The history of rafting on the Vrbas began to be written in 2003, when a group of enthusiasts and lovers of the river Vrbas, also known as “Krajina beauty”, founded a rafting club in order to prevent the construction of hydroelectric power plants. Today, 19 years later, the Kanjon Rafting Club has grown into a respectable sports team, which has organised the largest European and world competitions.
– In those years, plans for building more hydroelectric plants on the river Vrbas intensified, threatening to destroy unique local ecosystems containing endemic flora and fauna. by submerging them in an accumulation lake. We did not want to allow that and a spontaneous idea was born to create a club that at the beginning did not have a mission to become a sports club at all, but aimed to protect the river Vrbas and all its beauties – said the president of the Kanjon Rafting Club, Aleksandar Pastir.
Only a year later, the team of this club represented BiH at the World Cup in the Czech Republic.
– We went to this competition as total outsiders, but our sports result was not in the foreground, but to win the organisation of the European R-4 Championship, which was on the program in 2005. Of course, we did not become famous in the race and everyone looked at us as real amateurs. After the race we sat so disappointed and lost, talking that we had not quite succeeded in what we intended. Then a man approached us and asked us where we were from, and when we told him he replied that he had never been on the Vrbas River and that he would love it. It was Robert Kazik, who was then the vice president of the World Rafting Federation. He gave us his business card and said he would help us if he could. After two or three days with a lot of vicissitudes, we somehow managed to win the organisation of the European Championship in 2005. It was a great challenge for us, but we still managed to organise it and attract the attention of the world public, especially those who love rafting and water sports – said Pastir.
That is how the sports side of the history of rafting on the river Vrbas and in Banja Luka began to be written.
– Encouraged by the organisation of the European Championship and the praise we received, four years later we were again in the spotlight of the world public when we were the organisers of the R-6 World Championship. It was a great spectacle that magnified the first night slalom in the world on a natural course of a river. In addition, we were the organisers of the European Championships in 2015 and 2019 in R-6, as well as the hosts of two World Cups.
The R-4 World Rafting Championship will be another big challenge for the Kanjon Rafting Club.
– We’ve been preparing for this competition for the last six months. For all of us who are in the organisation, this is another great challenge, especially since the competition is held on two rivers, Vrbas and Tara. Regardless, I expect this sports event to be a huge spectacle and the best promotion of two rivers that are certainly among the most beautiful in all of Europe. For the grand opening, which will be tonight a great spectacle is planned and I am sure that all those who come will be delighted – added Pastir.