Race Rules


race details

Tere ki tai

All Outrigger Canoes and Surfskis shall start in a Le Mans formation off the beach at 9.45 am. We will for the 2020 race, in all likelihood, hold the start (and finish) at one of the Northern ocean beaches of Waiheke Island e.g. Palm Beach. We will keep you updated. Direction, whether clockwise or counter clockwise, will be decided upon the day to make the race as enjoyable as possible for paddlers i.e. with as great a downwind component as we can forecast. Race briefing will be at the race venue at 9.25 am for the main race, and at the earlier time of 7.45 am for SUP/non competitive wake ama race (This earlier race commences at 8 am so as to give these teams the ability to complete the event within the 8 hour time limit, and also finish around about the same time as the elite paddlers. At least 1 member from each team is to attend briefings.

Your team, and it’s members paddling the racing craft, may strategise to give the Island a wide berth or keep close to the coast. It is the decision of your team, or team leader, when to substitute a paddler in and out of your racing craft during the circumnavigation. 

Important:  The paddler, who has finished his leg, and is swimming back to board the support boat may be exhausted. For safety reasons and to lessen risk, we require that the support boat has, not only put his motor into neutral gear, but also turned the motor off when the (in the water) returning paddler is within 8 m of the vessel.

There will be one lead official boat and also two other official boats that will be roaming and monitoring the race. Your support boat and these roaming official boats will be there to support you, in case of an emergency. 

race rules

Tere ki tai

  1. As a competitive relay team, full circumnavigation of Waiheke Island is required to be completed within 6 hours and 15 minutes from start time i.e. 4 pm. This deadline of 4 pm also applies to SUPs and novice teams that choose to start at 8 am, giving them 8 hours to complete.

  2. Your escort boat shall not provide wake for the racing craft. If there is evidence of wake assistance from your teams support boat (or intentional assistance from any other motorised boat) notified to the race organisers, your team will not be disqualified, however, it will not be eligible for the cash prizes on offer. The team, and the individuals in it, are still in the running for the spot prizes, and your times will still be recorded and posted with a note of wakeriding included in these results.

  3. Any team that utilises more paddlers than the number of paddlers in the category it is entered into, shall be disqualified. Their times will not be recorded or posted.

  4. Across Matiatia Bay (where the passenger ferries come into, and depart from Waiheke Island for Auckland) there shall be no substitution of paddlers for 1 km, through this stretch of water. Additionally for 800 m either side of the route taken by the Kennedy Point vehicle ferry, this rule also applies. This is very close to the start/finish area. We ask the support boat skipper and paddler in the racecraft to be particularly vigilant through these passages.

  5. Etiquette and courtesy will prevail. Any racecraft that is ahead of another one, has the right of way, and the trailing competitor shall give right of passage to the lead craft at all times, unless he/she noses in front.


Support boat and skipper requirements and obligations

Each team can organise their own support boat at their own cost which will escort their chosen watercraft for the whole circumnavigation. This support boat should preferably have an enclosed area for paddlers who have just come off the water to shelter in. It shall be seaworthy and rated to carry the number of persons aboard less the paddler in the racing craft . At least one non paddling passenger is obligatory for a 2 man relay team. The skipper and his support boat will be assessed by our scrutineer at the support boat briefing for capability and seaworthiness. All requirements for recreational boats, as advised by Maritime NZ must be met, e.g. Number of lifejackets, alternative form of propulsion, anchor, chain and warp etc. You will also be required to carry an operational VHF radio. At the race briefing you will be informed of the channel that will be allocated to "Te Heke" race organisers and support boats for communication throughout the race.

We can organise a support boat to escort your craft. If it is solely designated to your craft, the cost will be $550. If it is shared between two teams the cost per team will be $340 per team.

We advise that you have prepared adequate food and drink for your team and the skipper for the duration of the race, and that you also carry adequate towels, dry and warm clothing, blankets/foil, and a first aid kit, and of course adequate fuel. The paddlers will be signing a liability waiver with regards to their participation in this race, therefore any medical events that may occur will be the sole responsibility of paddler concerned, or his support boat crew and skipper.

The support boat may drop a passenger or team member off at a safe location of the Waiheke coast if the health and wellbeing of this person is of concern. Please communicate this intention to Race HQ and we will arrange for this person to be picked up by an emergency vehicle, or one of officials, if the individual is not in immediate danger with regards to their health, and cared for as seen fit, as soon as we can make or way to the portion of the coast where the paddler has been dropped off. If the person is in immediate danger, the spare passenger should be dropped off to accompany the distressed person.

We will allow 2 member and 3 member teams to share a support boat (and therefore save costs) only if we the race organisers are informed of who the actual teammembers are so as that we may assess their suitability based on performance criteria, to be matched with another team

Important:  A paddler, who has finished his leg, and is coming back aboard the support boat, may be exhausted. For safety reasons and to lessen risk, we require that the support boat has, not only put his motor into neutral gear, but also turned the motor off when the (in the water) returning paddler is within 8 m of the vessel

Conditions for postponement and refund

The team leader stated on the entry form will be contacted between 72 and 48 hours prior to the start time (between 9.45 am February 18 and 9.45 am February 19 ) if the weather and sea conditions are forecast to be too risky for paddlers, or for their support boat to complete the circumnavigation of the Island. One of our parameters will be if there are wind gusts over 19knots (35km/hr) forecast. Our other will be the sea conditions.

In this scenario, we intend to postpone the race by 24 hours, (to 9.45 am, the following day, Sunday 24 February, or if this day is also not conducive to a safe event, we will postpone the race until the Saturday March 2nd. Participants may request a refund if the race is delayed by one week and they cannot make this date, but not if it is going to be held the next day, Sunday February 24th.