7 -10 July 2021 - THE 60TH BERG!
The Berg River Canoe Marathon

Rules 2021

Covid compliance

To ensure fully compliance with the Covid-19 protocols in association with Canoeing South Africa, every entrants needs to strictly follow the following procedures;
– Strictly one seconder per paddler is permitted. They will be issued with a wristband and must wear that wristband every day. WRISTBANDS WILL BE CHECKED AT EVERY MAJOR SECONDING POINT.
– No spectators or family members supporting paddlers are allowed at any point on the race.
– Each paddler will get an SMS advising them of their starting batch every day, and an arrival time half an hour before the start. PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED ARRIVAL TIME. Batches will be available on the website from Wednesday morning and daily batches posted the evening before each stage.
– Vehicles will park in the designated parting area and will drop off their paddlers. Ideally paddlers should be dressed in their paddling kit. They should get their boats, paddles, PFD, juice and food and leave the parking area and move to the check-in area and wait to be called to the water.
– Paddlers MUST wear a mask or a buff covering their nose and mouth from the moment you arrive and s\leave your vehicle right up to the time you are called onto the water for your start, at which stage you may remove the mask, place it in your PDF or a suitable alternative pocket, or pull your buff down onto you neck. Once you have finished each stage, you must replace your mask and wear it until  you reach your vehicle.
– Once you have finished each stage of the race please take your boat to the overnight boat pound, and, as soon as possible, return to your vehicle, change out of your paddling kit, and depart from the finish venue.
– Hand sanitisers will be available every day of the race. Please use these regularly.
– Please maintain all social distancing throughout the race.
– Please be aware that we cannot allow any gathering or socialising at the event venues. Please co-operate with this.

Registration on Day One

– On Day One paddlers will collect their goodie bags outside the Paarl Canoe Club and may return to their vehicles. Stickers must be affixed to the race boat and paddle blades.

Slower paddlers

On stages where slower paddlers are started ahead of the race leaders and seeded paddlers, the slower paddlers must be mindful of the expected approach of the faster paddlers, and to make way for the faster paddlers to pass. The faster paddlers must also make their presence known when approaching a slower paddler by asking for space to pass.

ICF and CSA Rules.

1.1    The International Canoe Federation Marathon Racing Rules and the CSA Rules and Regulations will apply.
1.2    In the event of the rules set out below being in conflict with the aforesaid International Canoe Federation Marathon Racing Rules and the CSA Rules and Regulations, the rules set out below will apply.

Race classes

The competitive race is open to K1 kayaks only.
K2 entries are welcome but they will start in a later batch and will not be eligible for prize money.
The relay event has been discontinued.
Only competitors in the individual event will qualify for class podium positions and  top 5, top 10 positions, etc.
The main class categories will be Open (everyone) and Ladies.  The following additional sub-classes will be recognised for both Open and Ladies teams:
Veterans turning 40 to 49 during the year.
Masters turning 50 to 59 during the year.
Grandmasters turning 60 to 69 during the year.
Great Grandmasters turning 70 and above during the year.
U18s turning 18 during the year.
U23s aged 19 to 23 during the year.


All entrants must be A Grade paddlers according to CSA rules and regulations. (i.e. completed 6 B-or C-Grade races at any time).
All entrants must be registered with their unions and be in possession of a valid CSA registration number (with the exception of foreign paddlers).
Entrants must be fifteen years or older at the start of the race.
Sufficient buoyancy in front of (min 10 liters) and behind (min 10 liters) the cockpit is compulsory.
CSA approved kayaking jackets will be compulsory for all paddlers.
Competitors are warned that the Berg is raced over dangerous terrain and by entering the race competitors are exposing themselves to certain risks. Neither the Western Cape Canoe Union nor any of the organisers or sponsors shall be responsible for any illness, injury or death to a competitor or seconder or for any loss suffered by a competitor or seconder as a result of competing in the marathon.
Competitors are reminded that they have, either in writing or electronically at the time of registering on the entry portal, signed an indemnity form absolving the organisers from all liability in the event of loss, injury or death.

Safety Cut-Off Times

The Safety Cut-Off Times on the Berg River Marathon will be at the following places and times each day. The paddlers must have departed from the bridge by that time or they will be requested to leave the river/race:
Day 1 – Hermon bridge 15h30
Day 2 – Train bridge 15h30
Day 3 – Klipheuwel low level bridge 15h00
All paddlers must reach the finish of the days racing by 6.00pm on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 in order to be allowed to continue the race. The final cut-off for Day 4 will be 3.30pm at the finish of the race in Velddrif.
A decision to change the cut-off times based on river conditions will be determined before the start of each day by the Safety Officer and paddlers will be notified of such a decision.
Sweeps and safety officers have the right to remove paddlers who they determine are unable to continue racing safely at any stage of the event, or are unable to reach the cut-off points in time. The safety officer is also able to, at his sole discrection, change cut-off times as conditions change.


Entries are online only.  Please follow the links on the Berg Marathon website.
The closing date for normal entries is 24h00, Tuesday 15 June 2021. Late entries, with no guarantee of race apparel sizes will be taken until Wednesday 4 August.
Entry fees will not be reimbursed in the event of withdrawals after the closing date, or if the race is cancelled for any reason.
Entries through the Canoeing SA Paddler portal.


Paddlers will be seeded based on the latest available CSA ladder. There will no longer be a time trial.
Only paddlers in the team event will be seeded in the leading batches.
If numbers allow there will be a separate batch for ladies’ teams.
There will again be a separate legends batch starting after the A batch.  The following paddlers qualify as legends.
Any previous winner of the open or ladies’ race.
Any paddler who has completed 20 Berg marathons.
Any paddler who has completed one of the first five Berg marathons.
Any paddler who qualifies to be seeded in one of the leading batches may not start in the Legends batch.

Race format

The marathon for all entrants will start on Thursday 5 August 2021 at  Market Street Bridge in Paarl. It will be raced over four stages covering 240km to finish on Saturday, 8 August 2021 in Velddrif.
The First Day will finish at Delsma (52 km)
The Second Day will start at Delsma and finish at Bridgetown (56 km).
The Third Day will start at Bridgetown and finish at Zoutkloof (75 km).
The Fourth Day will start at Zoutkloof and finish at Velddrif (57 km).
The organisers reserve the right to change the course of each day should it not be possible to paddle some parts of the river because of low water or other reasons.
All competitors must check-in at their designated pound 15 min before their start time each day. Competitors may not enter the water until instructed to do so.


Paddles may be replaced at any time.
Boats may not be replaced and any paddler doing so will be disqualified.
Canoes must be numbered in accordance with CSA Regulations. Numbers must not be obscured by any items fixed to the boats.
Interference by men in the ladies’ race, where ladies are in contention for prizes, is not allowed. See specific rules for ladies teams below.
Portaging is only permitted around obstacles. The shortest route must be followed at all times. Paddlers must stay in the main river bed on the last day unless the race officials are forced to change the rule due to flood conditions.
All competitors will be bound by the branding regulations of the event. Full details will be handed out at registration. If a bib is supplied it is compulsory to wear it at all times during the race. Your bib must be placed horizontally across your chest and secured by the four safety pins provided.
Any competitor retiring from the race must advise the organisers.
No outside assistance of any kind is permitted, except in an emergency. Seconds are not allowed to carry boats or paddles around obstacles. Paddlers who require this rule to be relaxed on medical grounds must lodge an application with the race organisers before the start of the race.

Protests and appeals

A protest made during a competition relating to an incident in the race must be made in writing and within 30 minutes of completing the course, and be accompanied by a fee of R50 which shall be refunded if the protest is upheld.
The Competition Committee shall decide on matters where a protest have been made and where the race rules have been broken during the competition.
The Competition Committee may disqualify or penalize any competitor who behaved improperly or who, by his conduct or speech shows contempt towards the officials, other competitors or onlookers.
Appeals against any decision of the Competition Committee should be made in writing, with the reasons for the appeals and lodged with the Race Jury not later than 30 minutes after the competitor or his or her manager has been informed of the decision.  A fee of R50 must accompany the appeal, which will be refunded if the appeal is upheld.
The race Jury shall hear any appeals which may be received and settle any disputes that may arise as a result of decisions made by the Competition Committee.
Decisions of the Race Jury are final and not subject to appeal.

Specific race class rules – Women

Women are allowed to ride slip of male paddlers but interference in the top ladies race by stronger paddlers in an attempt to influence the outcome of the race is not allowed and may lead to time penalties or disqualification.
On day one the women will start in their own, separate batch, being batch 3, behind the Legends Batch.
On day two women who qualify on time will start in the elapsed time start. The rest of the women start in the following batches according to their times on the first day.
On day three and four women will start in batches according to their accumulated time.

Amendments to the race rules.

The organisers have the right to:
Amend or add to these rules at any stage.
Take appropriate disciplinary action against any competitor in breach of these rules.
Accept or reject any entry.

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