that, Team Teva held on as whitewater champion from 2001-2013. To learn more about the teams, check out the US Rafting Association.
Will you be traveling to any of these events this year? Have you been to any in the past? Leave us a comment telling us about your experience!