2021 California River Quest Race Rules

Age Restrictions

Due to the extreme nature of this event, strict age limitations will be enforced. Any solo participant must be at least 18 years of age. Any tandem participants must be at least 14 years of age and travel with an adult over the age of 25 at all times. No exceptions. If you are suspected of being under the age of 18, identification with birth date is required at check in.


All California 100 participants and volunteers will be required to sign waivers.

Mandatory Check Points

The California River Quest racecourse has three checkpoints. EVERY participant must wave to a race official and shout out your number. Make sure that the official acknowledges you. It is especially important that relay members come to the check-in before switching paddlers – everyone finishing the leg and those starting a leg. Failure to check-in at these points will result in disqualification, no exceptions.

Cut-off times will be set for each checkpoint based on the conditions and flow for paddler safety. Times will allow for all paddlers progressing at a reasonable pace to continue. If you arrive at a checkpoint near the cut-off time, race officials will confer with you to determine if you should continue or not.

Cut-off times will be determined close to or on race day depending on flow conditions. A total race cut-off time will be established.

Please keep in mind that the water is a moving current and must be taken into account when estimating paddling time. The predicted current for the race is between 2-4mph. This factor is variable and we won’t know an exact current speed until shortly before the race.


Your boat must meet the standards set forth in your registered category. At the Saturday check-in, race officials will confirm that your boat fits the category in which you registered.

Race officials will also check to confirm that you are in possession of the mandatory equipment (see list below). Please have these items organized and ready to show race officials at check-in.

Paddlers must use the same boat they start in for the entire race. For relay teams, each relay leg is considered separate and team members may use different boats per leg. Each race craft must be propelled exclusively by paddle power (double or single blade) while on the water. No rowing, sail, or kite configuration is permitted.


No leashes may be used. No exceptions.


All checkpoints will have: water to refill your containers, some basic food items (fruit pieces, nutrition bars), toilets and places to rest. You should not rely on the checkpoints as your only source of food.

Each participant is allowed unlimited ground support, but every racer is responsible for their own support. Participant’s support teams may use the designated checkpoints or other public river access points to exchange food, beverages and trash.

If paddlers do not have a support team, they may bring small drop bags for any or all of the checkpoints. These drop bags must be labeled with the racer’s first and last name. Bags can be dropped at Saturday check-in or at race start on Sunday. They will be delivered to the checkpoints.

On-Water Assistance

Support crews may not, in any way, assist with the propulsion of the boat. They may only touch the boat when the boat is in contact with the shore. Physical contact with support can only occur when the boat is grounded. No contact on the water is allowed. No support provided from a support boat is allowed. The organizers of the race will not provide any outside support during the race other than emergency medical assistance.

Assistance in Forward Progress

Outside assistance that provides intentional aid in the forward progress of a canoe/kayak is not allowed. This includes towing, wake riding, deflection of wind, and “rafting up”. However, limited interaction between the competitor race craft, as is the case in most canoe and kayak marathon races, is acceptable. This will be restricted to only wake riding and wind deflection. No towing of race craft is permitted. If a paddler receives forward assistance on the water because of injury or accident, and they decide to continue, their affiliation with the race may be terminated pending conference with race officials.


For any “shortcut” to be legal, it must have a flow of river water through it. Overland portages are not allowed.


The part of the Sacramento River that is the racecourse for the California River Quest is wide and mostly flat water, but there will be between 3-5 mph current and there are dangers. Swift currents and riffles at the start of the race have been known to flip unprepared paddlers. You must know how to maneuver your vessel in swift currents to avoid hazards. You should know how to get back in your boat while on the water if you fall out. The water is cold (low 50s) and hypothermia can set in within a few minutes of falling out. Other hazards on the course are semi-submerged trees that act as strainers or sieves. Keep alert and avoid any branches that are partially submerged or hanging into the water from the banks of the river.

Night Travel

For those who do not finish during daylight hours, the race will continue into the night. Bow and stern chemical lights must be lit at dusk. Two forward-facing lights are required to be on your vessel at dusk. We recommend you have a powerful bow light. Headlights are good to have on hand, but not for navigation. They will attract insects to your head and potentially bats.

Withdrawing from the Race after Start

If for any reason you disqualify yourself from the event after the race has started, you must notify a race official immediately. If you do not notify the proper authorities, you will be banned from any future California River Quest events and may be held responsible for the cost of a search and rescue. Phone numbers for race officials will be provided prior to the race.

Mandatory Equipment List

  • Cell phone with race emergency numbers saved on phone (most carriers have continuous coverage along the river)
  • Coast Guard approved, Type III inherently buoyant vest style personal floatation device (NOT inflatable) must be worn at all times while on the water to comply with event insurance. Prone paddlers may use inflatable Type III PFDs.
  • Two 12-hour, chemical lights fixed to bow and stern of the boat for night travel (also called glow sticks)
  • Minimum of two forward-facing lights (the second is a backup)
  • One space blanket
  • Method of carrying at least 1/2 gallon of fluid per person at all times
  • One whistle per PFD
  • First-aid kit (you may want things like anti-diarrhea, blister treatment, Pepto Bismol, Band-Aids, and tape)

Recommended Equipment List

  • GPS
  • Spare paddle
  • Repair kit
  • Booties or shoes
  • Change of clothes (in case fall in)

Transportation and Parking

Each participant must supply their own transportation to the start and pick up from the finish. We encourage connecting with other boaters to work out carpools and shuttles. Shuttle service is available. See website for details.

Parking at the race start is limited.


Once you have registered, your entry fee is non-refundable.

In the event of a natural disaster or flood, you may receive a partial refund on your registration fee. The amount returned in event of a natural disaster will be determined based on the expenses paid in preparation prior to the race.


The race will go on unless hazardous conditions (e.g., fires, floods, natural disasters) preclude a safe race environment.


All participants agree to appear in the event-related media coverage free of charge.

Sporting Conduct

If participants see a fellow racer in need of help, they must stop and either assist the person (if this can be done without endangering yourself), or call for help. Cal 100 will not tolerate unsportsmanlike conduct on the course. Disqualification may be the result, to be determined by race officials.

Alcohol/Illegal Drug Consumption

No participant is allowed to consume alcohol or illegal drugs during the race. Any participant suspected of consuming alcohol or illegal drugs is subject to disqualification and being banned from any future California River Quest races.

Litter on the Course

California River Quest will have a zero-tolerance for purposeful littering on the course. Possible disqualification will be the result, to be determined by race officials.

Revisions to Rules

The organizers of this event reserve the right to revise any prior rules or regulations as a result of conflict, hazard, or unforeseen incident.