Friday, January 15, 2010

CRROBS Hosts the IRF

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – October 21, 2009

“Watch out for the eddie line on the other side of that hole once you pass the strainer and the laterals.”

Did you catch any of that? Neither do most people, which is why we leave it up to the rafting professionals.

Fourteen of Central America’s finest rafting gentlemen met for over six hours today to discuss standardization of rafting certification guidelines. Those in attendance were representatives and president (Rafael Gallo) of the International Rafting Federation (IRF), rafting guides and executive director (Bradley Jim Rowe, PhD.) from the Costa Rica Rainforest Outward Bound School (CRROBS), and guides and owners from other major Central American rafting companies.

In the cocina of CRROBS’ San Ramon base (in the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica), they presented different rafting issues, including the inconsistencies among different companies’ raft guide instruction. They spent the day reviewing and updating the training, certification and safety procedures among all rafting companies to ensure that all people rafting with IRF-certified professionals get the same safe and exciting experience. “This meeting gave us the chance to see how other guides train instructors for this sport and how we can use these ideas to make all of our systems standard for all rafting groups,” observed Carlos Grenados, a CRROBS rafting instructor from Costa Rica. “It’s really a great thing.”

In addition to standardizing the instruction, another hopeful outcome of these series of seminars is to give the IRF more credibility. All rafting guides will now share how they teach their Swift Water Rescue and Rafting Rescue courses in addition to becoming stricter with the certification process. Instructors will be required to sign off on specific skills, number of days rafting, and experiential tests.

The standard for CRROBS raft training now is a rigorous 20-day instruction which includes four days of Whitewater Rescue Training (WRT) through Rescue III International and 16 days in rivers all over Costa Rica for more extensive training and experience. In addition, CRROBS requires CPR, WFR (Wilderness First Responder), and TRRO certifications. It is for this thorough process why the IRF has sought CRROBS’ involvement in the new structuring of guide regulations.

It meant a lot for the thirteen men in attendance to have IRF’s president, Rafael Gallo, present at the meeting. “Seeing his ambition for improving IRF’s standards and the direction of rafting as a recognized sport really helped motivate us to take some action,” stated Joe Ewing, another CRROBS rafting instructor. Gallo, too, was excited to begin these meetings, saying “We are trying to focus on certifying people as guides because the focus currently is on rafting competitions.” Now it’s getting back to the basics and the important parts of rafting and instruction.

This isn’t to say that rafting competitions are not going to be a focus in the upcoming year. Costa Rica Outward Bound employees are already getting a team together for an IRF competition this coming summer. All CRROBS instructors who attended the seminar – Daniel Jimenez, Felipe Lopez Salazar, Joe Ewing, and Carlos Grenados – left the meeting excited about their strong CRROBS team of rafters.

The next meeting is scheduled for mid-November, again at Costa Rica Outward Bound’s base, to begin to specifically document the standards for raft instruction through which all guides must pass as official IRF instructors.

The International Rafting Federation (IRF) is an assembly of national associations and organizations with the goal of harmoniously developing, organizing and assuring rafting's future and that of international competition.

Costa Rica Rainforest Outward Bound School (CRROBS) is an experiential education program designed to inspire and develop leadership, compassion, responsibility, respect for the environment and commitment to serve through adventure-based wilderness experiences in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

e ahi la importacia de las reuniones mas seguidas para seguir desarrollando y mejorando lo que hasta ahora tenemos