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Race Rule Changes proposed – 8 to 12

Home IRF Forums Race Rules – proposed updates 2017/2018 Race Rule Changes proposed – 8 to 12

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    • #17137
      IRF admin
      1. Course setters – everyone:

        Rule K.12.a says “For A- and B-Level Events, the final positioning of the Slalom gates must be agreed by the Course Designer and the two other non-local, suitable persons appointed by the S&C Com.”

        Change to “….. suitable persons voted for by the captain’s at the captain’s meeting and/or appointed by the S&C Com and/or Jury.“

        Reason = Ideally captains will choose as the athlete’s are much happier with this. But we need to keep options open on how to choose the 2 course setters depending on the reality of who is coming and when. If we have a good outsider working on the event the jury should be able to appoint him/her and if needed for organizational needs (example not enough time between 1st captain meeting and slalom course design) the S&C Com should be able to appoint them before the event.


      1. L. Judges – from Jozef and Eric
        • Change where refers to Judge sub-com to com

          Reason = Judges Com is no longer a sub-com
        • Change where decisions say they are made by S&C Com but are now made by Judges Com to be like that.

          Reason = to reflect reality.
        • Race Rule L.2.c.v says “Expiry – SHOULD judge at least one (1) Event during a one (1) year period, and MUST judge at least one (1) Event during a two (2) year period or risk demotion to General Judge status.”

          Change to: “Expiry – SHOULD judge at least one (1) Event during a one (1) year period, and MUST judge at least one (1) Event during a two (2) year period, and needs to be part of/running a judge workshop at least every two (2) years or risk demotion to General Judge status.

          Reason = need to increase the standard of Chief Judges
        • Race Rules L.2.c.iv and d.iv

          Remove reference to IRF meetings.

          Reason = irrelevant these days.
        • Rule A.2.c.i says Chief Judges  “Judging – Can judge at any Level Event. Cannot be Head Judge at A-Level Events.”

          Change to “Judging – Can judge at any Level Event. Cannot be Head Judge at A-Level or ERC Events.”

          Reason = bring it in line with reality and improving standards of Euro Rafting Champs events


      1. Captain’s meeting minutes – Eric

        Race Rule F.7 point c says “Event Organisers are to provide written minutes to all Captains at the end of all Captains Meetings, or as soon after the meeting as possible. Minutes should highlight any important Event details that were discussed during the Captains Meeting, and any deviations or changes from earlier decisions.” and point f says “All Captains  must sign the register on entering the meeting and ensure that they get a copy of the meeting minutes afterwards”

        Change to “All Captains  must sign the register on entering the meeting and ensure that they can either take a printed version of the meeting minutes or can access the online version get a copy of the meeting minutes afterwards”

        Reason = often teams are forgetting to take the minutes or they are not written up in time, online version means they can access it any time.


      1. Minimum age for youth and masters at non A and B level events – Australian Rafting Federation
      • Rule B.6. says ”Competitors may participate in an IRF Event in the calendar year in which they turn 15 years old, but not earlier. “

        Add:If  the event is a C or D level event and the national federation overseeing the event has approved that paddlers of a younger age may participate then this is acceptable. But only as long as all potential participants have been informed at least 2 months before the event and the river course is age appropriate.

        Reason = some federations allow younger (down to 12) paddlers to compete at their events so as to grow the youth section. Some federations allow 13 year olds or 39 year olds to compete in the NS events so that they will be at the right age when they compete at ERC or WRC the following year. This brings the rule in line with reality.

        Rule B.10. says: “Masters Division: A Competitor is eligible to compete in the Masters Division beginning the calendar year when he/she turns 40. All Competitors shall be of the prescribed age in order to compete in the Masters Division.”

        Add: For National Selection purposes, event organisers/ national federations may choose to allow participants in the year they turn 39 so that the participant can be the right age for an A or B level event the following year; but only as long as all potential participants have been informed at least 2 months before the event

        Reason =  Some federations would like to allow 39 year olds to compete in their NS events so that they will be at the right age when they compete at ERC or WRC the following year.


      1. Head-to-Head (H2H) – adjustments to include new format:

      Rules stay the same from point a to point h, then add in:

      • i. Set up is four (4) obstacles at a minimum. Obstacles are to be very easy to Judge (ideally thwart shaped buoy, anchored to river bottom). All obstacles must be set up for upstream negotiation; at least two (2) on the left and two (2) on the right.
      • j.  Negotiation of obstacles
        • teams can choose which obstacles they wish to navigate but must pass one (1) on the right and one (1) on left, and all are to be negotiated upstream.
        • teams can touch obstacles, but the raft must pass around, not over. i.e. all raft members must be between obstacle and bank.
      • k. Penalty for not negotiating obstacle correctly, for paddle to raft, paddle to person and unsporting behavior to the other participating team is not advancing to next round. And no penalties will be given unless there is a protest from the opposing team which then gets upheld by Judge or video, or if there is damage to the raft.
      • l.   Starting positions and lanes – add in
        • ii. Starting position – rafts are to be pointing up stream, ideally one on each side of the course/river, as even as possible.

      Rest is the same.

      Rule F.3.”Intentional contact between paddle to paddle, paddle to person, paddle to raft, or person to person is illegal.  Intentional raft to raft contact (ramming) is allowed. Penalty per infringement: 10 seconds.”

      Move from Rule F – “General Rules for Competition” to Rule E – “Downriver”

      Reason = this is now only place this rule is relevant.“

    • #17154

      I agree with the proposed changes in 8 to 12

    • #17170
      Tim Marshall

      In 12,
      Do we need to have the rafts pointing up stream? I think this should be an option but not compulsory.
      Minimum of 4 obstacles set up, minimum of 2 turns made, if more, they must be in even numbers ie; 2, 4, 6 … even left to right turns ie: 1 turn each river side, or 2 turns each river side etc…
      What if poles are used? We need a line or two on this.. poles can be touched but not purposefully thrown or displaced ? fine line here but may be needed to be talked about.

      Otherwise happy with all rest of rule changes
      TiM M

    • #17182
      Bert Kanora

      I agree for changes 8 – 10 … 12

      For 9 (L A.2.c.i) why not the transparency …
      ‘Judging – Can judge at any Level Event. Cannot be Head Judge at A-Level or B-Level
      Events’, instead of ‘A-Level or ERC Events’ this to improve every B-Level Event, and
      not only the ERC’s.

    • #17200

      Hi All,

      I agree with changes 8-12 except for some of the wording and conditions for 12 (the new H2H format).

      I am very much in favor of revising the H2H and have witnessed several races using the new format that confirms that this is the way to go. As we have seen, the addition of buoys makes the start far less important than it is in the current format where we all know that the team that gets ahead at the start is almost guaranteed to win. A predictable outcome creates a boring race and the H2H should be anything but boring! Worse, the outcome can often be pre-determined by minor differences in the lanes – which are almost impossible to make exactly the same despite tremendous efforts at testing and adjustments.

      In my opinion, there are a number of things that need to be made more clear when finalizing the rules for the new format – to accommodate translation into other languages, and in anticipation of questions/protests.

      – I think the H2H penalties that are proposed here are a bit confusing and do not cover enough contingencies.

      – I like the idea of an upstream start (the ones I have witnessed added an additional element that helped to even out uneven lanes) but with the addition of buoys, I no longer think this type of start is necessary to help create a fairer race – so I think it should be optional rather than mandatory.

      – For A and B Level events, I think that it should be required to use buoys rather than other types of obstacles. My reason is that in our top level events, the obstacles should be of a uniform type and design, and buoys are the simplest and easiest to judge thereby creating fewer probabilities for judge error or controversy.

      – For C and D Level Events, if buoys are not available, other obstacles (like slalom poles) may be used, but the rules and penalties will remain the same, adjusted slightly by the race Jury to conform to the characteristic of the obstacle.

      So based on the above, I suggest we make the following changes to this proposal:

      i. The H2H must include course obstacles consisting of a minimum of four (4) inflatable buoys.
      Note: For C and D Level Events, if inflatable buoys are not available they may be substituted with a different type of obstacle (i.e. slalom gate pole) that can be negotiated similarly.

      j. More than four (4) buoys can be placed on the course if added in multiples of two (2).

      k. Buoy Construction and Marking
      i. All buoys must be:
      1. constructed of a durable, puncture resistant material and fitted with a sturdy inflation valve
      2. large and buoyant enough so that rafts are unable to submerge the buoy
      3. of a highly visible color
      ii. Buoys may be marked with sponsorship messages or similar if the markings do not interfere with the buoy’s visibility or confuse its purpose

      l. Buoy Positioning
      i. Buoys must be distributed equally on the left and right sides of the course.
      ii. each buoy must be positioned to allow for reasonable upstream navigation.
      iii. each buoy must be securely and safely anchored.
      iv. each buoy must be easy to judge.

      m. Buoy Negotiation
      i. A buoy is negotiated correctly when the raft rounds the buoy (360° turn), passing upstream between the buoy and the river bank.
      ii. Teams may choose which buoys they wish to negotiate.
      iii. Teams must negotiate a minimum of one (1) right buoy and one (1) left buoy.
      iv. A team may make multiple attempts to negotiate a buoy correctly.
      v. Buoys may be touched by any part of the raft or team.
      vi. The raft must not pass over the buoy (submerge the buoy) during the negotiation.
      vii. Intentional raft-to-raft contact (ramming) with the opposing team is allowed when attempting to negotiate a buoy, or at any other time during the race unless otherwise instructed by race officials.

      n. H2H Penalties
      Penalty points will be added as seconds to the total time of the Team’s H2H run.
      Teams late for the start may forfeit their run.

      i. Fifty (50) Point Penalty
      1. Negotiating only one (1) buoy correctly.

      ii. One Hundred (100) Point Penalty
      1. Negotiating no buoys correctly.

      iii. Disqualification from the H2H round
      1. Intentional contact between paddle-to-paddle, paddle-to-person, paddle-to-raft, or person-to-person; or unsporting behavior.
      2. The above penalty (n.iii.1) will be applied ONLY under the following conditions:
      a) a protest must be made by the opposing team in accordance with standard protest procedures.
      b) the above protest must be supported by a Judge who witnessed the infraction, or by video evidence.
      c) Video evidence must clearly show the infraction to the satisfaction of the


      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by Joe.
    • #17224
      Deb Cook

      Agree with changes, although I also think ustream facing as a start for new h2h should be optional
      Also agree wording and penalties need more clarification / work

    • #17266
      Martin Prochazka

      Hi all,

      I agree with: 8,10 – proposals
      9.proposal:I don´t agree with proposal change in rule A.2.c.i Why put only ERC. The rules should be for all continental championships same as guarantee high level of sport worldwide.
      11.proposal: It is again about “national” nomination. It fully up national federation, how set up rules for their selection. It is not necessary put to the IRF rules.
      12.proposal: I agree with new format H2H. The start position upstreams I see as wrong. Still is the race on time and starting upstreams is not see well.

    • #17269

      Agree woth all proporsals for 8 to 12
      Also agree with that the upstream facing as a start should be optional
      And, also agree with Joe’s indications


      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by Johana.
    • #17276
      Stan Hajeks

      Stan Hajeks
      8. Course setters – for me is the best committee with one course designer, one member of Jury ( Head Judge) and one men voted by captains. Not more.
      9.The folowing proposal discriminates against the European continent. Must be for all continental championships or for anyone.
      Change to “Judging – Can judge at any Level Event. Cannot be Head Judge at A-Level or ERC Events.” The European chief Judges shall not be discriminated against other continents !
      10. – agree
      11. – we don´t need to do this change. We have cleary the Age categories defined.
      as says Martin : It is again about “national” nomination. It fully up national federation, how set up rules for their selection. It is not necessary put to the IRF rules
      12. I agree with new format H2H. The start position upstreams I see not necessary.
      12 – NOTICE – Rule F.3.”Intentional contact between paddle to paddle, paddle to person, paddle to raft, or person to person is illegal. WHAT IS ILLEGAL ? WHAT IS AREA FOR PADDLING ? Every competitor knows that it’s just the difference between a paddle held more vertically and the paddle held more horizontally. Who has a god’s eye that it recognizes ?

    • #17341
      IRF admin

      So is everyone happier with the H2H rules as proposed by Joe compared to the ones proposed at the start of the discussion?

    • #17342
      IRF admin

      The reason only ERC is put in 9 is that our ERC is practically on the same level as a WRC as far as standards and this is to ensure the standard is increased to reflect that. Whereas it is extremely hard for Panamerica and Australasia to get Chief Judges to their events, they hardly ever hold continental champs in those regions due to the high costs for teams to get to the events. They usually hold World Cup events which are open to any teams.

      Improving the quality of the Judging at ERC level had been a big request by many – this is the aim of this change.

    • #17343
      Pieter Bekkers

      I Agree with 8-9-10-11
      12. I propose the H2H run max. 90sec. and two runs, one starting right and one starting left. The best time is the winner.
      With the propose with 4 obstakels is very difficult for clear run for both teams, and on a natural river it’s very difficult.
      I’m not agree with 12.

    • #17344
      IRF admin

      My personal view as far as “intentional contact” is the same as Stan – I think this is very subjective and dependent on the Judge at that position. One Judge says it is intentional another says not. I’d like to see a way of reducing the influence that Judges have on results where their decisions could vary depending on who is standing there and how they interpret the action made.

    • #17345
      Goran Lolic

      Hi All,

      11.proposal:Do not agree
      12.proposal:partly agree, do not agree with fact that we need to wait for teams protest to give some penalties to another team. If I understood correctly.
      If we are going to change some discipline then we should be able to judge all potential penalties and mistakes.


    • #17351

      I agree to all except 12…i prefer to abstain……


    • #17353

      On 12 (judging intentional/unintentional contact) …

      To do something with intent, means that the paddler PURPOSELY chose the action – they CHOSE to illegally interfere with the opposing team.

      A judge is not a mind-reader – he/she cannot 100% know what a paddler is thinking. A video can show you an action – but it cannot look into someone’s head. So any decision a judge makes about intentional or unintentional contact, is totally based on their opinion (subjective).

      It is not a perfect solution, but I understand why this change was proposed.
      Subjective calls are the worst kind – better to avoid them totally or to at least have them backed up with confirming opinions.

      If the ‘injured’ team doesn’t protest, then the contact was probably not injurious, interfering or noticable… much more likely to be unintentional contact.

      If the ‘injured’ team protests AND a judge saw the contact and his/her opinion is it was intentional, then it is much more likely to be intentional illegal contact.

      Perhaps the better solution is to create a more black and white definition of what we mean by ‘intentional’ contact so that judges can make a more objective decision. Like Stan suggests – a paddle held more horizontally than vertically, etc. At a certain point though, we are picking threads on the rules, tidying up one issue only to unravel another problem with the change. I can go either way on this one.

      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by Joe.
      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by Joe.
    • #17359
      IRF admin

      Comment coming in from the Athlete’s Committee in regard to the new H2H format:

      “- The majority are in favour of changing the format but just want clarification of the rules. Rules currently being formed by the S&C Com are looking positive.
      – Pointing up stream to start adds another skill to practise. This is a good thing.
      – For world events the organisers should communicate months prior which start they are using so teams have confidence in what they are practising.
      – Missing: having a judge on every gate/buoy. And ideally filming by the organizers so the athletes can use it as a resource in case of doubt.”

    • #17360

      I agree with the Athletes Com suggestion that judges positioned at each buoy must be mandatory. This is implied, but it needs to be specifically stated in the rules so that there is no doubt. This is where almost all of the contact is likely to take place, plus a judge must be at the buoy to determine if it was circled correctly without error. At the pre-worlds in Argentina, we had one or two judges stationed at each of the 4 buoys on the course – worked great. I also agree with their suggestion that official video be shot at each buoy if possible.

    • #17362
      John Anicito

      I agree with changes 8-11
      11. yes the ages are clearly set in IRF rules and each country can do what they want but for countries like USA who use the IRF rules as guidelines, this would help clarify for us.

      As for 12.
      I like the new rules Joe wrote up. I don’t think we need to have upstream starts for H2H. the new format has made many changes already and this is not necessary, plus “starts” is a big part of the excitement of each event and with the upstream start we lose.

      As for Buoy’s, we should be trying to use BIG buoy’s that can not be run over and easier to judge.
      John A.

    • #17377

      Concerning my answer on rule .12…i am not against….it is more a question that i have never assisted to any event with the new H2H format…so hard for me to give my opinion.


    • #17381

      I agree with all the points and completely agree with Joe’s explanations.
      But I also agree with Martin —–> 12.proposal: I agree with new format H2H. The start position upstreams I see as wrong. Still is the race on time and starting upstreams is not see well.
      I am sure that from the very beginning it becomes so that the second position will have an advantage. In the interests of the team there will be a desire to become a second boat.
      When the first boat takes the first buoy, the second boat will strike from above, and pull the first boat out of the trajectory.
      I still do not have a solution, I only foresee the problem.
      Perhaps, after the start of the team, rivals just sit and wait for someone to go further.
      You do not think so?
      Forgive me for my Engli

    • #17400
      IRF admin

      The time for input about these proposed rule changes is now closed.

      According to the above discussions the Race Rules will be updated and the updated version will be sent to S&C Com members who participated in the discussion for the final approval.

      Thanks all!

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