As we mentioned last week, the World Rafting Championship took place in Costa Rica over the weekend, with 48 teams (29 men, 19 women) competing against one another on a wild stretch of the Pacuare River. The competition, which began on Friday and finished on Monday, consisted of a variety of events that rewarded teams for their speed, agility, and endurance on the water.
After four very long days on the water, the Japanese men claimed victory over the field with an impressive showing all around. They finished ahead of the Czech and Slovenian squads who were two and three respectively. In the women’s competition, it was the Czech Republic that took home the crown, with Japan finishing second, and the Netherlands in third. Both the American men and women finished in seventh place.
To win the WRC, teams compete in four distinct rafting disciplines, earning points for how they place in those individual competitions. The team with the highest score at the end of the four days is then declared the champion. On the fist day of the event, the teams take part in the Sprint, during which they simply try to cover a certain length of the river in the fastest time possible. Day 2 brings the Head-to-Head competition, during which the teams are paired up tournament style based on their standings following the Sprint. Teams that win advance in the bracket, while losers are eliminated, until a Head-to-Head champion is crowned. The third day of the competition brings the Slalom, during which the teams navigate around a series of flags as quickly as possible, and the final day is the reserved for the Down River, a long distance test of endurance.
While crowds at the WRC don’t exactly rival those at the Super Bowl, there was an enthusiastic and dedicated group of fans from across the globe on hand. The “stadium” wasn’t bad either, as the Pacuare is a wild and beautiful river, surrounded by lush rainforests and towering mountaintops. It served as the perfect backdrop for event.
Congratulations to the winners.