All racers must wear personal flotation devices/life jackets
while on the water for the entire duration of the event. See
our mandatory gear list below for more information on PFD
All racers will be issued a waterproof card with contact information
for race organizers. Racers must contact organizers if they
depart the event, stop racing for more than 30 minutes or
if they face situations that may impact all racers safety.
Racers should call 911 in the case of a life or death situation;
call or text organizers in any other situation.
Safety is priority for us; we hope you will join us on this
No. 1 mission for the SDKC.
All competitors pick one of two classes for entry into the
event. Adventure Class is for racers who are newcomers or
who have completed less than five races of this sort. Competitive
Class is for racers who have more experience. These guidelines
are flexible; racers with experience who would prefer adventure
may sign up in that class. Newcomers are encouraged to enter
as adventure class, but may sign up as competitive if they
desire. We encourage Adventure Class winners from past years
to move up to Competitive.
include men’s and women’s singles, men’s,
women’s and mixed tandems, and open class solo and teams
that have three or more paddlers in one boat (not relay).
The South Dakota Kayak Challenge is open to any paddle-powered
craft: kayaks, canoes, surf-skis, Stand-Up Paddleboards or
other craft. We will open our race to "Hobie" style
craft, but they will need prior approval from the race directors
before registering. Pedaled craft will not directly “compete”
with kayaks and canoes. If they come, they will make up their
own separate class among racers.
is required. Deadline is May 12, 2017. You will not be able
to register the week of the race.
racers are responsible to check-in on Friday, May 26, at the
Capitol Replica in Riverside Park. Registration begins at
2 p.m. and takes just a few minutes. All racers will complete
race waivers before being allowed to take part in the event.
Volunteers will facilitate this for all racers as they arrive.
“kayak corral” for storage of craft will be established
adjacent to the Capitol. Racers who are taking the shuttle
should stage their craft there, get registered, then drive
to South Sioux City to be ready to take the bus back to Yankton
Email organizers for information on late registration. The
key: signing the waiver. We can make arrangements for racers
who will arrive later on Friday night, but would appreciate
any and all heads-up so we can facilitate your registration.
NO ONE races without a waiver.
All racers must stage between 5:35-6:45 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The Competitive Class racers can take to the water and begin
the race up river from the platform where the starting gun
is fired. Competitive class racers who do not want to start
on the water may begin on shore with the rest of the racing
racers will receive a final inspection as they stage. We strongly
encourage all racers to stage as early as possible Saturday
morning. Once your boat and gear have been approved, you can
drop them off and leave the staging area.
racers begin at the sound of the starting gun at 7 a.m. SHARP
on Saturday. Racers who do not get under way by 7:30 a.m.
The finish line will be marked clearly by a yellow and black
checkered flag. Racers will cross an imaginary line on the
river just up river from the South Sioux City public boat
ramp. Volunteers will clearly mark the finish line on the
river; there’s about 100 meters of water between the
finish line and the exit point. See the updated course page
for details on this aspect that will make the SDKC a better
event this year.
racers who finish receive hardware; top finishers in each
class and category also will receive additional prizes or
Stoppage En Route
All racers must text or call SDKC staff any time they take
a break that is planned to last for 30 minutes or longer so
that we can alert safety boats on the route. Racers who take
a break that ends up going longer than 30 minutes should text
organizers to let them know boat number, approximate location
and what your next steps will be.
All racers must physically display these items at final check-in
at staging Saturday morning:
U.S. Coast Guard-approved type I, II, III or V Personal
Flotation Device (PFD)
telephone in a waterproof container
Copy of the waterproof safety card with organizers’
phone numbers (provided to you at check-in on Friday)
Lights for operation after dark (as per South Dakota/Nebraska
Two-way communication device and/or GPS device
liters water per person
clothing in a waterproof bag
energy gels and other sustenance
must reach each of the four checkpoints in a reasonable amount
of time. Checkpoint one has a cutoff of 11:30AM. Any paddler
who arrives after that time will not be allowed to proceed
to checkpoint two. All racers must depart checkpoint two by
4:00PM. No cutoff times for CP3 & CP4.
are required to check-in but not stop at each checkpoint.
As they approach the checkpoint, checkpoint volunteers will
call out for their boat number. Once the volunteer confirms
the boat number and shouts it back to the racer, he/she/they
may continue on the route.
the responsibility of the racer, not the volunteer, to ensure
check-in. Failure to check in at any checkpoint will result
in penalty or disqualification.
are welcome to stop at any checkpoint. We will provide water
and ice at each one, and support teams can meet their teams
as well. Support teams cannot assist racers in entering or
exiting a checkpoint, i.e., they cannot pull the boat ashore
or push it back into the water.
is allowed unlimited race support at the checkpoints and other
public-access sites on the river. Replacement paddlers or
boats are forbidden. Racers may self-support using any checkpoint.
On-water support is allowed, but only by paddled craft, i.e.,
you may have a support team in a kayak meet you on the water
to give you food/water. All on-water support must avoid assisting
the racer (towing, drafting) in moving down the course.
ages 16 and younger must paddle in tandem kayaks or in a team
of two or more boats with a parent or legal guardian. Email
organizers with questions on this topic.
- New for 2017
not allowed to draft off of a boat outside of your class.
I.e. a solo paddler cannot draft off a tandem or open class
Not Finish (DNF)
may choose to stop at any point on the river and exit the
event, but they are required to contact race officials when
this occurs. Racers should text or call Steven, Jarett or
Cory if they are exiting. Paddlers who fail to notify race
authorities after choosing to exit the race will be banned
from future South Dakota Kayak Challenge events.
finish is worth the loss of life. Race camaraderie is encouraged
on this oft-challenging water. Race officials will weigh in
on line-crossing rudeness between racers with penalties that
may include disqualification. We encourage all racers to report
situations that seem questionable. If you see someone in trouble
– please let us know.
who discard anything into the river or who fail to maintain
gear accountability are subject to time penalty. Much of the
course is a federally protected area. Please respect it.
Creed of the Kayak Challenge
of the South Dakota Kayak Challenge, when faced with a unforeseen
hazard or conflict, reserve permission to revise any of the
information on this website, on publications or information
offered to racers via the site, email or postal mail, or on