Race Rules

Taking effect from 1 March 2011

A. Race Classifications
B. Teams and Competitors
C. IRF International Rafting Competition Calendar
D. Minimum entries
E. Race format
F. General Competition rules
G. Scoring System
H. Rafts and equipment
I. Bibs and flags
J. Safety at/on the river
K. Officials and duties of officials
L. Protest
M. Judges
N. Doping
O. Prize giving and awards
P. Invitations, entries and confirmations

 IRF = International Rafting Federation
 BOD = IRF Board of Directors
 S & C Comm = Sport & Competition Committee
A. Race Classifications

1. A-Level competitions:
a. include:
i. World championships held bi-annually;
ii. Olympic Games or World Nature Games held every four years;
iii. World Cup, consisting of a series of 3-5 races in a year held on a minimum of two
b. A World championship event (including flatwater and coastal rafting) must have at least 3
continents represented.
c. There should be a minimum of 8 nations competing in the men’s category, and 4 in the women’s
d. Each member federation may enter only one team in each of the men’s and women’s
categories. The host nation automatically qualifies for entry.
e. All competitors must be members of their member federation, must be fairly selected and
nominated by their member federation, and must be official permanent residents or citizens of
the country racing. This selection should be done by winning fair and credible national
f. The member federation must be an up-to-date member of the IRF.
g. In the Olympic Games team members must be selected according to the IOC rules i.e. they
must carry the passport of the nation they represent.

2. B-Level competitions:

a. These are regional championships which should be held at least bi-annually, in each of Pan-
America, Australasia, Europe and Africa.
b. Each member federation may enter two teams in each of the men’s and women’s categories.
c. There should be a minimum of 3 nations competing in each class.
d. Qualifications of a member federation for the next World Championship may be based on the
results of this event.
e. All IRF members are allowed to race but only nations of that particular continental region will be
awarded medals.
f. All competitors must be members of their member federation, must be fairly selected and
nominated by their member federation, and must be official permanent residents or citizens of
the country racing. This selection should be done by winning fair and credible national
g. There must be a minimum of three nations participating in the event for it to be recognized by
the IRF. In the event of there being less than three participating nations, the S & C Committee
will decide to recognise the event or not on a case by case basis.
3. C-Level competitions:-
a. Includes any international raft race held according to the IRF Race Rules.
b. The team members may be of any nationality, country of residence or sex.
c. There is no requirement that nomination comes through a national rafting body but it is highly
d. A team carries the nationality of the majority of team members. In the event of no majority, the
team captain decides on the nationality.
e. Pre-events for World Rafting Championships fall in this category – however, teams must be
members of their national federations and their federations must be up-to-date members of the
IRF. In case the pre-event’s organizer sets any specific conditions in respect of participation of
teams (limits on number of rafts per nation etc.), such conditions have to be made known early
enough (at least 3 – 6 months in advance).
4. D-level competitions:-
a. Include any national raft race held according to the IRF Race Rules.
b. Team members should be members of their member federation.
c. If the event is to be a National Selection, all teams must be given a fair chance to enter and win.
d. National raft races do not have to be run to IRF Race Rules, but it is highly recommended that
they be, in order to ensure the high standard of racing in higher level competition.
• The figure of 4- or 6-team members is compulsory for all A, B and C-Level events and applies to all
• The IRF will support any kind of raft race worldwide if a timely request is made to it, and if the event will
be run within the Declaration and the Statutes of the IRF.
B. Teams and Competitors
1. Only competitors who are members of their national rafting bodies who in turn are members of the IRF
have the right to participate in an approved international rafting event.
2. A competitor may not compete for more than one Rafting Federation in any one calendar year. This rule
does not apply in the case of changing residency or citizenship by marriage. In all cases of a change in
residency or citizenship, once confirmed, the former rafting federation has no right to prevent the
competitor/s from racing in an event.
3. In the case of residents holding the passport of a different nation, the current National Rafting Federation
must prove official permanent residency to the satisfaction of the S & C Committee. Such cases should
be brought to the attention of the race organisers as early as possible so that approval may be given by
the S & C Committee prior to the deadline for entries.
4. Proof of residency or citizenship must be given on demand to the organizing committee and the IRF
Sports & Competition Committee.
5. Competitors are allowed to race in both the class of 4-person rafts and the class of 6-person rafts in a
single event when both categories are raced.
6. There is only one reserve per team allowed. Only the nominated reserve can be substituted into a team.
Multiple substitutions can be made in the ongoing event in any single discipline but must be announced
each time to the race director or chief judge in advance. Substitutions may not be made during a single
7. Competitors may participate in an IRF event in the calendar year in which they turn 16, but not earlier.
The event’s organizer shall comply with all domestic legal regulations in terms of liability under 18 years,
i.e. the organizer shall arrange that all necessary waivers etc. are signed in advance. Similarly, particular
national federations shall arrange that all team members comply with legal regulations of their own
country in terms of liability under 18 years.
8. Youth raft races may be held alongside IRF events if prior approval of the S & C Committee is obtained.
A competitor shall be considered as falling under the youth category from the calendar year when he/she
turns 16 until the calendar year when he/she turns 19. All team members shall be of the prescribed age
in order to compete within the youth category.
Youth raft races may be held also at the A or/and B level if approved by the S & C Committee. These
races can be run separately from the senior competitions. A bi-annual schedule is recommended. A
Youth World championships event must have at least two continents represented. There should be a
minimum of 6 nations competing in the men’s category, and 3 in the women’s category.
All youth raft races shall be limited to maximum class 3 rivers.
All other rules shall be applied accordingly for the youth category.
9. Masters raft races may be held alongside IRF events if prior approval of the S & C Committee is
obtained. A competitor shall be considered as falling under the master’s category from the calendar year
when he/she turns 40. All team members shall be of the prescribed age in order to compete within the
master’s category.
Masters raft races may be held also at the A or/and B level if approved by the S & C Committee. These
races can be run separately from the senior competitions. A bi-annual schedule is recommended. A
Masters World championships event must have at least two continents represented. There should be a
minimum of 6 nations competing in the men’s category, and 3 in the women’s category.
All other rules shall be applied accordingly for the master’s category.
10. The team that wins their National Selections (which are not necessarily their National Champs) is the
team that goes to the World Championships;
11. This team must have a minimum of 4 for R6 or 2 for R4 of the original competitors that won at their
National Selections (unless selections are more than 1 event);
12. If the above team is unable to go, the team that came second is to be offered the spot and so on down
the order.
13. If the first team cannot go this decision must be made timeously (at least 6 weeks ahead of Worlds) so
that the second team has time to plan and get to the event.
14. Any deviations from point 9,10,11 or 12 by the national rafting body should be in the interest of the
rafters and if queried by anyone, must be explained to and accepted by the IRF Sport and Competition
15. National Selections should be run on no less than Class 3 rivers. National Federations must be confident
that the team they select for any event is capable of paddling the Class of river on which that event is to
be held. The IRF S & C Committee or event organisers are within their rights to refuse a team’s entry if
their paddling capabilities are in doubt.
C. IRF International Rafting Competition Calendar

1. General
a. The IRF will maintain an events list to the best of its ability on the website (
b. All A, B C and D level events must be advertised on the IRF website in order to be recognised
by the IRF.
c. Organisers of these events or member federations must ensure the event and contact details
are sent through to IRF Administration. The information should include the date, venue and
section of the rivers for each rafting discipline, type of race (R4, R6), accommodation, transport,
entry fees, training possibilities and other relevant information in advance of the competition.
2. A and B level events
a. Bidding for A and B level events is to be done according to Annex C of the IRF Bylaws.
b. Bids should include details of any requests for changes or variations to IRF Competition rules
(for example, but not limited to, elimination of head to head events, number of teams
participating in disciplines) with the motivation for such changes.
D. Minimum entries
1. If there are less than the minimum requirements for entries, the organizers may apply to the S & C
Committee for recognition of the event.
2. It is not necessary that the required minimum number of nations finish in all the disciplines of the
competition for the results to be valid.
E. Race format
1. General:

a. Ideally, rafting competitions consist of 4 disciplines: – Sprint, Head to Head (H2H), Slalom and
Downriver race.
b. In A and B level events, all disciplines must be raced. In C level events, there is no obligation to
race in every discipline.
c. In A and B level events the order of disciplines should be: – Sprint, H2H, Slalom then Downriver.
d. The start and finish line should be marked clearly with a line across the river or with buoys or
poles on the left and right sides. This is to be done 24 hours before every race. The race director
has a right to change that start position due to unusual circumstances (e.g. changes in water
e. In A and B level events the downriver race must include a Class 4 or 5 rapid. This is also
preferable for C and D events as well. (If teams are being selected for World Championship
events at their National Selections, they should be able to paddle Class 4 at least.)
2. Sprint
a. Every rafting competition should start with the sprint
b. The starting order of the sprint has to be drawn out of a hat.
c. The start interval may not exceed 3 minutes and the duration of a single run should be in an
interval from 1 minute to 3 minutes.
d. Training runs in the sprint are not mandatory.
3. Head-to-head (H2H)
a. Teams race in pairs, head to head in a knock out format. It is recommended that the H2H
immediately follow the Sprint.
b. The H2H should be held on a section of river where scouting the course is viable.
c. All teams qualify for the H2H, nevertheless only a limited number of teams proceeds to the stage
two of the competition. Based on results of the sprint some teams proceed directly to the stage
two and another ones have to compete in the stage one in order to proceed further. “H2H
System Form” (Addendum 1) defines which teams proceed directly and which need to compete
in the stage one (see the form, and other relevant information is included in the same
document). The stage two consists of a regular knock out format of the last 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc.
The race order is specified in respective “H2H Race Order Form” (see the form/forms).
d. In the Stage 1 and the first round of the Stage 2 the team with the faster time in the Sprint has
lane choice. Thereafter the team with the faster time in the previous round has lane choice.
e. The winners of the semi-finals race in the A final to determine first and second positions. The
losers of the semi-finals race in the B final to determine third and forth positions. The final
position of all other teams is determined by their ranking against the other teams knocked out in
the same round using their time from that round. For example, the 4 teams knocked out in the
quarter finals are ranked by their times in that round and based on their ranking take the
positions 5th to 8th.
f. Race intervals in a single round should not exceed 3 minutes and the duration of a single run
should be between 1 and 2 minutes.
g. Teams late for their start may forfeit their run.
h. Practice runs in the H2H are mandatory.
i. Starting positions and lanes:
i. It is the duty of the Jury to ensure the two starting positions and lanes are as fair as
humanly possible particularly if there are no overtaking opportunities further down.
ii. At A-level events various methods will be used to test the above. Where possible teams
will be timed from the start to a set position a certain distance from the start. Teams
must be timed in each lane for comparison. If timing is not possible then two teams who
are fairly even are to race each other over the same distance – twice, testing out each
lane for comparison. This will need to be done until the Jury is satisfied the lanes are as
equal as humanly possible and will have to be done close to the start of the first H2H
run if conditions vary.
iii. It is up to the Race Director to decide how to choose the teams needed in ii) above but
no team should be forced to do these test runs if they prefer not to, and consideration is
to be given to various influencing factors affecting the teams. Options for doing this are
suggested below but are not limited to this only:
1. Chosen from local teams not competing if they are suitable,
2. Chosen from the racing teams for their equivalent abilities and therefore for their
suitability to compare the race lanes.
3. Out of a hat
4. Availability at the time of testing.
iv. Teams chosen for these test runs are to cooperate with the Jury and to race to the best
of their ability in ensuring the best test results are achieved.
v. The route for each team is to be clearly marked to the top of the first rapid. Crossing the
marked line after the race start by any part of boat, body or equipment is penalized by
10 secs.
4. Slalom
a. The slalom should be held on a section of a river where access for scouting the course is viable.
b. The slalom consists of two runs. The faster run counts for points.
c. 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.
d. The minimum width of the gates should be 2,50 meters. They should hang so that the base of
the pole is between 50cm and 1m above the water (considering pulsing of water and type of
boat and with respect to fair and easy judging) . Down river gates are preferably in green and
white color and upstream gates in red and white color. Minimum length of poles is 2 meters.
Minimum Diameter 0,070 meter. Gate number plates should be fastened inside the top of each
gate. The poles virtually delimit the area of the gate. The gate is therefore only between the
poles, not outside them.
e. The course should be ready for inspection by the jury ideally 24 hours but no less than 2 hours
prior to the first run and is subject to change by a vote from those jury members.
f. Gates must be negotiated in numerical order. A gate is “live” for penalization until the next one is
passed or touched.
g. A gate is passed correctly if all team members are in the raft and their heads pass between the
h. Penalty points will be awarded as follows;-
– Touching one or both poles of a single gate = 5 points
– Missing a gate by one or more team members = 50 points
– Negotiating a gate in the wrong direction = 50 points
– Missing gate(s) by pre running or touching higher numbered gates = 50 points each gate
– Incomplete teams over the finish line = 50 points
– Going upside down through a gate = 50 points
– Points for intentional displacement of a pole = 50 points
i. The points will be added to the racing time in seconds.
j. In the case of a tie, the slower runs are compared.
k. The start intervals should be between 1 and 4 minutes and the duration of a single run should be
between 3 and 4 minutes.
l. Teams late for the start may forfeit their run.
m. The finish line is also judged.
n. Training runs in the raft slalom are not mandatory.
o. If possible, the starting order should be in reverse order according to the total previous achieved
points, so the highest ranked team will start last.
p. Single pole gates may be used for upstream gates only.
5. Down river race
a. The down river race is the most demanding of all disciplines and therefore highest ranked in the
point system.
b. The total duration of a down river race should be between 20 to 60 minutes depending on the
rapids and access to the river (the duration of the down river race would be submitted at time of
proposal to the IRF).
c. The race should be started in groups of between 4 and 8 rafts depending on the river situation.
However, if the possibility exists for more than 8 rafts to start simultaneously then this figure
should be chosen.
d. The start line should be as fair as possible for every team but due to river conditions this is often
impossible. Therefore teams will be allowed to select their starting position in order from highest
ranked to lowest ranked according to the total previous achieved points.
e. If multiple groups are raced one immediately after the other then the highest ranked teams race
in the first heat, the next ranked teams in the second, and so on.
f. Intervals between the groups should be a minimum of one minute.
g. The results of the down river race are determined by the final racing times irrespective of starting
position or group.
h. Le Mans starts can be considered if there is a river beach with sufficient space for rafters to run
towards the lined up rafts at the shore. All the teams must stand behind a clearly marked line at
the start.
i. Yachting starts are allowed where the river has sufficient space for all boats in the start group to
cross the start line side by side. Slalom poles or floats are to be used to mark the start lanes.
Rafts can be going as fast or slow as they want but can not cross the start line before the race
j. To prevent false starts each raft should be held back by a pre-starter (water starts).
k. Teams late for the start may forfeit the race.
l. Training runs in the raft downriver race are mandatory!
F. General Competition rules
1. Flips are no reason for disqualification as long as the raft has been re-flipped and all team members are
inside the raft when crossing the finish line. Failing to have the raft re-flipped and all team members
inside the raft (feet outside the water) when crossing the finish line results in a 50 second time penalty.
2. No intentional contact between paddle to paddle, person to person, person to paddle/raft is allowed at
any stage of a race. Time penalty per infringement: 10 seconds. Ramming is allowed.
3. Intentional blocking of teams wishing to pass is illegal. Intentional blocking is defined as the intentional
changing of direction more than once intended with the aim of impeding the progress of another raft.
Time penalty per infringement: 10 seconds.
4. In the event of a team member being unable to continue due to injury, the team may only continue once
the injured party has been handed over to the satisfaction of the safety/medical personnel.
5. Outside assistance (by persons other than team members) is prohibited during the race with the
exception of dangerous situations. The penalty for this is disqualification from the run.
6. After runs, teams must, if requested, assist the operations personnel in carrying rafts back to the start or
loading the trailers for transport. Arrangements will be stated at the previous captain’s meeting.
7. Captain’s Meetings for A and B level events:
a. The first Captain’s meeting must be held the night before the first official day of the event. The
event program/schedule is to be provided to all team Captain’s at that time.
b. Subsequent meetings should be held the day prior to each competitive discipline
c. Written minutes are to be provided to all the captains at the end of the meeting if there is any
deviation from the rules or within an hour where possible.
d. The Captain’s meeting room should be a room of its own with no other activities during the
e. Only Captain’s and, where needed, their interpreter’s are allowed into the captain’s meetings.
Exceptions are to be applied for to the Chief Judge.
f. Captains are to sign off on the meetings minutes and race rules in case minutes are provided as
per art. F7 c).
8. Captain’s meetings for C and D level events should be held the day prior to each competitive discipline.
9. In every event the timing starts when the starter gives the command go and the pre-starter(s)
simultaneously release the raft(s) or when first part of raft crosses the starting line. Where the start is not
measured electronically, the starter can ask for paddles to be off the water until he gives the command
10. Electronic timing is mandatory for A and B level events.
11. The timing stops when any part of the raft first crosses the imaginary finish line. All members of the team
must be inside the raft otherwise a 50 second time penalty will be given.
12. A time penalty (50 seconds) will be given to any team trying to cheat the start signal. If a false start
occurs the start must be repeated. Any team that receives a second warning is automatically disqualified
from the discipline. The vacant starting position will not be filled by another team.
13. In a case where there is a tie in points and time, teams are to select their starting positions by drawing it
from a hat or flipping of a coin. If teams are tied for positions in the Downriver, if possible they are to be
kept in the same group where possible.
14. At the end of the competition, in the unlikely event of two teams having equal points overall, the winner
of the Slalom is to be given first place.
15. Gate judges and section judges are to be provided with an isolated or roped-off area and competitors
can be penalised for not moving out of this area when requested to do so by any Judge.
16. Should any team or team member at an IRF sanctioned event be found guilty of bringing the sport into
disrepute, that team can be sanctioned. Such behaviour could include, but is not limited to, indisputable
bad sportsmanship or behaviour, and/or flagrant disregard of IRF race rules, event rules or legitimate
requests made by the race officials or event staff. The Race Jury at the event can be advised of the
occurrence by anyone in writing within 24 hours of the occurrence believed to have brought the sport
into disrepute, and should meet as soon as possible thereafter to hear, separately or jointly, evidence in
mitigation and aggravation. The sanction should be appropriate to and dependent upon the severity of
the offence and can be through any means available, including but not limited to; no points for that
event, no points for the entire competition, or expulsion of a team or competitor from an event or
discipline without refund of any entry fees paid.
17. If a team gets disqualified from a particular discipline, that team gets no points in the discipline. If a team
gets disqualified from the event, that team loses the right to compete in the remaining disciplines.
18. If a team doesn’t finish a race, that team gets no points for the race.

G. Scoring System

1. Teams are awarded points in each discipline according to their finishing position.
2. The maximum points awarded are:
Sprint 100
H2H 200
Slalom 300
Down River Race 400
Total 1000
3. The points awarded to each team are calculated as a percentage of the maximum points available as
1st place – 100%, 2nd place – 88%, 3rd place – 79%, 4th place – 72%
5th to 18th place – less 3% each place, 19th to 32nd place – less 2% for each place. (32nd place will
therefore receive 2% of points.)
4. A team that does not start a race at all will receive 0 points
5. The overall results are determined by ranking teams according to the total points achieved during the
H. Rafts and equipment
1. Rafts used in IRF competitions are the basic AVON symmetric river raft design used worldwide by
various outfitters and wild water enthusiasts or identical boats provided by the organisers and approved
by the S & C Committee.
2. Ideally, all rafts should be self-bailing and meet the following specific requirements:
Type 4-person 6-person
Minimum length 3,65 m (12 foot) 4,25 m (14 foot)
Minimum width 1,70 m 2,00 m
Thwarts 2 3
Foot cones 4 – 6 6 – 8
Min. tube diameter 0,45 m 0,50 m
Minimum weight 40 kg 50 kg
3. All rafts must provide a safety line around the outside and a bow line in front, fixed by a minimum of 6
and a maximum of 10 D-rings. Carrying handles are allowed.
4. Any other ropes and rigging are, for safety reasons, strictly prohibited.
5. Every raft must have a minimum of one foot cone (no foot loops or ropes) per person at the seating
position. Ideally, cones are fixed by the manufacturer in advance.
6. The floor should be of standard drop stitch or I-beam construction using soft material and, preferably, be
laced in rather than glued. Pressure release valves in floors are recommended.
7. Every competitor is free to use his/her own single blade C1 paddle. Oars are banned.
8. At A-level events the air pressure in the rafts is to be checked before each race to ensure all rafts are
equal. The check should be done once the raft has entered the water.
9. Anyone found tampering with a raft will receive at least a time penalty on their team’s next discipline and
possibly sanctioning as mentioned in F.16 above . The time penalty will be decided by the Race Jury
and will be in accordance to the severity of the tampering and the time length of the next
discipline. Tampering entails but is not limited to inflating the rafts above the specified pressure, blocking
valves and changing the raft in any way to give the team an advantage.
10. For A and B level events the event organisers are to provide identical rafts numbering at least half the
number of teams present, plus 1 or two spares.
I. Bibs and flags
1. A-, and B-Level events:
a. Every competitor must wear a bib to identify his/her team’s nationality. Bibs must have the
national flag with the abbreviation of the nation printed on the front – minimum size must be15 x
23 cm (e.g. USA-1, GER-2, RUS-1, ITA-2, NZL-1, ZIM-2, BRA-1, etc). The back side and the
lower front side is reserved for sponsor logos only.
b. Each team member is fully responsible for his/her bib. A deposit may be required from each
team when bibs are issued.
c. At A-level events and Euro Champs the front of each raft must display the national flag of the
participating team. The flag must be at least 30 x 40 cm and be fixed securely to the front of the
raft right way up. At Pan-American, Australasian and African Champs the above is preferred but
not compulsory.
d. The IRF flag must be present at the race site.
2. C-, and D-level events:- the requirements for bibs and flags are optional.
J. Safety at/on the river
1. Every competitor must use his/her own personal safety equipment during the entire event at all times on
the water. The safety equipment consists of a buoyancy aid/PFD with a minimum flotation of 60N (which
may be checked and marked by an IRF judge or a member of the organising committee prior to start in a
basin or barrel with 6kg of weight) and a safety white water helmet according to the National and
International standard and appropriate footwear. Being barefoot is not allowed. Organisers are given the
option to increase the minimum buoyancy of PFDs up to 100N (10kg). It si recommended for
competitor’s safety to use PFDs with reinforced shoulder straps and adjustable waist bands.
2. The organising committee may specify particular clothing requirements. If the expected water
temperature demands a wet or dry suit the organizing committee must announce in the race program
three months prior to the event the minimum thickness of the wet suit material recommended. The IRF
recommends wearing a neoprene- or dry suit for water temperatures below 15 degrees Celsius.
3. It is compulsory for all disciplines on natural rivers that at least one team member carry a flip line, a river
knife and a throw bag. Throw bag must be stored safely and be minimum of 15m long if not specified
prior the race. River knife should be accessible with one hand. On artificial courses safety equipment is
defined by the Safety Director. Information about the minimum Safety equipment must be communicated
by the organizers together with the clothing requirements including also the required length of throw bag.
4. Prior to the start of the first race, the safety director or a delegated member of the safety team may
check the safety equipment. The chief starter or a delegated starter can do the same too. Any team not
complying with the safety requirements will not be allowed to continue until the safety requirements are
met. A team’s run may be forfeited if they do not satisfy the safety requirements by their allocated start
5. The safety director has the right to stop the competition immediately if any hazards to the competitors
and/or officials arise. No Race discipline starts without the confirmation of the Safety Director.
6. In safety issues the safety team has the final say. All teams/competitors must follow the orders of the
safety personnel. If they require a raft to stop or help with a situation, they will give a specified signal and
this must be obeyed. This signal will be notified at the captain’s meeting prior to that event. Any team
ignoring race or safety officials or showing disregard for their own or other’s safety may be penalised
and/or disqualified from the event.
7. In any event competitors take part at their own risk. Neither the IRF, sponsors nor organizers bear
responsibility for accidents or damage that may occur during a competition. Every participant, including
organising staff and competitors, is obliged to act in a safety conscious manner at all times so as to
minimize the risk of an accident or damage.
8. Under no circumstances will the IRF endorse a competition held on class VI wildwater. In case there is a
class VI or potentially dangerous river section nearby the race location, competitors must be informed
and safe stopping above the section must be guaranteed.
9. Competitors’ minimum self rescue knowledge and skills:
– 1 person/team: re-flip raft, active use of throw bag
– each member: climbing onto/into the raft unaided, aggressive and passive swimming in whitewater,
passive use of the throw bag and awareness of all risks involved in raft racing.
Organizations registering competitors for the races need proof in the registration process that the teams’
have the skills and knowledge about self rescue.
10. It is the competitors’ responsibility to act in a safety conscious manner minding their own, their team’s
and others’ safety. Competitors must mind their own outfit, their position and set up in the raft (for
instance eliminating potential dangers around them such as sharp edges, loose ropes, loops, open
carabineers, etc.) The Safety Director is entitled to require adjustments on teams outfit and set up.
Competitors are responsible for all their actions on the shore and on the water regarding safety.
Violation against this rule may cause penalties up to disqualification.
11. The Race Director and Safety Director have the right to change the above stated rules where it is
deemed necessary for improved safety, but this must be announced in advance.
K. Officials and duties of officials
1. Head of the organizing committee / Event Director:
a. He/she is responsible for the overall running of the competition and coordinating all local
b. His/her responsibilities include entries, dealings with local authorities, staff, safety team, media
releases, technical and raft equipment, prize giving, and lodging of the officials and competitors.
2. Race Director
a. He/she runs the races according to the IRF race rules together with the Jury.
3. Safety Director
a. He/she is in charge of safety during the competition.
b. He/she is able to call for an immediate stop to the competition if he/she considers that any
dangerous or potentially dangerous situation arises or the river level reaches a pre-determined
cut off level.
c. He/she together with the organizing committee is responsible for the delivery of the Risk
Assessment and the Safety & Rescue Plan according to the IRF Safety Document (Addendum
d. He/she has the right to check self-rescue abilities of any member of any participating teams and
exclude those not complying with minimum expectations that are defined and can be reviewed in
the Race Rules document.
e. He/She may invite any particular team to show there skills, He/She may expel those which are
not capable of the minimum skills needed, as stated in the race rules, from the race. If he/she is
not sure of the skills shown, then a second test is possible.
f. He/She together with the Race Director has the right to change the Start and Finish positions
due to safety reasons.
g. The Safety Director reports to the Race Director
4. Head Judge and Jury
a. The Head Judge is head of the jury. The jury ensures that the entire competition is run correctly
in accordance with the IRF race rules.
b. The Jury are responsible for all the judging and judges.
c. Together with two other jury members he/she receives protests concerning non-observance of
the IRF rules and may disqualify a competitor or a team. He/she may also grant a re-run if the
protest is successful although he/she is under no obligation to do so. All decisions of the jury
must be in accordance with the IRF race rules.
d. In the event of a tie vote and matters not covered by the IRF rules, the Head Judge decides.
e. After the event the Head Judge provides a full report to the S & C Committee within one month.
f. The Jury is responsible for ensuring the Judges Workshop Form is to be completed by the
person who ran the workshop and returned to IRF Admin.
5. Chief starter
a. He/she ensures that the teams are in the correct racing order and gives permission to start.
b. He/she will be assisted by another starter/pre-starter for each additional raft to ensure that the
start is as fair as possible and to prevent a false start. Rafts are always held from the stern at the
start, preferably by the outside line/rear handle or a loose end rope.
c. He/she can refuse to start a team if the team or a single team member fails to respect the safety
rules, is late for the start, is not wearing the issued bib(s), or does not follow the starter’s orders.
d. In the event of a false start, he/she will stop the race immediately and give the team responsible
an official warning. In the case of a second false start caused by the same team he/she must
disqualify the team from this particular race.
e. He/she announces a countdown to the teams at the start according to the start interval: 5
minutes,“1 minute, 30 sec., 20 sec., 10 sec., paddles out of the water” (at 5 seconds before
start). At “0” the starting signal is to be made. The signal should be loud and clear.
6. Section Judge
a. He/she is in charge of a section of the river, including the slalom gate judges in that section.
b. All section judges must be approved IRF General Judges. The section judge will transmit the
penalties to the chief of scoring as soon as possible by radio, phone or running personnel.
c. If a section judge sees evident discrepancy in judging, they can overrule immediately.
7. Gate and finish line judges
a. Two gate judges are required for each section or single posted gates of the slalom course.
b. The gate and finish line judges must be able to be positioned on river left and river right.
c. They watch the rafts coming down the course in the right order and give clearance or indicate a
penalty according to the IRF racing rules.
d. They must write down the reason why a penalty was given.
8. Finish judge
a. He/she determines when the teams have crossed the finish line and in what order and coordinates
with the chief starter. He/she will be assisted by and work closely with the
9. Time keeper
a. He/she is responsible for keeping the exact time and transmitting this to the chief of scoring.
b. A separate back up timing must be in place in case the official timing fails.
10. Chief of scoring
a. He/she is responsible for calculating the results according to the IRF scoring system and to
publish them ASAP after the event has finished.
11. Course designer
a. He/she is responsible for designing the slalom course and assisting in the other disciplines. For
A and B level races the course designer will be appointed by the IRF (the S&C Committee or the
particular continental committee respectively) together with the Event Director or the organizing
committee of the race. He/she has to be suitably qualified and not from the local country.
b. He/she is responsible for proper hanging of the gates and ensures that the course is maintained
in its original design during the slalom race. He may interrupt the ongoing slalom race if a gate
has changed position for any reason.
12. Media Liaison
a. He/she is responsible for ensuring the daily results of the A and B level events are up on the IRF
website as soon as possible.
b. They are responsible for collecting and collating as much media as possible that comes out of
this event and ensuring it is made available to teams and IRF members through the IRF website.
NOTE: – Officials 1-2,4-8,10-11 must be approved IRF judges.
L. Protest
1. In the sprint, H2H and down river race protests must be lodged by the team captain to the Finish Judge
within 5 minutes of completion of the run or race. In the slalom, protests must be lodged by the team
captain to a jury member within 15 minutes of the posting of provisional results.
2. Protests are to be made in writing on the forms available from the Finish Judge or Jury Member.
3. Protests are to be heard in a secluded area in which only the jury and the team captain (or team
member making the complaint) will be. This enclosed area should have technical facilities to view video
or other relevant material if possible.
4. The protest fee is USD or EURO 100,00 and must be paid as a deposit with the written protest. No cash,
no protest!
5. Video/TV evidence is legal.
6. If the protest is successful the money will be returned.
M. Judges
1. There are 4 categories of Race Judges:- Assistant, General, Chief and Assessor Judges. They are
defined as:
a. Assistant Judge (specifically trained for judging at C or D level events):
i. Judging – can judge at C or D level events. At A or B level events can only assist a
General, Chief or Assessor Judge. (Can judge at Pan Am, Australasian or African
Champs until such time as sufficient General Judges available in those areas.)
ii. Assessment – must pass an exam on sections E, F, G of the Race Rules and have a
working knowledge of J, K, L and M sections.
iii. Expiry – must judge at a minimum of 1 event over a 2 year period.
iv. Renewal if expired – must be re-assessed
b. General Judges (anyone who wishes to judge long term):
i. Judging – can judge at any level events
ii. Assessment – must pass an exam on thorough knowledge of sections E to M and
working knowledge of the rest of the rules. They will be a Provisional General Judge
until they have judged at 2 events.
iii. Expiry – must judge at a minimum of 1 event over a 2 year period.
iv. Renewal if expired – must be re-assessed or at discretion of S&C Com
c. Chief Judges:
i. Judging – can judge at any level. Cannot be Head Judge at A level events.
ii. Assessment – must complete Chief Judge assessment form and hand in to IRF admin /
Head of Judging so can be assessed. Must also assist at minimum of one Workshop
with Assessor who will assess ability to teach and examine Judges.
iii. Training and Assessing – can train and assess Assistant Judges.
iv. IRF Representatives – when a Chief Judge is the Head Judge on the Jury at an event
(B, C or D level) they are also the IRF representative. They are to be involved in medal
ceremonies and, for B level events, are also to ensure there is one meeting held for all
IRF representatives to attend to discuss any issues for that region.
v. Expiry – must judge at a minimum of 1 event over a 3 year period. If not, will drop back
down to General Judge level.
vi. Renewal if expired – at discretion of S&C Com
d. Assessors:
i. Judging – can judge at any level. Can be Head Judge of Jury at any event.
ii. Assessment – potential Assessors are to be proposed to the Head of Judges by an
Assessor. They will be required to complete an application form.
iii. Training and Assessing – Assessors can train and assess Assistant, General and Chief
iv. IRF Representatives – Assessors are all IRF representatives. When an Assessor is the
Head Judge on the Jury at any events they are to be involved in medal ceremonies and
are also to ensure there is one meeting held for all IRF representatives to attend to
discuss any issues.
v. Expiry – must judge at a minimum of 1 event over a 3 year period. If not, will drop back
down to Chief Judge level.
vi. Renewal if expired – at discretion of S&C Com.
2. Judge Exams:
a. Education and examination of IRF judges will be organised by the IRF Sports & Competitions
Committee. Any examination of IRF judges must meet the requirements set down by this
b. Education of judges will be in a workshop format.
c. Workshops are to be run before A & B level events at the event location and attendance will be
mandatory for certified judges wanting to judge at the event, to learn more about recent changes
of the rules. Competitors and interested spectators are to be encouraged to attend these
workshops to grow the number of IRF Judges.
d. Examination of judges on the IRF Rules will consist of a theoretical plus a practical section.
e. The examination will vary on the depth of knowledge of the race rules that judges need to know,
according to the category they are to be certified on.
f. Education and examination of judges can be done regionally if done by an Assessor.
g. After every workshop a Judges Workshop form must be completed by the Judge running the
workshop and returned to IRF admin.
a. All Judges are to keep a log book with the following details: Date, name, location and level of event;
name of Head Judge; own position held at event.
b. Head Judges of every event are to send a list of all Judges who worked at the event, to the IRF Admin.
c. Judges will need to fill certain criteria before they will be appointed as a Judge at any specific event, in
particular for A and B level events. (This is to ensure all Judges are able to communicate clearly with the
Jury as well as are physically capable of carrying out their job.)
d. Any Judge who fails to keep within the IRF requirements or brings the IRF into disrepute or for any
reason that the BOD or S&C Com feels is valid, may have their certification down graded or revoked
N. Doping
1. Doping is strictly prohibited and the IRF works in full accordance with the guidelines laid down by the
2. Doping tests are always welcome in both training and competition.
3. Any doping tests carried out must be organised and supervised by the hosting federation or official sport
authorities of that country.
4. If a competitor tests positive, his/her team must be disqualified from the event.
5. Person(s) testing positive will be dealt with by the IRF Doping Control Panel as described in the IRF
Bylaws 30.6.
6. In the event of disqualification after the prize giving, the medals will be handed over to the next placed
team. All other teams move one position forward.
7. The medals and prizes must be returned to the race officials and if possible handed over to the winning
teams in a new prize giving.
O. Prize giving and awards
1. Titles are awarded for each discipline and overall.
2. The prize giving for each discipline should be held the same day as the race where possible.
3. The overall prize giving will be held together with the prize giving for the last race.
4. Prize giving events may be arranged in accordance with the requirements of the main sponsor. The
decision will be made by the S & C Committee.
5. Medals for A- and B-Level events:-
1. Must be provided in gold, silver and bronze for the top placed three teams in each category and
racing class.
2. Must include a medal for reserve – therefore 5 medals for R4 and 7 for R6.
3. Can be provided by the IRF or the host organisation
4. The host organisation needs to let the IRF know at least 3 months ahead of the event as to
whether they wish to have the IRF provide the medals or if they wish to provide the medals
5. The host is to cover the costs of getting the medals transported to them.
6. Medals that are provided by the host need to first be approved by the IRF BOD. The majority of
the front side must be the IRF logo as provided by the IRF, and the back side may be designed
according to the feel of the event and culture the host is representing. However, it must include
the place, the river, the year, the discipline and the class (women, men, youth, masters)
7. All team members must be called to the podium.
6. At prize givings in A- and B-Level events, the national anthem of the winning team must be played after
the medals are handed over to each of the athletes by a member of the S & C Committee or
7. All team athletes must either wear their team or national uniforms. In the event that the prize giving is
held straight after the race has finished, teams may wear their national water gear. Paddles are allowed
to be carried on to the podium.
P. Invitations, entries and confirmations
1. An entry must contain the name of the federation, club or team name (C-level), first and last name for
each competitor, team captain, IRF judges, other personnel and contain all information required as set
out in the invitation.
2. In C-level competitions all entries are at the discretion of the event organisers.
3. Entries can be made by a single letter, fax or, preferably, by e-mail before the deadline.
4. The deadline for A- and B-level events should be one month prior the first day of competition. The
deadline for C- and D- level competitions is set by the organisers of the event.
5. The organizing committee must confirm each entry within one week of receipt by letter, fax or e-mail.
6. Entry fees for the event are to be made no later than the date specified by the organisers. Any late
payments can result in the team being excluded, unless specific arrangements have been made in
writing with the organisers.
7. Announcement of any changes must be made or confirmed during the first Captain’s meeting.
8. The start list and any other relevant information must be handed to the teams no later than the first
Captain’s meeting.

Composed by IRF Board of Directors: Mr. Peter Micheler – 1st Vice President; Mr. Tony Hansen – Funding; IRF
Administrator – Ms. Sue Liell-Cock; Mr. Neil Baxter – Head of the IRF Sports and Competition committee: The
committee members: Mr. Thomas Karas, Ms. Vember.Mortlock
Hotel Suerre, Guapiles, Costa Rica, 23rd of September 1998
Modified in Futaleufu, Chile and over email. February/March 2000 by Peter Micheler; Robert Kazik; Neil Baxter,
Tony Hansen; Sue Liell-Cock; Steve Nomchong; Oleg Grigoriev; Bruce Waters; Rafael Gallo; Glenn Lewman.
Modified by email Congress September 2002 and by continued email discussions and voting afterward.
Modified by email through BOD vote in June 2004.
Modified by email through Sport & Competition Committee vote in July 2005.
Modified by email through Sport & Competition Committee vote in Feb 2007.
Modified by email through Sport & Competition Committee vote in March 2008
Modified by email through Sport & Competition Committee vote in February 2009
Modified by email through Sport & Competition Committee vote in March 2010
Modified by email through Extraordinary Congress in July 2010
Modified by email through Sport & Competition Committee vote in March 2011