Race Categories

The official rules to which British Rafting adhere are the International Rafting Federation Raft Race Rules. The rules may be amended each year following review by IRF member nations. 

At some of our Race Series events we may amend these rules to suit the conditions, competitors or the venue. Where possible, these will be advised in advance of the event.

International Rafting Federation Raft Race Rules
IRF Raft Race Rules supporting documents

Sprint

  • Teams compete against the clock down a course (no upstreams)
  • Sprint runs last between one and three minutes
  • All competitions should start with Sprint
  • Sprint is usually the lowest points scorer (usually 10%)
The IRF WRC 2016 GB U19 team explain Sprint for us:

Head-to-Head (H2H)

  • Teams race in pairs in a knock out elimination format
  • Based on results of the Sprint, some Teams will proceed directly to Stage 2, while other Teams must first compete in Stage 1 in order to proceed further. The H2H System Form defines which Teams shall proceed directly, and which Teams need to compete in Stage 1
  • Stage 1 consists of a regular knock-out format of the last 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc
  • In Stage 1 and the first round of Stage 2, the Team with the faster time in the Sprint is awarded lane choice. Thereafter the Team with the faster time in the previous round is awarded lane choice
  • The winners of the semi-finals shall race in the “A Final” to determine first and second positions
  • The losers of the semi-finals shall race in the “B Final” to determine third and fourth positions
  • The final ranking of all other Teams is determined by their time compared against the time of the other Teams that were eliminated in the same round
  • A single H2H run should last between one and two minutes
  • Head-to-Head is usually the second lowest points scorer (usually 20%)
The IRF WRC 2016 GB U23 teams explain Head-to-Head for us:

Slalom

  • Each Team is allowed two runs. The faster run is used to determine a Team’s score. ii. In the case of a tie, the times of the slower runs are compared to determine the winner
  • There should be a minimum of 8 gates and a maximum of 14 gates of which a minimum of two and a maximum of six should be upstream gates, distributed equally for left and right approach
  • Teams are not allowed to practice the slalom course prior to the race
  • To negotiate a gate correctly:
    • The gate must be negotiated in the correct numerical order
    • All Team Members must be in the raft
    • The whole head of every Team Member must cross the gate line during a single attempt
    • No head may cross the gate line in the wrong direction
    • A Team Member cannot touch a pole with any part of the body, equipment, paddle or raft
  • Five (5) Point Penalty:
    • If a gate pole is touched with any part of the body, equipment, paddle or raft. Repeated touching of the same (or both) gate pole(s) s is only penalised once
  • Fifty (50) Point Penalty:
    • If the finish line is crossed without all Team Members in the raft
    • For each gate that is negotiated without all Team Members in the raft
    • For each gate the raft passes upside down through the gate
    • For each gate where the whole head of each Team Member does not cross the gate line during a negotiation attempt
    • For each gate where a Team Member's whole head crosses the gate line in the wrong direction
    • For each gate that is not negotiated before a higher numbered gate is negotiated or the finish line is crossed
    • For the intentional displacement of a pole to allow the negotiation of a gate. Intentional displacement is defined as pushing a pole with an abnormal or unexpected action (for example with a paddle or body motion), so that a Team Member is able to negotiate the gate when they are not in a position to do so
  • A single H2H run should last between one and two minutes
  • Slalom is considered the most technical category and is usually scored as 30% of the overall score
The IRF WRC 2016 GB Masters Men team explain Slalom for us:

Downriver (Endurance)

  • The Downriver race is the most demanding of all disciplines and therefore highest ranked in the point system
  • The total duration of a Downriver race should be between 20 to 60 minutes depending on the rapids and access to the river
  • The race should be started in groups of between 4 and 8 rafts depending on the venue conditions
  • The results of the Downriver race are determined by the final racing times irrespective of starting position or group
  • If a Team is penalised for illegally blocking another Team, the Team that was illegally blocked shall have 10 seconds subtracted from their total time for each blocking infraction
  • Downriver is considered the most demanding category and is usually scored as 40% of the overall score
The IRF WRC 2016 GB Open Men team explain Downriver for us:

Overall

  • The overall category is the culmination of the scores from each of the individual categories
The IRF WRC 2016 GB Open Womens team explain Slalom for us: