The HPPCC raft racing section started out in 2018, and has paddlers representing GB at both World and European Championships, as well as taking part in the British and Euro Cup race series. At HPPCC we are a friendly group of paddlers with something for everyone, whether you want to race competitively on the world stage or just want to get out on the water and have fun with a group of like-minded individuals, we cater for everyone.
What is Raft Racing?
Raft racing consists of teams of 4 or 6 people working together to manoeuvre an inflatable raft down the white water course, with each person having a different role to play to ensure your boat gets to the finish line safely. Most races consist of 4 disciplines:
Sprint: This is normally the first race of a competition and is all about raw speed. Each boat races against the clock to see who can get the fastest time down a section of rapids. This race can last anywhere between 1 – 4 minutes.
Head to Head (H2H): The H2H race is one for the spectators. With two rafts lining up together they must race to be the first one to the finish line. This is not all about pure speed though, with both teams required to paddle upstream round a floating buoy. There are normally 4 to choose from, with each team needing to navigate their way around one on both the left and right hand sides of the river.
Slalom: Similar to the canoe slalom in the Olympics this is by far the most technical discipline. Each team must navigate their way through a number of upstream and downstream gates that are placed along the rapids trying to avoid touching the gates with either the raft or the crew.
Downriver: The Downriver race is all about a team’s endurance. It is normally the last race of the event and can last between 30 – 60 mins of constant paddling down the river navigating both flat sections and rapids.
How can I get involved?
If you are new to the sport and want to come along and have a go, we offer a 4-week introduction course on Thursday evenings. The sessions are based across both the flat and the white water course, with paddlers learning skills as both an individual and as a team. The course will start with learning how to get the raft moving in a straight line as well as manoeuvring around buoys on the flat water before taking those skills onto the white water course.
If you are part of an existing racing team or have an existing raft guide qualification, then we run white water nights on a Wednesday and Friday. These are run by our excellent coaches, with years of rafting and competitive slalom paddling between them, they will be on hand to help you get the most out of your paddling. Friday evenings are dedicated to our teams looking to race competitively that year, however this doesn’t stop a group of other paddlers coming down and getting time out on the water.
We also run multiple introduction and development weekends across the year, as well as a trips to other rafting venues.
Interested in having a go or after a bit more information? Email us on [email protected]