Follow up Questions answered by Mark Hirst (Ep. 34)

One of our listeners had some follow up question from Episode 34 and Mark Hirst was kind enough to answer them.

What is the syllabus?  

On each Guide assessment each candidate will need to demonstrate a competence in the following skill. The assessment needs to take place on the classification of water that matches the award level eg, Class 4 water for a level 4 award, Class 3 for a level 3 award.Provide a predeparture safety demonstration / safety talk

  • Demonstrate raft guiding ability , crew interaction and management,  river running awareness
  • Demonstrate personal whitewater swimming skills including swimming through features, making ferry glides, & eddies
  • Ropework assessment. Be able to construct a 3:1 mechanical advantage system using your own equipment inside 5 Mins.
  • Throwbag Assessment. Two throws must  be made using the same throw  bag to rescue 2 swimmers inside a 90 second period.
  • Pass the standard IRF multiple choice  written test with a score of 80%
  • Pass the standard IRF flip drill on Flat water.

Once this assessment is passed the student must provide a valid first aid certificate that includes CPR & a valid logbook  The candidate must the pay the $60.00 IRF admin fee.

What skills make someone a class 4 boater?  

In My personal opinion a class 4 boater should have the following skill set in place to regularly run class 4.

  • Personal judgement skills & maturity to make a “ run or not to run” decision based on river conditions & group dynamic.
  • Personal craft skills that allow them to take any line, or make any move on class 4 rapids
  • Experience &  training to lead or assist  in a rescue situation on class 4 water.

What are some skills the even experienced river guides often lack?

I find it depends on the grade & style of river they are working on.

  • Big Volume guides are normally missing rope work & throwbag skills 
  • Technical river guides normally struggle with bigger water features & re flipping flipped rafts
  • Guides working on class 2 rivers normally have very slow reaction skills 

What are some regional stylistic differences in approaches to rafting?

Eastern & Northern  Europe = Lets drink lots and go rafting whilst drunk or with a hangover. (Day trips)

Central Europe = raft racing with not so much focus on safety

Africa = Warm big volume= flip happy

International Rafting Federation Guide Training and Award Program (PDF)