Organisers Guide

Running a wildwater race

Ok great!, you have decided to run a wildwater race. So how is this going to work?

Step 1 – Submit Your Event

Decide on your event date(s). You will need to prepare a risk assessments  for your events – the download will give details of this. We will need a promotional image or a poster – landscape format is preferred, using a bold image and keeping the amount of text down looks best on the website. You will be able to provide all the text information you need so there is no need to add lots to the poster.

If you are not ready to put together the risk assessments or feel you need some assistance, you can submit your event at this point and we will create a provisional calendar entry for you.

You will need to decide what you wish to charge for seniors and juniors, whether you want to allow online entries, if you wish to allow entries on the day and if you want to allow online payments. To support online payments we will need banking details to send you the fees, this does not need to be provided electronically – if you prefer we can do this through another channel.

Step 2 – Entries Roll In!

If you have chosen online entries, for each entry on the website you will receive an email with all of the details of the entry. There are options in the entry form that allow the athlete to provide additional information that you may need to take into consideration when preparing the start list (e.g. they wish to compete in two classes).

If you have chosen to use online payments, these payments will be made directly to the central WWR account. When the online entries close at Midnight the Sunday before the event, the monies will be sent to you using the banking details you provided when registering the event.

Step 3 – Entries Close, prepare the start list

Prepare the start list. If you are using the Race Control system, this will automatically check the membership details to ensure they are correct and current. Send the start list to It will then be published alongside your other event documents – so it will be visible in the calendar.

Step 4 – Running your Race

When you first run a race or run a race at a new venue there is a lot to sort out and think about e.g. risk assessments, access, facilities etc.  BUT once you have got it sorted the first time, your next race or the race there next year will be much easier and quicker.

The WWR Committee has put together a range of documents to guide you.  Do not be put off by how elaborate or extensive they look.  Races can be run with two watches, two people and pen and paper if you have to.

The documents are not exhaustive, they do not fit every race, location, risk or situation they are a guide and you must and should adapt them to make them fit your race, circumstances and available resources.  Of course there are some key elements you should not skimp on and these include:

  • Risk assessment
  • Insurance
  • Safety before, during and after race
  • Changes to race safety due to weather/flooding etc.

But in the main despite the plethora of forms etc. running a race can be relatively simple and enjoyable. If you need to refer to the rules – they can be downloaded below.

Racing Rules

TitleHitsDate modified
WWR Rules 2023 v1.01179322-12-2022
ICF 2022_wildwater_canoeing_rule_change21325-04-2022
WWR Rules 2021 v1.03193931-03-2021
WWR Rules 2021 (Draft 1.00)26211-11-2020
os1 WWR rules (2019/2020)72001-04-2021

British Canoeing also publishes some very comprehensive documentation, some of which is included or referred to in the WWR organisers’ documentation.  None of the WWR Organiser guidelines are intended to replace any British Canoeing guidance or procedures.  The WWR organiser documents aim to introduce issues and point the way to more detailed guidance if applicable and/or give some specific Wild Water Racing examples rather than some of the more generic British Canoeing documents.

Also whilst you may have planned and organised well before your race be prepared to have a contingency plan, which will mainly mean you have to be flexible and adaptable, and if things are really bad, be prepared to cancel for the safety of paddlers, no matter how much it hurts paddlers and you/your club.  Some examples of situations which may result in a need to change plans are:

  • Weather rougher than anticipated
  • Water levels too high or low
  • Your support cancels
  • Computer battery runs out or no connections or printer will not print
  • AND a true story, a tree has blocked the river and no one checked beforehand so racing paddlers either limbo danced under it or had a very steep and muddy portage in and out of the river.  This has happened in more than one race and is potentially problematic to a paddler in the wrong place.


Have back up plans

So with all this in mind here is a list of what is available to assist you in running the perfect Wildwater Race.  The documents in most cases consist of a blank or partially completed proforma (where actions/issues would be relevant to any race) and in most cases some real race documents completed to give you an idea.  Please adapt/change them as you need to for your unique race and only use the ones you want to, you are not obligated to use all of them.

Keep a checklist

It’s easy to miss something when you are multi-tasking. Having a checklist will help you keep track of tasks.

Step 4 – Publish Results

Results need to be sent to as soon as possible after the event. The provisional results will be published initially, followed by the full ratified results after scrutiny has been completed.

Step 5 – Prepare for the next one!

Once you have run one event, the next one is much easier. The sooner you get your next event submitted the better, as we can publicise it and paddlers can make plans about which events they wish to attend in the coming year.

Organiser Resources

Please note that the detailed organiser documents are being updated to reflect the new processes and capabilities of the website. The original documents are still available in the downloads section for reference.