COMPETITOR RULES AND SAFETY
1. a) A competitor must be standing while paddling once a race has started until crossing over the finish line. A competitor is allowed to sit, lay, or kneel to rest without making forward progress. If a competitor takes more than five strokes while sitting, laying, or kneeling once a race has started the competitor may be disqualified (DNF). The exception with this would be for safety reasons where a competitor needs to avoid or may be put into a potentially dangerous situation that would put them or others at risk of injury and or property damage. 2. b) A competitor shall only use the paddle, waves, and wind to propel the board forward during a race. No outside assistance drafting a vessel not in the race, in the form of a sail, clothing designed to catch wind, or any other speed device not considered the norm to SUP racing is allowed. Boat wakes are considered natural conditions unless a competitor is deemed as getting an unfair advantage over other competitors as with drafting (see drafting rule 4b). 3. c) The safety of all participants and competitions is the number one priority of the race director and the SSSR. Participants shall attend all competitor meetings and race postings to keep themselves informed with the typical conditions for the race and also the day of conditions to be expected. Race Directors need to warn the competitors of any dangers that could occur and where all safety personnel will be located on the course during the pre-race competitors meeting. Competitors shall be mindful of the hand signals to be used if someone is injured, in danger (paddle in the air, waving, or erect), or in need of help but not injured (hand in the air). All competitors should be mindful with any persons that may be in danger during the course of the race and should assist or help get safety staff attention.
Water Start- Participants will form a straight line perpendicular to the first buoy rounding and between two flagged points. Both feet in the water, one had on the board and paddle in the other hand. 5 stroke rule on knees, the paddler must stand up. Prone start, two feet in the water and one hand on the board.
Beach Finish- Racers and participants will exit the water and run to the finish line. Paddlers must carry their paddles with them across the stated finish line.
Competitive Class Categories:
Standup Paddleboard – 12’6″:
Any standup paddleboard 12’6″ long or shorter. Solo-Men/Women
Standup Paddleboard – 14′:
Any standup paddleboard longer than 12’6″ and up to 14′ long. Solo-Men/Women
Standup Paddleboard – UL – unlimited:
Any standup paddleboard longer than 14′. Solo-Men/Women
Prone – All Sizes
It is the competitor’s responsibility to act in a sportsmanlike fashion, avoid a collision at all times, and obey the rules as listed in the WPA rulebook and or listed by the race director. If there is contact or unsportsmanlike conduct during the time of a race that affects the outcome for any racer and they feel they have been penalized or interfered with that has caused the racer to lose position and or time beyond just giving a 360 penalty, the competitor that was deemed penalized must file a protest within 15 minutes of the last person to finish the race in question. In doing so, the competitor must inform the other party(s) that may have fouled them during the course of the race and also bring in any witnesses to attest to their claim and or protest to the race committee. All protest decisions are final upon the committee’s review, and the protest committee may rule in favor or overrule the protest.
Drafting is allowed. But not cool….
Violations of the rules and/or unsportsmanlike conduct by a competitor that is listed in the rulebook or that is posted by the race director (but not limited to: purposely obstructing or interfering with another competitor, causing damage or bodily harm to another competitor, use of profane language toward any persons or competitor while at a race, not rounding a mark, competing on the proper course, over the start line early, avoiding a collision, and adhering to the drafting rules). Any violation of the rules by a competitor shall be: one 360′ turn at the earliest and safest opportunity or for a major infraction, two 360′ turns at the earliest and safest opportunity. Once a competitor has completed their penalty turns they have cleared themselves of the stated penalty.
If a competitor does not feel that they were in the wrong they must declare to the other party that they feel they are not in violation and will continue on racing. However, they must be able to bring witnesses to the protest committee to state their case or they risk being given a Disqualification (DQ).
PFD Laws – SUP or Paddleboards Now Classified as Vessels
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has officially classified stand up paddleboards (SUP) as a vessel. With the rapid growth of SUP in recent years on the West and East coast of the United States, the Coast Guard recently classified “paddleboards”, meaning SUP’s as “vessels.” SUP, the newly classified vessels must comply with federal Navigation Rules and “carriage” requirements when operated beyond the limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area. Adult stand-up paddlers are required to have a USCG-approved life jacket also known as Personal Floatation Device (PFD, Type III) for each person, a sound signaling device (whistle), visual distress signal and navigation light (flashlight).
With this said there are many details with the new PFD law that most cities and harbors are now enforcing. All persons 12 years old and under are required to wear a USCG-approved life jacket or PFD however all operators over 12 years of age are only required to have a Type III adult USCG-approved life jacket or PFD either attached to the vessel or on the operators person. As stated in the first paragraph, SUP operators are not required to wear or have a PFD if you are in the surf line. So, SUP surfers are not required to wear a PFD. The WPA will be inquiring for an exception with the new PFD law with the USCG. The letter will state “if the stand up paddleboard operator is tethered (wearing a leash) to their board or vessel, can this be deemed as an alternate or replacement for having a PFD.” Most would feel that a stock (12’6”) or larger SUP board would be a better floatation device as long as the operator were attached to the vessel. How much easier would it be to administer CPR or first aid to a victim or person in need on a SUP board rather than in the water?
The same requirements apply to kayaks and other manually propelled vessels of similar size. Stand-up paddleboards are exempt from hull identification number and registration requirements. Please know that motor and large sail vessels have the right of way over paddleboards, kayaks and SUP crafts. It is your responsibility to know the rules of the water, so be safe considerate of other large vessels. The Harbor Patrol will continue to educate and enforce the new law with all stand-up paddlers.