The Berg River Canoe Marathon

Rules 2023

1. ICF and CSA Rules.
2. Entries.
3. Classes of kayaks.
4. Registration.
5. Seeding, batches and start times.
6. Race distance.
7. Safety.
8. Safety cut off times.
9. Accommodation.
10. Rules and Regulations.
11. Protests and appeals.
12. Amendments to the race rules.

1. 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 conflicting with the aforesaid International Canoe Federation Marathon Racing Rules and the CSA Rules and Regulations, the rules set out below will apply.

2. Entries.

2.1 Entries are online only. Please follow the links on the Berg Marathon website ( or go to the CSA Entry Portal

2.2 Early bird entries open in January and close at end of March. Normal entries open on 1 April and close on Monday 19 June. Late Entries will close Monday 1 July.

2.3 Entry fees may be carried over to the next year with proof of illness, or hospitalization.

2.4 The Race entry fee includes a Goody Bag, a T-shirt and lunch at the end of three days, a finishing medal and a meal at the prize-giving function in Velddrif.

2.5 Extra meal tickets for the prize-giving function in Velddrif can be purchased at the function at a cost of R150.00 for adults and R75.00 for children under 12.

2.6 Suppers and breakfast are not included in the entry fee, but are at the paddlers own cost and arrangement.

3 Classes of kayaks.

3.1 The race is open to K1 canoes only.

3.2 The class categories will be:

1 K1 JNR Men <18
2 K1 JNR Lady <18
3 K1 U23 Men >19
4 K1 U23 Lady >19
5 K1 SEN Men >24
6 K1 SEN Lady >24
7 K1 SV Men >35
8 K1 V Lady >35
9 K1 V Men >40
10 K1 SM Men >45
11 K1 M Men >50
12 K1 M Lady >50
13 K1 SG Men >55
14 K1 G Men >60
15 K1 GGM >65
16 K1 SGG Men >70
17 K1 Legends >75

4 Registration and check-in.

4.1 Registration will take place at the Paarl Canoe Club, on Wednesday 3 July 2024 from 07h00 to 08h30. It is compulsory for all to register prior to the start of the race.

4.2 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.

5 Seeding, batches and start times.

5.1 Day One – Paddlers will be seeded based on the latest available CSA ladder. Competitive paddlers who are competing for open or age category prizes/podiums must get the race director’s consent for any batch or starting time changes. Seeding will be communicated via SMS and at the start area on Day 1. Start times will be communicated via SMS for the following 3 days.

a. There will be a separate Legends Batch starting before the A batch at 08h45.

The following paddlers qualify as legends:
i. Any previous winner of the open or ladies race, who is no longer in contention for wining the Berg.
ii. Any paddler who has completed 20 Berg marathons.
iii. Any paddler who has completed one of the first fifteen (15) Berg marathons.
iv. Any paddler who is in the age category Super GM >70
NB: The Legends batch may not be used as an advantage to win the race.

b. A Slow Batch of paddlers who have a rating of 1.4%, or more will start in row 2 of the legends batch at 08h45.

c. The A Batch will be the top 30 paddlers, or any paddler with a 1.2% or less rating starting at 09h00. Any entrant who believes that he or she should be in the A batch must apply to the organizers / race officials with a proper motivation. Last year’s winner will start in row 0, in front of A batch.

d. All ladies will start in a separate batch after A batch at 09h10.

e. B Batch will consist of the next 30 paddlers, starting at 09h20.

f. C Batch will be the rest of the entries, starting at 09h30

g. The number of paddlers in each batch might be adjusted and will be determined by the number of entries received.

5.2 Day Two – Paddlers will be seeded according to their finishing time on day one.

a. Paddlers who finished within half an hour of the winner, or first 30 paddlers will start in elapsed time at 08h00

b. Batches will start in 5-minute intervals after elapsed time at 08h35.

c. The number of paddlers in each batch and starting time might be adjusted and will be determined by the river level and weather conditions.

5.3 Day Three – Paddlers will be seeded according to their overall time on day two.

a. Slow batch, paddlers who took longer than 1.4% of the winner’s time will start at 07h30

b. Mass start of the rest of the field at 08h00

c. The number of paddlers in the slow batch might be adjusted and will be determined by the river level and weather conditions.

5.4 Day Four – Paddlers will be seeded according to their overall time on day three

a. Slow batch, paddlers who took longer than 1.4% of the winner’s time will start at 07h30

b. Middle batch, rest of the field, will start at 08h00

c. Fast batch, first 30 paddlers, or any paddler finishing within 1.2% of the winner’s time will start at 08h15

d. The number of paddlers in each batch will be determined by the size of the field, the river level and weather conditions.

5.5 Jump Starts – After the 2nd warning from the starter, a paddler will receive a 30 second penalty for jumping the start (starting before the start signal)

6 Race distance.

6.1 The marathon for all entrants will start on Wednesday, 3 July 2024 at Market Street Bridge in Paarl.

6.2 It will be raced over 4 stages covering 240km to finish on Saturday, 6 July 2024 at the Carinus Bridge in Velddrif.

a. The First Day will start in Paarl and finish at Zonquasdrift (62 km)

b. The Second Day will start at Zonquasdrift and finish at Bridgetown (46 km).

c. The Third Day will start at Bridgetown and finish at Zoutkloof (76 km).

d. The Fourth Day will start at Zoutkloof and finish at Velddrif (56 km).

7 Safety.

7.1 All entrants must be A Grade paddler according to CSA rules and regulations. (i.e. completed 6 B-or C-Grade races at any time).

7.2 All entrants must be registered with their unions and be in possession of a valid CSA license (except for foreign paddlers).

7.3 Entrants must be fifteen years or older at the start of the race.

7.4 Sufficient buoyancy in front of and behind the cockpit (min 2 x 10 liters) is compulsory.

7.5 CSA approved kayaking jackets will be compulsory for all paddlers.

7.6 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 organizers 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 because of competing in the marathon.

7.7 It is the paddler’s responsibility to know the dangers on the river and have sufficient skills and have done enough preparation to manage these dangers safely.

7.8 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 organizers from all liability in the event of loss, injury, or death.

7.9 It is strongly recommended that paddlers take along a cell phone in a watertight pouch in case of emergency.

7.10 Officials reserve the right to take disciplinary steps at any time during the race.

7.11 The race officials and organizers reserve the right to prohibit juniors and certain paddlers from taking part in the marathon, on the mornings of the race, if conditions are not deemed to be safe for certain classes of paddler.

8 Safety cut off times.

8.1 The Safety checks and cut off times on the Berg River Marathon will be at the following places and times each day. The paddlers must have departed from that point by that time, or they will be requested to leave the river/race:

DAY 1 0 62,1 Start: Paarl 09:00:00 9H00  
  22,6 39,5 Skooltjie 12:00:00 6H00 3H00
  32 30,1 Grensplaas 14:00:00 4H00 5H00
  45,2 16,9 Hermon Bridge 16:00:00 2H00 7H00
  62,1 0 Zonquasdrift – Finish 18:00:00 0 Hrs 9H00
DAY 2 0 45,7 Start: Zonquasdrift 08:30:00 9H30  
  16,1 29,6 Gouda Bridge 11:30:00 6H30 3H00
  30,5 15,2 Train Bridge 14:00:00 4H00 5H30
  45,7 0 Bridgetown – Finish 18:00:00 0 Hrs 9H30
DAY 3 0 74,8 Start: Bridgetown 07:30:00 10H30  
  16 58,8 Misverstand Dam 10:00:00 8H00 2H30
  31,7 43,1 Moravia Weir 12:30:00 5H30 5H00
  35,6 39,2 Soet Draai Weir 13:30:00 4H30 6H00
  52,4 22,4 Klipheuwel bridge 15:00:00 3H00 7H30
  74,8 0 Zoutkloof – Finish 18:00:00 0 Hrs 10H30
DAY 4 0 56,5 Start: Zoutkloof 07:30:00 8H00  
  16,4 40,1 Kersefontein Bridge 10:30:00 5H00 3H00
  46,8 9,7 Kliphoek Oordraplek 14:00:00 1H30 6H30
  56,5 0 Veldrift – Finish 15:30:00 0 Hrs 8H00
  239,1     MAX   37HRS

8.2 All paddlers must reach the finish of the days racing by 18:00 (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 15h30 at the finish of the race in Velddrif.

8.3 A decision to change the cut off times based on river conditions and weather will be determined before the start of each day by the Safety Officer and paddlers will be notified of such a decision.

8.4 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 discretion, change cut off times as conditions change.

8.5 Slower paddlers are urged to find themselves a paddling partner, so that they can pace each other, for safety reasons and to ensure that cut-off times are met. Individual times will apply.

9 Accommodation is available as follows:

9.1 Zonquasdrif – free sleeping facilities in a shed and space for camping on the farm.
Riebeek Kasteel hostel – self-booking – Sue-Ann 083 462 8592.

9.2 Bridgetown – Bungalows and camping – self-booking – Ansu 073 830 4759.

9.3 Soutkloof – free sleeping facilities in a shed and space for camping on the farm.
Self-booking accommodation at Cloeteskraal, Kliphoek and Veldrif.

9.4 Other accommodation may be arranged at the paddlers’ cost and discretion.

10 Rules and Regulations.

10.1 Paddles may be replaced at any time.

10.2 Canoes may not be replaced during the marathon. Paddlers must finish in the canoe they started in. Any paddler who replaces a canoe during the marathon will be disqualified.

10.3 Canoes may be repaired at the stop over, provided the paddler managed to reach the day’s finish. A paddler may start the next day at the place where the boat broke, after repairs were done, at the discretion of the race director.

10.4 Canoes must be numbered in accordance with CSA Regulations. Numbers must not be obscured by any items fixed to the canoes.

10.5 Male paddlers may not interfere in the lady’s race, to advantage ladies who are in contention for prizes.

10.6 River conditions may require compulsory portages. Failure to abide by instructions for compulsory portages will result in disqualification. Portaging is only permitted around obstacles. The shortest route must always be followed. Paddlers must stay in the main riverbed on the last day unless the race officials are forced to change the rule due to flood conditions.

10.7 Any competitor retiring from the race must advise the organizers.

10.8 No outside assistance of any kind is permitted, except in an emergency.

11 Protests and appeals.

11.1 A protest made during a competition relating to an incident in the race must be handed to the race director in writing and within 1 hour of completing the course and be accompanied by a fee of R50 which shall be refunded if the protest is upheld.

11.2 The race director shall decide on matters where a protest has been made and where the race rules have been broken during the competition.

11.3 The race director may disqualify or penalize any competitor who behaved improperly or who, by his conduct or speech shows contempt towards the officials, the SAPS divers, Medics, other competitors, or spectators.

11.4 Appeals against any decision of the race director 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 manager has been informed of the decision. A fee of R50 must accompany the appeal, which will be refunded if the appeal is upheld.

11.5 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 race director.

11.6 Decisions of the Race Jury are final and not subject to appeal.

12 Amendments to the race rules.

12.1 The organizers have the right to:

a. Amend or add to these rules at any stage.

b. Take appropriate disciplinary action against any competitor in breach of these rules.

c. Accept or reject any entry.