The earliest recording of a planned trip to navigate the Snake River in Wyoming appeared in 1811, which would have been one of the first considerations to travel on a dangerous river in a raft. It was in fact in June 1940 that a gentleman by the name of Clyde Smith successfully led a team through the Snake River Canyon. Whitewater rafting can easily be considered as an extreme sport practiced competitively or as a hobby. It is a favourite among holiday tour groups to attract visitors to areas promoting exploration and adventure. Over the years the equipment has developed from rafts made of rubber, to the more modern materials of advanced nylon or Kevlar-infused plastics like PVC or urethane. Rubber rafts are still made, but plastic is longer-lasting, easy to repair, and generally more durable. Modern paddles are mostly made from advanced composites, plastic, or carbon fibre.  

The World Rafting Federation (WRF) is the highest sanctioning body and international governing authority for sport rafting. The federation was established in 1997 in Augsburg, Germany. WRF ensures that sport rafting is effectively regulated, especially regional and international competitions. The federation also continues to promote and develop the sport with its members, including where sport rafting is still being established.  

One of the key objectives is to promote the spirit of the Olympic Movement and to respect the Olympic Charter, which will in time lead to the inclusion within the Olympic programme. Sport rafting has everything to do with the outdoors and nature and WRF ensures that proper training, education and awareness is provided for the protection of the environment. One of the key areas that develops a sport is the opportunity to take part in world competitions. WRF award licenses and contracts to its member nations that want to organise international competitions, ensuring official status is granted.  

World Rafting Federation

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