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All paddlers are expected to participate in the spirit of the event. You will be disqualified if, in the Race Director’s opinion, you engage in any unnecessary physical contact or unsporting conduct.

All paddlers are required to wear a SUP leash, high-vis race shirt and numbered race bib for the Distance and Sprint races.

PFDs are not a mandatory requirement for SUP paddling in Northland. Nevertheless, for maximum safety, racers are encouraged to wear a PFD suitable for racing, such as a beltpack inflatable PFD.

Paddlers are required to wear their race numbers on the front and back of their chosen race bib/shirt/singlet. These numbers MUST remain on the individual throughout the event. No paddler shall be recorded as a finisher unless wearing their number as they cross the finish line.


A paddler can be withdrawn from any race at any time at the discretion of the Race Director, safety officer, Surf Life saver or other race officials, whose decision is final. There will be no refunds for paddlers who are withdrawn or disqualified from a race by race officials, under any circumstances.

All Distance race paddlers are advised to carry hydration and nutrition to combat fatigue and dehydration.

Paddlers who voluntarily withdraw from any race for any reason are responsible for informing the event and safety staff.

There will be no handicapped or early starting positions for any paddler.

The Long Distance Race

The 16km Long Distance Race is for paddlers who are competent at long distance paddling. The paddling may be technical in some areas if the winds are fresh or there is any significant swell running from N – E directions.  

In order to prevent the fleet becoming too spread out, which may cause issues with safety boats having to concentrate on the stragglers, the race officer reserves the right to shorten or adjust the course for the slower paddlers, if it is deemed necessary.  This will be based on the prevailing conditions, and will be notified at the safety briefing. It will be a decision made purely for safety reasons, but once it has been activated there will be no exceptions to this rule – paddlers who refuse to comply will be disqualified.

Paddlers who are not confident that they will be able to complete the full 16km course in a competitive time should consider competing in the 8km Distance Race instead.

1.   General Racing Rules

The rules for the 2019 NZ SUP Distance and Sprint Nationals are based on the International Surfing Association (ISA) SUP and Paddleboard Race Rules, published September 2012.

Each entrant must sign the indemnity declaration on the Entry Form before the event. If under 18, the parent or guardian must sign.

The organizers reserve the right to reject or cancel any entry.

Race officials shall have the ultimate and final authority to remove a paddler from the race if the paddler is judged to be physically incapable of continuing the race without the risk of injury.

The Race Director will warn the paddlers of dangers that could occur and where all safety personnel will be located on the course during the pre-race briefing. Paddlers shall be mindful of the hand signals to be used if someone is injured, danger (paddle in the air, waving or erect) or in need of help but not injured (hand in the air).

Paddlers that witness any persons who may be in danger or difficulties during any race should assist or help get safety staff attention. Any paddler who knowingly ignores another person who is in trouble and by doing so clearly endangers their wellbeing will be disqualified from the event

Warm ups are not allowed on the race course during heats/ racing.

Racers must promptly clear the water when directed by race management.

A standard SUP single blade paddle must be used.

The paddler should be standing at all times whilst paddling. Each paddler must complete the course in a standing position on their board. Paddlers starting or remounting after a fall may take a maximum 5 strokes on their knees to gain momentum before standing up. This 5-stroke rule is to prevent paddlers attempting to achieve an advantage by paddling from a kneeling position in difficult conditions. Racers who contravene this rule will be given a 3 placing penalty per infraction at the conclusion of the race.

Paddlers must follow the designated set course, which will be supervised by water marshals and rescue staff.

No extraneous aids are allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, swim fins, engines, foils, wind catching devices [i.e.: sails, baggy clothing, etc.] and personal support teams. No twin or multi- hulled boards allowed (i.e.: catamarans, outriggers etc).

Wetsuits and hats (sun protection) are permissible.

Start and Finishing Procedures

Starts (for Distance Races)

The start will be a line between two flags identified at the race briefing

Paddlers will be called to the start area by the Race Director

Any disputes over starting position will be resolved by the Race Director

Finishes (For Distance races)

The finish line will be between flags at the end of a chute

Paddlers will be required to run up the beach and finish, carrying their paddles only

The paddlers’ finishing position will be recorded.

Boards may be left in the water

Starts and Finishes for the Sprint Races

The Sprint Race will have on-water starts and finishes, with starting sequences controlled by the committee boat. Racers will be called to order, and the start signal can then be given any time in the next 30 seconds.  Racers over the line will be required to resume the correct position behind the line. Persistent offenders will be given one warning, and then disqualified if they cross the line again.

Moving Mark or Buoy

The race director must notify paddlers of a moved mark or moving mark and either anchor the mark before the first paddler has reached the stated mark, or replace the moved or moving mark so all paddlers are racing a similar distance and shape of course.

Drafting Rules

A paddler is deemed to be drafting when within 1 meter of the tail, or sides of another competitor or any water craft on the racecourse for more than 10 seconds.

Competitors will be disqualified for drafting any water craft on the racecourse that is not in the same class or gender.

When there is a combined male and female start, either sex will be given 200 meters from the start to clear each others’ draft.

If the boundaries of a race course (i.e.; shoreline, bridges, vessels etc) do not realistically allow competitors to get outside of the drafting zone then no drafting rules will apply at that time.

A competitor must make an effort to exit the drafting zone as soon as the boundaries allow.


Protests must be filed by paddlers with the Race Director within 15 minutes of them finishing the race. Protests will be handled by the Race Director based on actual interference and impeding progress, fairness and sportsmanship criteria. It is recommended that a protestor brings with him or her, support in relation to the protest being lodged, including but not limited to corroboration / support from another paddler or independent witness.

Unsporting Conduct

Interference or any form of unsporting conduct is not allowable and will lead to disqualification. Paddlers must compete in a sporting fashion and avoid collision at all times. Specific violations include (but are not limited to):

  • Blocking (Whereby a leading paddler changes his line intentionally to block the path of an overtaking paddler)
  • Paddling Interference and/or deliberate physical contact
  • Purposely obstructing or interfering with another paddler
  • Causing damage or bodily harm to another paddler or their equipment
  • Use of profane language toward any persons or paddler during the event
  • Not rounding a mark or completing the specified course
  • Deliberate failure to avoid a collision
  • Persistent (more than 3) contacts with the board in front when drafting during the race.

Penalties for violations of the rules and/or unsportsmanlike conduct by a paddler that is listed in this document or that is posted by the race director on the Official notice board can include:

  • Relegation (paddler is penalised places in their race)
  • Disqualification from the race
  • Disqualification from the event.

Decisions of the Race Director will be final and binding.