USA Whitewater Rafting Nationals Update

It was with great sadness we had to cancel our National Championships scheduled for September 2022 on the South Fork of the American River in California, because of smoke from a nearby major wildfire.  No out of state teams had the ability to reschedule for this fall, so the soonest is seems we can hope for a National event will be Spring of 2023. We are hoping to have a smaller Regional event on the South Fork of the American in October 2022 for local teams.

For 2023, the USRA BOD is actively seeking bids from potential race directors to host a National Championships and USA Rafting Team Trials for both 2023 Teams and 2024 Teams.

National team selection event(s) will be used to select teams in categories that have more than one team contesting a spot, to represent the USA in international races sanctioned by the International Rafting Federation in 2023 and 2024. Will be trying to find a host for a 2023 team selection race in the spring and/or a team selection race for 2024 teams later that same summer. 

If we cannot find a host for a National Team Selection Race, the USRA BOD will prepare an application process, including the creation of an independent review committee to select teams in categories that have more than one team contesting for that category. This committee will also verify competency for teams which have only have one team competing for that category.

The only race currently on the IRF 2023 schedule is the European Championships in the Czech Republic at the end of August 2023.  At the European Champs, the USA teams would not be scored for placement against teams representing countries in the European Union.  They would be competing as guests (countries not in the European Union) at this event, and scored against any other guest teams that may be there.  I encourage everyone to look closely at footage of past events at this venue to verify their interest.

I also want to clarify that the USRA is a member of the International Rafting Federation (IRF), and recognizes this organization as the only legitimate governing body of international raft racing.  Therefore, internationals events not sanctioned by the IRF do not receive support from the USRA.

I am sad that we lost so much momentum to restart US raft racing due to the wildfire that forced us to cancel the 2022 Nationals. Hopefully we can build momentum back next year, with high quality National level races.


Susan Norman, President

US Rafting Association

(footnote: the Karnali Challenge currently advertised on the IRF website for November 2023 is a different kind of event, and there is meager information regarding how teams are selected to participate. This event is likely an event that teams pursue on their own with the organizer to gain entry, and the USRA could then provide support to those teams, through social media posting, and soliciting sponsorship. I encourage teams that are interested to keep a close eye for future information regarding this event.)