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General Rules


Pre-Race Check-In

Friday, October 27 at Ross’s Landing (Riverfront Pkwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402). Your packet will include your race bib and beer tickets for the after-party. Please bring your I.D with you to check-in on Friday night and/or Saturday morning. No bib will be handed out without I.D. You cannot pick up a bib for someone else.

Mandatory Pre-Race Meeting

All participants are required to attend a pre-race meeting on Saturday morning at 7:30AM on lawn at Ross’s Landing



All racers will access the water via the floating docks at Ross’s Landing and paddle upstream (to the right) to stage under the Walnut Street bridge (read a detailed description of staging for the start here). The 1st wave (SUP, Prone, Kayak) will start at 8:30AM, the 2nd wave (Surfski, Outrigger Canoe) will start 9:00AM.

ALL racers MUST enter the water by way of the 2 long docks. While entering the docks gangway you will pass beneath our timing company’s arch which will detect your timing chip informing us you are officially entering the water to stage for the race. Please DO NOT enter along the concrete edge. We will not know you are on the water.


Aid stations will provide racers with water and Huma gels. The following stations will be available:

  • Mile 16 - Boat Aid Station

  • Mile 22 - Long protruding dock with Chattajack banners & volunteers on river right

  • Mile 27 - Boat Aid Station



Lifejacket - All racers (except prone paddlers) are required to carry US Coast Guard approved lifejackets. Without a lifejacket the USCG will make you exit the water. Racers are not required to wear lifejackets but must have them aboard their vessels.

Hydration - Racers are required to begin the race carrying their own water (4 liters, or 2 70oz Camelbaks are recommended for most paddlers). 3 aid stations will also help re-supply racers with water.

Headphones - Racers are STRONGLY discouraged from using anything such as headphones that may prohibit them from communicating with support boats, hearing boat traffic or possibly hearing a request from another racer.

Stand Up Paddleboard specifications - The only board type eligible for use in this event is a displacement hull race board. No board shorter than 12’6 is permitted. Divisions for SUP include: Men’s and Women’s 12’6 or 14’, Men’s Unlimited (which referrers to a race board over 14’ in length), Tandem SUP (two people on one board) and SUP-4 (four people on one board).

Kayak or Surfski - The division between the Surfski & Kayak divisions in Chattajack is based purely upon the width of the vessel. If the vessel’s width is 20” or greater it falls in Chattajack’s “Kayak” division. Anything less than 20” is classified with the surfskis. Tandem kayak and Tandem surfski divisions are also differentiated solely based on width. If the vessel is 22” or greater we deem the vessel a tandem kayak. Anything less than 22” wide is considered tandem surfski. 

Note for Outrigger Canoes  - If you are racing in a Chattajack outrigger canoe division you may only use a single bladed paddle.


Cut-off times are determined by the Race Clock, and are adjusted accordingly if there is a delay in race start. For example: If the race starts on time at exactly 8:30am then the Suck Creek cut-off time is 11am EST. Race officials will not determine this based on your personal watch's race time or your personal moving speed. You must be at or past the Suck Creek boat ramp at 11am, regardless of how far behind the start line you started. If this is a concern, we recommend you keep track of "time of day" on your device, not just "race time".

Suck Creek Boat Ramp Cut-off - at Mile 10

Racers are required to pass the Suck Creek boat ramp (at mile 10) within 2 hours and 30 minutes of the start time. A race marshal will be in the water to help facilitate exit for racers who have not met this cut off. Please make sure the race official has recorded your bib number.

If you are concerned about not making this cut-off please have your own transportation organized. The race will not provide shuttles from this point.

Sullivan’s Boat Ramp Cut-off - at approx. Mile 23

Racers are required to pass the Sullivan's boat ramp (at approx. mile 23) within 6 hours of the start time. A race marshal will be in the water to help facilitate exit for racers who have not met this cut off. Please make sure the race official has recorded your bib number.

If you are concerned about not making this cut-off please have your own transportation organized. The race will not provide shuttles from this point.

Overall Course Cut-off

Each athlete will have 8 hours and 30 minutes to complete the 31 mile course. At cut off time a sweep boat will come by to notify you. You will be given the option to either jump in and get a ride to the finish line exit or they will record your bib number and you may complete your paddle unofficially and unsupported. (No medal, no official time) 

Our boat safety support team has the full authority to revoke the option to continue paddling past the cut-off time, and insist that a racer accept a ride to the next exit point, if they deem the racer unfit to continue. This may be due to extreme fatigue, poor nutrition, injury etc. If the racer does not appear coherent/appears confused/losing coordination/motor skills/etc., our team has the authority to insist the racer stop paddling. Please accept this with grace. These cut-off times are for your safety. 




Drafting is allowed only within classes. It is each racer’s responsibility to ensure that they are drafting within their class. Penalties for drafting out of class will be enforced if witnessed by a race official, or brought to the race official's attention by other athletes who witnessed the infraction.

Your "class" or division is based on your vessel and gender. For example: A mixed OC-2 team can only draft other mixed OC-2s. A female on a 14' SUP can only draft other females on 14' SUPs.

The penalty for drafting out of class is Disqualification.

Multi-person crafts/Teams

This section refers to: Tandem SUP, Tandem surfski, K-2, OC-2, OC-6, C-2, Quad SUPs.... ALL multi-person boards & boats.

Any team that starts the race as a team (more than one person on a board or in a boat) must finish the race with the entire crew (all members) that you started with in order to count as an official finisher.

We do not allow relays.

Crossing Channel

Each racer is responsible for avoiding boat traffic when crossing the channel. Powerboats will also be in the gorge the day of the race, so please paddle responsibly.

Withdrawing/Dropping out

Should you have an emergency, or need to drop out of the race at any time, call a race official (you will be given a phone number at check-in), wave to a support boat, or get to an area where volunteers are stationed ASAP to tell them you are dropping and/or need help.

If you leave the course and fail to notify race officials, you will not be invited back.

The boat support, volunteers, US Coast Guard and Fire Dept are there on race day for your safety. They will come to the aid of someone in an emergency situation. If you are unsure of your ability to complete the course please make sure you are self-sufficient and have your own transportation. The crew in place along the 31 miles of this race course will not leave their stations to pick anyone up outside of an emergency.

WPA Rule Book

Chattajack follows WPA rules. Please refer to the Rule Book for more details.

Paddling without a bib number or with someone else's

If you are caught participating in Chattajack without a bib or with one not registered to your name:

  • The first offense will result in a 2 year ban from the race.

  • The second offense will result in a lifetime ban from the race.


The race may be cancelled if conditions are deemed too hazardous by race officials (no refunds on entries).

Event schedule
Rules while paddling
Aid Stations
Cut Off Times
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