Rules & Regulations 

GBSUP Rules Alignment

Kent SUP Racing aligns with the Rules & Regulations set out by GBSUP for all our events. GBSUP are the organising body behind the UK's Regional and National SUP & Prone racing series.

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GBSUP Regional Series Competition Rules

The GBSUP Regional Series Rules cover the Distance and Technical events run by Kent SUP Racing 2022

1) Definitions

1.1) People, Roles and Responsibilities

1.1.1) "Competitor" covers all those taking part in a race held as part of an event.

1.1.2) "Organiser" the hosting club, entity, agency or person facilitating the event.

1.1.3) "Race Director" the specific person representing the Organiser in charge of the races.

1.1.4) "Competition Committee" the body of people organised by GB SUP provided to help, advise and assist on racing matters to the Race Director.

1.1.5) "Event Director" the specific person representing the Organiser in charge of the event.

1.1.6) "Social Committee" the body of people organised by GB SUP provided to help, advise and assist the Event Director.

1.1.7) "Starter" a specific person in charge of conducting and organising the start.

1.1.8) "Finisher" a specific person in charge of overseeing Competitors at the finish.

1.1.8) "Timekeeper" a specific person(s) in charge of recording finish times.

1.1.9) "Volunteer" other non-Competitors assisting the Race Director in the running and organising of the racing.

1.1.10) The Starter and Finisher roles may be combined as is suitable to the size and nature of the race and event.

1.1.11) "Club" is a group of two or more Competitors from a paddle boarding club.

1.1.12) "Sponsor" any non-club entity that assists, supports, funds or finances one or more Competitors.

1.1.13) "Team" any two or more Competitors associated with the same Sponsor(s) within the same division.

1.2) Divisions

1.2.1) The following definitions will be used to group competitors into divisions at all events, the definition of division doesn't imply its representation or acceptance at a particular or indeed any race, nor does it prohibit divisions being merged or new ones defined.

1.2.2) There are 5 divisions in total and the following apply to all events:

Division 1

Division 2

Division 3

Division 4

Division 5

1.2.3) Each division is categorised by time. This time is taken from a paddle over 2km distance.

Division 1 – 13:29 and under

Division 2 – 13:30 – 14:59

Division 3 – 15:00 – 16:29

Division 4 – 16:30 – 17:59

Division 5 – 18:00 and over

1.2.4) The time you set for your 2km time must be on a similar board you will use to race on.

1.3) Equipment

1.3.1) "Paddle" is defined as a single bladed propulsion device with a handle on one end and blade on the other. Paddles may be adjustable.

1.3.2) "Fin" is a projecting surface or attachment for providing stability and preventing slippage only. It may deflect or retract when coming into contact with rocks or the ground but shall not otherwise be movable or pivot (manually or autonomously) such as to provide any means of steering (thus becoming a rudder) nor provide lift (thus becoming a hydrofoil).

1.3.3) "Rudder" is a projecting surface or attachment hinged vertically or horizontally that provides any means of steering or controlling movement.

1.3.4) "Hydrofoil" is a projecting surface or attachment designed to produce any lift.

1.3.5) "Leash" is the safety device connecting the Competitors to their Board. This is mandatory during all races, failure to use it will result in immediate disqualification. The leash must be mounted to a dedicated mounting point(s) and not ancillary points such as handles and belt loops. It is advised that it is mounted in front of the Competitors for visibility and the use of a waist mounted, quick-release style leash is strongly encouraged to mitigate the risk of entanglement.

1.3.6) The Race Director may specify other mandatory equipment during registration that the Competitor must bring before being allowed to race.

1.3.7) All and any equipment may be subjected to inspection and scrutineering during check-in or separately before race start.

2) Restrictions

2.1) Board Restrictions

2.1.1) All boards, at rest and/or whilst being propelled, must have only one effective hull, no catamarans, outrigger floats (such as an ama), spars or other such devices. All points of a concave hull must normally be in or on the water.

2.1.2) It is at the Race Directors discretion as to whether a rudder system can be suitably locked, disabled, removed or otherwise adjusted so as to comply with the other rudderless divisions.

2.1.3) When boards are fitted with a hydrofoil(s) they will constitute a new race and discipline but not form a new division. This prevents boards fitted with a hydrofoil racing against those without at the same time.

2.2) Equipment Restrictions

2.2.1) Stand up paddle boards shall be propelled by Competitors using a single paddle, the inertia of their own body and by harnessing the naturally occurring power of the wind and waves.

2.2.2) Competitors may not employ any form of sail or clothing as a form of sail. Competitors may be instructed to restrain or remove particularly baggy clothing.

2.2.3) Paddles may have only one blade located at one end of the shaft which may be cranked or otherwise shaped in any manner.

2.2.4) The use of electronic devices is acceptable for the following purposes;

To provide immediate and retrospective performance feedback.

To provide navigational instruction, location details and/or directions.

For audio and visual recording purposes.

To transmit the above information.

To receive weather prediction and measurement information from non-competitors.

To provide communication to and from non-competitors.

The use of electronic devices are not allowed for the following purposes;

Automatically adjusting the board, attachments or other equipment (e.g. auto-pilot steering, hydrofoil pitch, hull shape or balance etc).

Providing information about other Competitors unless in distress or emergency situations. Competitors may confer verbally or visually about other Competitors but not by radio.

Listening to music via earbuds or headphones on the grounds of safety (unless they are bone-conducting which do not impede hearing).

2.3) Competitor Restrictions

2.3.1) Competitors can only enter one division at any Event.

2.3.2) Competitors can only enter one Team or Club grouping at any Event.

2.4) Team & Club restrictions

2.4.1) Teams must consist of at least four Competitors.

2.4.2) Clubs may have any number of Competitors.

2.4.3) Teams and Clubs may agree on Team or Club orders.

2.4.4) Penalties may only be applied to individual Competitors but the Race Director may refer a Team or Club to the Competition Committee who may apply a penalty to an entire Team or Club.

3) Regional Race Series

3.1) Race & Event Scoring

3.1.1) Individual Race results will be published as numbered position finishes from 1st place downwards to the number of finishers; "DNF" will be used to indicate those who Did Not Finish, "DNS" for those who Did Not Start and "DSQ" for those who were Disqualified.

3.1.2) Event scoring shall be the average finishing position from all the races in the event, tie breaking will be performed based on the order the races were run unless otherwise specified in advance, making the first race the first criteria used etc. The tie breaking by race order is intended to encourage Competitors to make a maximum effort from the outset of the event and to avoid favouring any specific discipline. In the event of a dead heat race result it is at the Race Directors discretion as to whether other factors may be used as a tiebreaker decision, however, the result may also be allowed to stand as a dead heat, possibly resulting in half points being awarded.

3.1.3) Once average event positions are determined by the process outlined points will be awarded out of 606. First place will receive 606 points, second 600, third place 595, fourth place 591 and each position down from fourth will have 3 points subtracted to facilitate a maximum of 200 positions. The increase between 3rd to 1st are to avoid overall points ties.

3.1.4) "Did Not Finish" (DNF) results will be awarded the lowest position from all races at an event plus one place and the corresponding points. For example, if 20 people compete in sprints and 15 in the following distance race at the same event, those who did not finish the distance event would be assigned 21st place and notably fewer points than the person who finished last in 15th.

3.1.5) "Did Not Start" results will be awarded no position, nor points and may be omitted entirely from publication.

3.1.6) "Disqualified" results may have their position and/or time optionally published but will be awarded zero points.

3.2) Overall Series Scoring

3.2.1) The overall series (Distance & Technical individually) will be scored from the highest scores from two event results, not from the individual races at an Event.

3.2.2) Tie-breaking will be based on the following in order of use. Highest additional event result count back beyond the mandated two; hence if one competitor attends the third event, even finishing last will promote them in the breaker. Tie-breaking by time difference and then by race result beyond the mandated 2. If they have competed in two head-to-heads, the times for those two head-to-heads will be added together and the fastest time will win. If they have only competed in one head-to-head, then the fastest time of that race will be the winner. 

3.3) Specialised Series

3.3.1) The Distance Series will be scored on the best two results of the Distance Races.

3.3.2) The Technical Series will be scored on the best two results of the Technical Races.

3.3.3) Tie-breaking in a Specialised Series will be based on highest position count back of all individual race results (beyond the mandated 2) in that specialisation only presuming more than two are held.

3.4) Club & Team Scoring

3.4.1) Clubs and Teams will acquire the combined scores awarded to their members at each race, these will be totalled over the series and specialisations so Club and Teams winners can be announced at the end of the series.

3.5) Tie-breaking & points adjustment

3.5.1) Tiebreaks will be calculated by taking the average position and adding subsequent tie-break criteria positions divided by powers of 10 increasing by three starting from 4, then ranked downwards from 1; for example, if a Competitor comes 1st, 2nd, 6th and 3rd in a series of results to be tie broken they will have a "tie broken score" of (1+2+6+3)/4 + (2/10^4) + (6/10^7) + (3/10^10) = 3.0002006003

3.5.2) It is at the Competition Committee's discretion to pre-emptively or retrospectively make any other points adjustments, either position affecting or purely of a numerical nature, to the points awarded. For example, but not limited to avoiding half point situations, the field exceeding 200 finishing positions or in the case that Competitors elect to finish together in a deliberate dead heat.

3.5.3) It is at the Competition Committee's discretion to pre-emptively or retrospectively make any other tie-breaking adjustments or additions, either position affecting or purely of a numerical nature, to the points awarded. For example, but not limited to avoiding half point situations or considering additional factors to further tiebreak dead heat situations.

4) Safety

4.1) All Competitors and Volunteers at any event must wear a leash regardless of local marine laws at all times when paddling. Failure to do so will result in immediate disqualification.

4.2) During an event, a competitor or Volunteer who is distressed should wave their hands or paddle in a back-and-forth crossing motion above their heads.

4.3) Competitors who see a competitor, Volunteer or any other person in distress via the signal or any other indication must provide assistance and/or help to gain the attention of the closest safety personnel or emergency service.

4.4) If a competitor stops to assist those in distress, they should highlight this to the Race Director who will readdress their final time on a presumed-honesty basis.

4.5) All competitors will comply with the host venues local council and regional governments pandemic guidelines and restrictions at the time of competition.

5) Event Procedure

5.1) The event is defined as the entire process around the Competition itself, the key elements will be:

5.2) Race Registration

5.2.1) Race registration is the typical online process by which the organiser outlines the competition format and details, mandatory requirements plus equipment and collects payment. Registration should open at least one month before the event and end a few days beforehand. Competitors must register within the outlined time frame and may not appeal to enter if they miss the deadline. The organiser may place a cap on the number of entrants, Competitors are encouraged to register as early as possible.

5.3) Check-in

5.3.1) Check-in (or "registration on the day") will be held at the start of the event and allows Competitors to collect any numbers, wristbands, bibs etc… and to receive initial information and directions about the timings for the event. This also allows the Race Director to confirm those who are attending.

5.3.1) "Scrutineering" is the optional step (and may be combined with Check-in) for the Race Director to check that boards and equipment adhere to the rules and requirements.

5.4) Safety Briefing

5.4.1) Safety Briefing(s) is given by the Race Director and is mandatory for all Competitors entering each race. Safety information and procedures will be covered along with the start process and sequence, the course layout, directions and specific hazard instructions, the finish process and approximate timings for prize-giving.

5.5) Race Start

5.5.1) Race Start(s) should take place no less than 15 minutes and no longer than one hour after the "Safety Briefing", the process is outlined in detail in the Race Procedure section.

5.6) Race Finish

5.6.1) Race Finish(es) are outlined in detail below.

5.7) Appeals

5.7.1) Appeals, Competitors must lodge any appeals with the Race Director within 15 minutes of the last Competitor finishing along with all evidence available at the time. A review shall take no more than 45 minutes for all appeals to then be resolved.  Appeals will not be considered without supporting evidence in the form of witness, video or photo.  Any witness must be impartial.

5.8) Prize Giving

5.8.1) Prize giving should be done no less than 30 minutes after and ideally no longer than 2 hours after the last Competitor has finished.

5.8.2) Competitors are not required to attend prize giving and will not be penalised by way of published results, loss of series points or loss of top three trophies (only) for not being present upon the podium, although it falls to the recipient to arrange collection and delivery costs for trophies, medals or other prizes given by GBSUP, other Organisers or Sponsors.

5.8.3) Trophies or prizes not related to the top three finishing positions (1st, 2nd and 3rd) may be awarded to the next eligible participant still present, specifically but not limited to Best Male/Female Rookie etc...

5.8.4) GBSUP reserves the right to substitute absent podium finishers and prize winners with other persons or representations as required.

5.9) During a multi-race event (such as distance and sprints) there should be at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours from the last competitor finishing to the start of the next race for Competitors to recover, rehydrate, eat or wait. This is to include the Prizing Giving for the previous event and the Safety Briefing for the next.

6) Race Procedure

6.1) Standard start types

6.1.1) "Beach Start" where Competitors will assemble along the length of the start line positioned above or in the shallows of the shore, leashed to and holding boards and paddles the competitors will run into the water and mount their boards at the start signal.

6.1.2) "Water Start" is where Competitors will start out on the water along the length of the start line standing on their boards.

6.1.3) "Straddled starts", in the event of particularly challenging conditions, Competitors may be asked to sit on their boards out on the water with their legs either side and in the water (no kneeling) with their bodies behind the start line. At the start signals only then may Competitors start taking forward strokes and rise from sitting.

6.2) Start sequence

6.2.1) The recommended start sequence is as follows:

Division 1

Division 2

Division 3

Division 4

Division 5

6.2.2) It is at the Race Directors discretion as to the exact start order. Specifically, if there are potential bottleneck points on the course reversing the order should be considered to avoid faster competitors becoming stuck behind slower ones.

6.2.3) Each division should be started together as a whole, preferably on its own to allow drafting opportunities to develop. If a sequence or procedure is planned where a division would be split into smaller groups for any reason (i.e. time trial format) this would preclude any drafting between racers. This is currently not a standard method and the Race Director must agree this in advance with the Competition Committee.

6.3) The Start Process

The exact starting sequence and method will be covered in the Safety Briefing and all timings are to be taken as approximate.

6.3.1) At least a three (3) minute and no more than ten (10) minute verbal warning for competitors to gather just short of the start line for their division and prepare.

6.3.2) A verbal warning of "one (1) minute" for competitors to approach the start line and align themselves, fully prepared (including starting any tracking or monitoring devices). Following the one-minute warning the Starter will, as needed, issue instructions and warnings to those Competitors not correctly aligned, either (but not limited to) those with their body in front of the start line, those not within the bounds of the start line, those bunched at one end of the starting line etc... in a best effort attempt to ensure an orderly and fair start.

6.3.3) A verbal warning (with a recommended raising of a flag) of "ten (10) seconds" given by the starter, after which and at any point in the following ten (10) seconds when the Starter is happy that the Competitors are correctly aligned there will follow… If the Starter is not satisfied with the start line as a whole or if there is outside interference or any other unforeseen circumstances such as obstruction by other vessels after the "10 seconds" notice period the Start may issue a "restart" verbal notice and competitors will begin the starting sequence again from the one-minute warning stage.

6.3.4) A single audible sound (with the recommended dropping of a flag), signalling the start.

6.3.5) There shall be 3 minutes between each start to allow the next division to assemble for their start.

6.4) False starts

6.4.1) Any competitor who does not follow the instructions of the Starter or who is ahead of the start line once the starting sequence has begun shall be given a false start and a penalty.

6.4.2) Competitors will receive a false start if they are not present on the start line once the start sequence has begun for their heat and a penalty. Starters shall not wait for any Competitor.

6.4.3) A Competitor's first false start will receive a 2-minute time penalty. The start procedure will "restart" if practical and the 2-minute time penalty will be added to the Competitor's final timing once the start has been successful. On a competitor's second false start infraction, the competitor will be disqualified.

6.4.4) Competitors must only react to the starting signal and must not try to anticipate the sound, flying starts will be penalised.

6.4.5) Competitors must not make any forward racing strokes once called to the line and before the start.

6.5) Paddling on the Course

6.5.1) Competitors will not be disqualified for touching a turn buoy, unless, in the opinion of the Race Director, an advantage has been gained. This may include picking up and moving the mark with hands or a paddle.

6.5.2) Competitors will have a 2-minute penalty applied if they round a mark in the wrong direction (on land or water).

6.5.3) If a Competitors misses a mark they will be disqualified unless the Competitors correct themselves by rounding the mark and all subsequent marks correctly (including entire subsequent laps) without impeding other Competitors.

6.5.4) Competitors may deviate from the course, providing they make all of the marks and do not impede others.

6.5.5) Competitors shall not pass through any bridges, docks, tunnels, piers or other landmarks or structures that they are not explicitly required to pass through by the Race Director on the basis of safety.

6.5.6) Competitors that take more than five consecutive paddle strokes whilst not standing may be disqualified. Competitors disqualified for taking strokes whilst not standing (kneeling or laying) should still receive a finish time but not points.

6.6) Drafting

6.6.1) Drafting is not allowed out of division as defined for the race.

6.6.2) Competitors will be deemed drafting when within 1 metre of the tail, or sides of another competitor or any watercraft on the racecourse for more than 10 seconds.

6.6.3) If the boundaries of a racecourse do not allow competitors to avoid the drafting zone then no drafting rules will apply at that time.

6.6.4) A competitor must make an effort to exit the drafting zone immediately when boundaries, other craft or conditions allow. Examples of natural boundaries include rocks, canals, submerged objects, bridges and vessels.

6.6.5) Competitors will be disqualified for drafting any watercraft on the racecourse that is not in the same Division.

6.6.6) Competitors will be disqualified from all races during an event for drafting boats or other watercraft at any time during the entire event for safety reasons.

6.7) Finishes

6.7.1) The standard and recommend finish types are: A "water finish" is where the finishing line is out on the water. A "beach finish" is where the finishing line is on the beach or land and Competitors have to remove their leash (once past any breaking waves) dismount their board and carry their paddle to the finish line.

6.7.2) A competitor has finished a race when the first part of their body has crossed the finish line and they are carrying their paddle whilst standing on the deck of their board (for a water finish).

6.7.3) Competitors must be in control and on the deck of their boards for at least three seconds after crossing the line in order to receive a valid water finish.

6.7.4) Competitors must remain upright (standing or kneeling) for at least three seconds after crossing the line in order to be given a valid beach finish.

6.7.5) Competitors without their paddle, who fall from their board or who are not in control must re-cross the finish line correctly to receive a valid finish. If the finish line is marked by buoys or flags the Competitor must treat (preferably) the nearest marker as a mark and pass clockwise or anti-clockwise around it as appropriate without impeding the finish of other Competitors.

6.7.6) Competitors must clear the finish line area as soon as they cross the line and not impede the finish of other Competitors, failure to do so may be deemed as an invalid finish or penalised.

7) Conduct

7.1) Doping, substance and drug abuse

7.1.1) Doping, substance and drug abuse in any form, manner or at any time will not be tolerated and will lead to disqualification and referral to the Competition Committee.

7.1.2) The WADA regulations current at the respective time of an event shall be applied.

7.1.3) Doping controls may be carried out at any event.

7.2) Unethical or dishonourable conduct

Unethical or dishonourable conduct includes but is not limited to:

7.2.1) Excessive physical harm using any part of the body, paddle, board or other equipment.

7.2.2) using the board, paddle or body in order to block a competitor from forward progress, turning, drafting, starting or finishing.

7.2.3) yelling at the start in order to create a false start.

7.2.4) purposely impeding the ability of a Competitor to paddle, turn, dismount, start, finish or run.

7.3) Behaviour

7.3.1) Any Competitor who attempts to win a race by any other than appropriate means, or who does not respect racing regulations, may be disqualified from the event.

7.3.2) Any Competitor who behaves in an excessively aggressive way through their conduct or speech towards the competition officials, other Competitors, sponsors or spectators, may be disqualified from an event.

7.3.3) A Competitor shall not receive external assistance during a race.

7.3.4) Competitors may have or confer to make formal or informal agreements about drafting and other legitimate tactics (pace etc…) within their division during or before a race.

7.3.5) A competitor drafting another, even for the entire race, only to pass at the last moment shall not ultimately be considered unethical but as a matter of tactics that should be countered.

7.3.6) A Competitor may stop on the course so long as it does not obstruct others and is not done abruptly with the intention of causing another Competitor to collide or fall.

7.3.7) Repeated contact with another Competitors board (particularly from behind whilst drafting) may ultimately be considered as a lack of board control and hence be penalised.

7.3.8) Competitors are responsible for their own navigation, the use of electronic devices is acceptable as is conferring but Competitors follow each other at their own volition and may not appeal against another Competitor who they have followed along with an incorrect route.

7.3.9) The Race Director shall notify a disqualified Competitor at the earliest opportunity.

7.3.10) The Race Director or other officials shall notify a Competitor of a penalty at the earliest opportunity.

7.3.11) There shall be zero tolerance of bullying, unethical or dishonourable behaviour on or off the water, before, during or after the race. If a competitor is found to bully or to act unethically or dishonourably toward a fellow Competitors, Sponsor, Volunteer or spectator they will risk disqualification from the race, event or series.

7.1.12) GBSUP and the Race Committee also have the right to withdraw, disqualify or ban any competitor from their events in relation to online abuse. 

8) Appeals

8.1) An appeal may be submitted only by a Competitor at the race or event in question and in regard to matters in which they were directly involved.

8.2) Appeals may be submitted to the Race Director once the Competitor has finished racing. An appeal must be submitted no later than 15 minutes after the Competitor has finished a race or received a notice of disqualification.

8.3) When an appeal is made against a Competitor or Race Official, all parties in question shall be informed along with the details and nature of the appeal.

8.4) Appeals will be decided upon by the Race Director who may refer it to the Competition Committee if present through first-hand accounts as well as any photographic and/or video evidence.

9) Prize giving

9.1) Subject to reaching pre-specified minimum criteria (such as, but not limited to three persons to form a podium) each gender class should be rewarded equally but this does not have to apply to divisions.

9.2) Sponsors and organisers are free to award prizes in addition to or in conjunction with GBSUP subject to their meeting the equality requirement detailed above.

9.3) There must be at least three Competitors in each Division division to form a podium and award prizes at individual races.

9.4) It is at the Race Directors' discretion to merge Division and/or Genders together as they see fit to form as many podiums as is desired.

10) Adaptive & inclusive competition

10.1) As the RaceDirector'ss decision is final it is at their discretion to remove, ignore, adapt or modify, append or replace any rules included in this document or other conventions as needed to encourage or facilitate those of all abilities to take part so long as safety is maintained.

10.2) Specifically and as examples; the use of double-ended paddles, outside assistance and requirements to take no more than five strokes whilst not standing should not stand as impediments.

10.3) Efforts should be made to provide both visual and audible signals when communicating to all Competitors.

11) Notes & guidance

11.1) Competitors should heed the RaceDirector'ss decisions as final during a race.

11.2) The Executive Board has final authority over all matters.

11.3) No repair equipment is allowed to be carried or used during a race as it is the Competitors responsibility to ensure the worthiness and suitability of their equipment beforehand.