Sports rafting competitions are held in four disciplines – Sprint, Head-to-Head (H2H), Slalom and Downriver. The points earned for each discipline determine the final standings. Depending on the format of the competition, the rafting teams consist of 4 or 6 paddlers +1 substitute.
The goal is to go through the course in the shortest possible time. This is an extremely strength demanding discipline, which also requires excellent “read” of the river and perfect harmony between the team members in the boat. Each competition starts with this discipline, and its duration is between 2 to 3 minutes depending on the length and complexity of the selected course. The Sprint contributes 10% of the total ranking points.
Head to head (H2H)
Without a doubt, this is the most entertaining discipline for the viewers . Two boats are placed alongside at the start, and the team with better which has better timing from the Sprint discipline has the right to choose his starting position. The goal is to reach the finish line before the opponent. The perfect H2H competitor has more than one line of racing which allows multiple overtaking and unexpected changes during the race, which lasts between 2 – 3 minutes. The H2H discipline contributes 20% of the total ranking points.
The most technical and complex discipline, requiring excellent “reading” of the river, perfect harmony between the team members, great physical strength and a pinch of luck. The goal is to overcome 12 downstream and upstream gates in the shortest possible time. There is a penalty of points added to the team’s timing for touching, missing or deliberate move of the poles of the gates. Each team has two runs of the course and the faster run counts for points. The slalom contributes 30% of the total ranking points.
The longest in time (about 1 hour) and most demanding discipline of all requiring boundless energy, stamina and motivation for victory. The starting order is determined by the current standing, and the boats start one by one with a starting interval of 30 seconds or 1 minute in groups consisting of 5 boats. The course should be selected so as to provide a variety of obstacles and at the same time, it should be safe enough for the competitors. The downriver discipline contributes to the overall ranking by the largest number of points – 40%, which makes it the most important discipline in a rafting competition.
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