Rafting is a fairly young sport in the Irkutsk region, although extreme rafting on mountain rivers has long been popular among the residents of the region. But for some people, the tourist hobby has grown into a sports one - this is how the RST team appeared, and rafting reached a new level.
On stormy waves, they are like a fish in water, but they found their element unexpectedly.
- In 2011, during a trip to Altai, I accidentally became a spectator of the Russian Rafting Cup as part of the legendary Chuya-rally competition, held since 1978. The prestigious starts gathered the strongest athletes of the country, their races made a great impression on me, - says the team captain Roman Kuzmin.
He, fired up with the idea of mastering raft, was supported by other enthusiasts from Shelekhov and Irkutsk, and after a while the men began to arrange rafting. We walked along Snezhnaya, Utulik, Zhombolok, gradually increasing the complexity of the routes. However, it soon became not interesting to simply swim on the rivers - the team decided to go in for sports rafting. They learned the art of professionally navigating a boat independently: they read specialized literature, trained in Shelekhov's quarries, achieving ideal movement in a straight line (only at first glance it seems that it is easy to keep an even course on smooth water). To practice their skills, they began to participate in regional competitions in water tourism, where they showed good results, but this was not enough, since rafting has its own technique and other disciplines.
- Each team member has a role: nose, middle, stern, - explains Roman. - The strongest guys sit on the bow - this is the engine of the boat. If the bow rower fails to cope with his function, the raft will not float far. The stern, or in other words the helmsman, monitors the direction of movement of the vessel and, if necessary, corrects it. From the middle, you just need to row, at first, beginners are usually put there, but in the process of learning they begin to play the role of nasal ones. The main task of the team is to find the fastest line on the water, where the raft will reach its maximum speed, and swim to the finish line in the shortest time. It may seem to you that you can easily go with the flow, but there are white "lambs" (foam) on the surface - the boat beats against them and slows down, so you have to choose another line. The Raft should always swim forward without stopping.
Moreover, it is not enough just to know and be able to perform various types of strokes and techniques, each of which has a specific purpose (for example, turning the vessel, getting out of the roll, flow traverse, etc.). All movements of athletes must be coordinated, verified, accurate. The result also depends on the ability of the crew to act quickly and competently when passing obstacles. So the "sit and row" principle will not work here.
- What do you need to practice rafting?
- First of all, the desire and readiness for the fact that it will take not only good physical shape, but also patience. To grow a competitive team, you need three to four years of persistent continuous training, provided the crew remains unchanged. A new person needs at least a year to understand his place in the boat and even more time to fully master the rowing technique.
Maintaining the same lineup over a long period has proven to be more difficult than recruiting. Today, Viktor Kuzmin, Alexey Yanyshev, Anton Tokarev, Viktor Kunin, Andrey Buzovsky are playing for RST together with Roman. This is the only team that represents the Irkutsk region at all-Russian competitions and is engaged in the popularization of this sport in the region. Thanks to the efforts of the team, on the Khara-Murin River in the Slyudyansky District, last year, all-Russian competitions took place for the first time, and this spring - the first championship of the Angara region. A regional rafting federation was also created with its own development program for the coming years.
In order to adequately resist the water element, the human factor alone is not enough, in this fight the right rafting equipment plays an important role.
Everyone understands that rafting is impossible without special equipment. When choosing rafting equipment, there are many factors to consider: the purpose of the rafting, the estimated duration of the trip, the number of potential crew members, the preferred rowing style, as well as financial capabilities. Equipment should be chosen responsibly, with full knowledge of the matter, since when interacting with the forces of nature, any rush or rash decision can lead to adverse consequences. The modern equipment market is quite extensive, so the choice of equipment should be deliberate and balanced. Below is a list of rafting equipment items.
Canoe paddles are traditionally used by rafting participants. A paddle for raft, catamaran, canoe consists of a blade, a forend and a handle. A mono-composition of epoxy resin and fiberglass (carbon, Kevlar) or polyethylene are the main materials from which the blade is made.
For the manufacture of the forend, most often, duralumin, carbon or Kevlar are used. A paddle for a catamaran, raft and canoe has a positive buoyancy, as well as a balanced weight of the blade and forend, which, when it hits the water, allows you to keep a horizontal position. The length of the oar must be chosen according to your own height. When choosing an oar, it must be borne in mind that its quality is determined by a strong blade, which has the ability to withstand various blows against stones and the solidity of the forend, its ability to withstand a significant load.
The raft is an inflatable boat, the ratio of length to width corresponds to the coefficient "two". The passenger capacity of such a vessel is 4-18 people. Since the raft is intended for rafting on a rough river, it must have a strong and resilient hull made of high quality synthetic materials. In addition, this vessel should be distinguished by a large margin of stability and buoyancy.
When choosing a raft, due attention should be paid to the drainage system, which is the possibility of instant water discharge. The advantage of rafts is high reliability and ease of preparation for operation.
In the modern market, these products are widely represented, giving each rafting participant the opportunity to choose the most convenient model for him.
Classic safety helmets have drainage holes.
This type of helmets is considered more advanced than the classic models.
Russian U16 Rafting Championship on the Shuya River. Photo: "Respublika"/Lyubov Kozlova
Tourism in Karelia - in the forest and on the water. The opportunity to raft along the steep northern rivers with numerous rapid rapids and to overcome the kilometers of the most beautiful taiga on foot has long attracted travelers to Karelia. In our century, rafting down the river is called rafting, and this extreme sport has united tourists and athletes into one big team of fans of Karelian nature.
- The most important advantages of Karelia, in terms of rafting, are many easy rapids and a close location from two capitals - Moscow and St. Petersburg, - explains the chairman of the Karelian Rafting Federation Galina Stepanova. - There are magnificent rivers and rapids in Altai and the Caucasus, but these are distant regions, which are difficult and expensive to reach. And you can easily come or fly to us for 2-3 days.
Galina Stepanova made her first river rafting in Karelia in 1971. Photo: "Respublika"/Leonid Nikolaev
It is believed that the roots of exclusively peaceful (albeit extreme) rafting lie in the Vietnam War. Often, for the landing or transfer of troops, the Americans used multi-seat rubber ships - the prototype of modern rafts. The US industry produced a considerable number of such ships, and remained in the post-war period. Not all Vietnam veterans were looking for salvation from the post-war syndrome in a bottle or in crime - there were enterprising guys who began to make money on rafting on the rivers of the USA and Canada. So rafting came to tourism, moved to Europe, and after it became popular, people began to hold sports competitions.
Disembarkation of American troops on rafts. Photo: World War II Wiki
Russia, as usual, has its own special path, even in rafting. The Karelians did not need a war in Southeast Asia to cultivate river rafting. As you know, there are 27 thousand rivers in our republic, and their total length is 83 thousand kilometers! At first, the Karelian timber was rafted for industrial purposes, and the best of the best raftsmen competed among themselves in speed and coordination of movements, standing with an oar on the same log. Aerobatics - to pass the river rapids in this way. In the 20th century, folk fun turned into a sports competition.
Water competitions at the Dynamo water station, Petrozavodsk, 1931. Photo: G. Ankudinov/National Archives of the Republic of Karelia
The eternal Soviet deficit was also experienced by Karelian water sportsmen. It was difficult to start Karelian rafting, it took a long time to accelerate. Until the 70s, they were rafting on wooden rafts, and then they gradually began to be replaced by PSN (inflatable life rafts), which were taken from the ships as decommissioned inventory.
- In 1995, at the beginning of my career, we rafted on PSNs, - said one of the most experienced rafting rafting in Karelia Pavel Khrennikov. - Then came the Yaroslavl rafts from the Yaroslavl-Rezinotekhnika plant. They already looked more like rafts. And now they are mainly alloyed on ships made of PVC fabric, they are denser and more reliable. The main manufacturer is TimeTrial, St. Petersburg.
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From 8 to 16 July 2017 in the Altai Territory (Charyshsky District) on the Kumir River, the All-Russian Festival on White Water "Kumir" will take place. The festival is held annually and unites: - Russian Rafting Championship (July 12-16, 2017); - Open competition in sports tourism on water distances "Cup of Altai" (July 08-11, 2017); - Altai Territory Rafting Championship (July 12-16, 2017); Show in full.
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"The Adventure Club" of Dmitry and Matvey Shparo invites you to take part in the school-seminar for the training of tourist personnel - the basic level, specialization "Water tourism" and "Hiking tourism", followed by an internship in the camps "Big Adventure ".
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Specialization "Water tourism"
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