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Regatta Guide

Regatta Guide for New Paddlers

 What is a regatta?

 A regatta is a full day of competitive races held rain or shine. Races usually begin around 8:30 a.m. and finish about 4:30 p.m. or possibly later if there are delays due to thunderstorms or other unforeseen events. Most paddlers will compete in anywhere from 2 – 8 races over the course of the day usually against others their own age, with lots of other races to watch in-between!  Races can be singles (K-1 or C-1), team boats (K-2 or K-4, C-2 or C-4) or even war canoe (also known as C-15). 

The coach will let the paddlers know which races they have been entered in, usually by providing a copy of the race “draw” (or schedule) a few days prior to the regatta. It’s important to carefully review the draw so you know which races the paddler is scheduled to compete in.

Typically the club boats are loaded onto the trailer the evening before the regatta and all paddlers are expected to help out. Usually arrival at the regatta course should be planned for 60 – 90 minutes prior to the first race of the day in order for the trailer to be unloaded and the club site set-up (RHCC has several tent canopies that are used at each regatta).  The coach will let you know the time to arrive for a particular regatta but be prepared to be there as early as 7 a.m. to assist with unloading and set-up.

The coach will also let you know prior to the regatta what time you should check in with her prior to your first race, typically at least 1 hour beforehand.

At the end of the day, all paddlers help in re-loading the trailer (this means even if your last race was several hours before, you are expected to wait with the rest of the team members until everyone has completed their races). Once the trailer is reloaded, all paddlers meet back at the RHCC clubhouse to unload the trailer after the regatta. 

Why participate in a regatta?

Although regattas are a full day commitment (typically 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.), they are a fun and social time for paddlers and their families.  It gives the paddlers a chance to measure themselves against other paddlers and gives daily training a real purpose.

What to Bring:

  • Every competitor must wear a Richmond Hill Canoe Club racing singlet or jersey which can be purchased from the Clothing Coordinator
  • Athletes 14 and under must wear a PFD at all competitions
  • Bring 1 or 2 changes of clothing in case of tipping or inclement weather
  • Bring other clothing appropriate for the weather – rain gear, hoodie, sweats, hat, blanket, towel etc.
  • Healthy food and drinks (including lots of water). Often there is a concession stand to purchase food and snacks.
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen & hat (it will be a long day in the sun)
  • Folding lawn / camp chairs

Competition Age Categories:

Canoe-Kayak Canada age categories for a paddler is based on their actual age as of January 1st of the year of competition.  The “U” means under (or less than) that age.






U23 (Junior)

Senior ->18+ depending on points

Masters ->age 25+


Types of Regattas:

Regional Inter-Club Regattas

Paddlers compete locally against other clubs in the Western Ontario Division (WOD) in fun regattas for all ages and paddlers from U11 right through to Masters.   Typically RHCC attends the regattas at the Mississauga Canoe Club in early June and Balmy Beach Canoe Club (held in Welland) in mid-July.

WOD Qualifying Trials

This regatta is a 2-day event serving as qualifying races for Provincial and National Championships. Races are for U13 through to U23, but not Masters. This regatta is usually held in Welland at the end of July. The coach will determine who will compete at WOD events.

There is a separate WOD Trial for U11 and U13 paddlers usually held mid-week in early August and the venue changes year-to-year.

Ontario / Trillium Championships

U13 and U15 paddlers must qualify to be able to compete at the Ontario Championships, paddlers U17 and up do not need to qualify. Usually the first 3 winning boats in a final race at WOD trials (U13 & U15) are eligible to compete. 

National Championships

This are held annually rotating through the various Canoe-Kayak Canada Divisions (WOD, EOD, Quebec, Atlantic, and Prairie-Pacific).  There are no U13 or U15 events at Nationals although a U15 paddler may “race up” in an older category and qualify to race.  A paddler must qualify at the WOD Trials in order to compete at Nationals. The first 4 wining boats in each age category qualify to compete at Nationals.


RHCC is expected to supply volunteers in half-day shifts to help run every regatta. Parents are asked to assist with motorboat driving (boat operator’s license required), spotting from a motorboat, as well as a variety of positions on land such as Assistant Starter, Line Judge, Results Runner etc.  Volunteers will be asked to sign up for various positions in advance of the event, so please volunteer and help each regatta to run successfully!