Competitive Rafting in Olympic Games

Rafting competitions

Four-person rafting (R4) is a new discipline sanctioned by the international rafting Federation (IRF). This discipline, which tests the technical qualities of each team, was created to facilitate a rapprochement between the IRF and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The R4 disciplines at the international level will be played on artificial rivers, on the same courses as the canoe-kayak competitions that take place during the Summer Olympic Games.

The ultimate goal of the IRF is to eventually see the R4 competitions become part of the official Olympic events.

Seine-et-Marne – Rafting is tested on the Olympic River in Paris 2024

Every weekend in Varies-sur-Marne, you can learn this sport in the rapids that the athletes will face at the Olympic Games. Thrills guaranteed.

The helmet locks the head. The life jacket girded the bust. The paddle is in hand. We’re all set. And we listen.

Julien Le Naour, a former kayaker, and director of the naval base of Varies-sur-Marne gives the latest indications.

“The handle at the top of the paddle is called the olive. You never let go. You can let go of the other hand. But not this one. »

It is the owner of the place himself who will initiate us to the joys of the ramous in Living Water. You couldn’t dream of a better guide. Sure, patient.

The whole course is modular

We are on the Olympic site of Varies-sur-Marne. Here, in five years, the canoe and kayak (downhill and slalom) competitions will take place. The site belongs to the Île-de-France region but is managed by UCPA

The river is artificial. Pumps bring water. The four-meter difference in altitude does the rest. The entire course is modular. We can vary the water flow; we can move the obstacles.

But we’re not there yet. We paddle in our big inflatable boat on flat water up to an ascending mat that allows us to cross the famous slope. Three hundred and fifty meters of pure happiness

Arrived at the top, another basin of flat water. Our guide is in the back. He’ll be our helmsman. He’ll tell us when to paddle. And when to stop. We’re heading towards the beginning of the course. Every morning, the news of your department seen by the Parisian

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And, it’s off to 350 meters of pure bliss, mixing water and waves. The first waterfall, let’s call it that, is high. The nose of the raft dives sinks into the moving stream. The rest of the boat is following, and so are we.

The legs are wet. Splashed faces. It’s like a fresh shower. And it’s just beginning. At the front, while fouling more or less firm, we take a look at Melanie, our fellow trainee, who seems both vaguely worried and conquered by the activity.

Sometimes you have to let the boat go. Jumps, waves, troughs. We bounce like a pinball ball from one obstacle to the other, from one edge to the other. The river chooses.

“Sometimes you have to let the boat go and not get tired of paddling,” Julien Le Naour reassures. The pleasure is even higher according to him when sometimes we let the waves decide the fate of our frail skiff.

The descent takes five minutes. It’s short. It again. We make two more descents, each time changing places in the raft.

The feelings are never the same. They depend on where you are. The responsibilities also differ: from the stern; the direction is printed on the boat. I mean, we’re trying.

Washing Machine

After several descents, Julien Le Naour offers to leave the boat and to swim in the waves. It wasn’t in the program. But they say yes.

“You have to dive flat on your back and then swim on your back with your feet in front,” the skipper warned. We try. The jump, totally inelegant, allows us to penetrate the Rapids. It’s weird to swim on your back with the Hoops in the front.

We dive into the rapids and drink the cup. The waves decide everything. Trying to be clever or try to tame the current.

We come out of this experiment rinsed, in every sense of the word. The sensations of the wild living water is associated with the total safety worthy of an amusement park. The raft and then the swim give the feeling of being passed in a washing machine.