Race Rules

2017 Two Harbors Kayak Festival Racing Logistics & Rules

*John Abrahams Marathon Race 

*Ellen Anderson’s 10 mile Race

*Betty’s Pie 5 Mile Race 

Welcome to the 20th Annual Two Harbors Kayak Festival – July 28-30 2017


We offer three different racing experiences for you to enjoy.

Must be 16 years of age to race.


18 mile marathon Sat. July 29, 2017 at 9:00 am start

 ( Unlimited Class will 9:00AM start)

Paddle Boards will not be allowed on the Marathon course

Ellen Anderson 10 mile Race Sat July 29, 2017 at 9:00 am start    

 Betty’s Pies Race 5 Mile Race Sat. July 29, 2017 at 9:15 am



We offer three separate kayak races, with various age groups and boat categories, local exhibitors, kayak equipment demos, beginning level instructional tours, advanced clinics, kids kayaking, food and fun, and more!

The racing portion of the Two Harbors Kayak Festival has grown rapidly and is the oldest and largest open water race on the Great Lakes, aside from the stunning beauty of the course and its quality organization, this event draws paddlers from all over the Midwest and beyond.  Some great relationships and stories have evolved over the years.



As you would expect wind, waves, and air temperature are the major factors on race times. It’s fun to compare times in relation to kayak design and the race day conditions on Lake Superior. Each kayaker is challenged on the race course and modern day racers experience a heightened appreciation of Lake Superior just as the Native Americans and Voyageurs did years ago. To fully enjoy the racing experience all racers need to set aside some time to prepare for the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior. There are many details for you to consider. In order to make this year’s racing events successful the following logistics and revised race rules will apply:


  1. Race Courses:

a. John Abrahams 18 Mile Kayak Marathon:

Around Encampment Island and back.

i. Floating mass start from Burlington Bay (Including Unlimited racers)

ii. Proceed north across the mouth of Burlington Bay

iii. Paddle between shoreline and orange buoys up to Encampment Island

iv. Go around Encampment Island in a counterclockwise direction

  1. Return to Burlington Bay using the same route between shoreline and the orange buoys



b. Ellen Anderson 10 Miles Race: To the 5 mile Marker  and back.

i. Floating mass start from Burlington Bay

ii. Proceed north across the mouth of Burlington Bay

iii. Paddle between shoreline and orange buoys up to the 5 Mile Marker

turn around buoy.

iv. Go around the buoy in a counterclockwise direction

Return to Burlington Bay using the same route between shoreline and the orange buoys



b. Betty’s Pies 5 Mile Race:

To the Stewart River and back

i. Floating mass start from Burlington Bay

ii. Proceed north across the mouth of Burlington Bay

iii. Paddle between shoreline and orange buoys up to the Stewart River

turn around buoy in front of Betty’s Pies

iv. Go around the buoy in a counterclockwise direction

  1. Return to Burlington Bay using the same route between shoreline and the orange buoys  




  1. Entry Fees:

John Abraham 18 Mile Marathon

Ellen Anderson 10 Mile Race

Betty’s Pies 5 Mile Race


See Registration page in the brochure for current rates and deadlines.

 No Registration on race day. 


  1. Racer Check-In:

c. The primary racer check-in time is Friday night from 5-7:30 pm at Burlington Bay with the racer reception taking place from 5-7:30 pm

d. Racers are responsible for confirming their name, race selection, gender, age and boat type at Friday night check-in.

e. Emergency racer check-in is available on Saturday from 7-8am at Burlington Bay

f. Racers’ kayaks will be randomly inspected by race officials on Friday and Saturday


  1. Racer Food:

g. Candy bars, electrolyte drink, and oranges in a  will be available at the starting area of the 5 , 10 and 18 mile events.

h. Paddlers must carry their supplies in their kayak. Racers are encouraged to bring alternative food and drink items of their own choosing to supplement what is provided.


  1. Awards &  Hors d’ oeuvres:

i. A volunteer will greet you on the beach to collect your bib and award you with a medallion at the end of the race. If you are not greeted please return your bib to the registration table at the finish area and pick up your medallion.

j. Hors d’ oeuvres & Music along with the awards ceremony, Saturday from 4:30-5:30pm.

k. John Abraham 18 Mile Marathon, Ellen Anderson 10 Mile Race, Betty’s Pies 5 Mile Race,  Awards Ceremony  will be held  on Saturday under the registration tent 5:30pm, or right after the social.


  1. Boat Categories:

m. Production Plastic (manufacturer produced plastic sea kayak less than 19’ long)

n. Production Composite (manufacturer produced composite sea kayak less than 19’ long, including home built boats that meet the less than 19′ spec)

o. Unlimited Racing Kayak (manufacturer produced kayak 19’ or longer or custom one-of-a-kind kayak of any length, width, and material with racing design characteristics such as sprint kayaks, surf skis and ICF race kayak design. Some examples include Vampire, Phantom, Thunderbolt, Eagle, Jaguar and RPM. These kayaks are very narrow and light and are not designed for multi-day tours like the production category kayaks)

p. Tandem (both composite and plastic)

q. Stand Up Paddle boards: ( SUP 12’6″ displacement and shorter, 14′ displacement, SUP surf board 12′ 2″ and shorter, SUP unlimited 14′)


ppp. Stand up Paddle boards will not be allowed to race in the John Abraham 18 Mile  Marathon    There will be no  exceptions. 



  1. Gender and Age Categories: Male or Female

q. 16-24 years

r. 25-34 years

s. 35-44 years

t. 45-54 years

u. 55-64 years

v. 65+


Start Times:

aa. 8:00 am Mandatory Competitors meeting at the Registration Tent


bb. 9:00 am All racers in the Great River Energy 18 Mile and All racers in the Ellen Anderson 10 Mile Race  Including all Unlimited Racers

cc. 9:15 am Betty’s Pies 5 Mile Race Start



  1. Pre-Race Logistics

ee.  A drive through Kayak Unloading & Loading Zone will be established near the Burlington Bay start area. During the day your vehicle must be parked at your campsite or in the designated lots away from the start area.


ff. A mandatory competitors meeting will be held at 8:00 am next to the Registration Tent in Burlington Bay. Racers must have checked their entry data either Friday evening or at this meeting prior to the start of their race. You are responsible for making sure you are entered in the correct boat class & age group. If a correction is necessary please speak to the registrar at the registration tent immediately.


All racers will be required to check in before getting into their boats at this meeting in order that the Race Director knows exactly who is present on race day and on the water.


gg. On-Shore Start and Finish Area: Before and after the race, racers can leave their kayak on the beach while they wait for the race start or while parking their vehicle. Paddlers should be in their kayak in the water 10 minutes before the start.

e. On-Water Start Line: The start and finish line will be between two buoys. They will be set wide enough to accommodate several kayakers. The mass start nature of this event can cause turbulence and can cause kayak collisions. Racers should line up with their experience and kayak handling skills in mind (i.e. experienced paddlers in front of less experienced.)


  • Safety Rules

a. Winds: If on-shore wind speed exceeds 20 mph and wave heights exceed 3 feet the John Abraham 18 mile Marathon, Ellen Anderson 10 Mile Race and Betty’s Pies Races will be held on Sunday.

  • PFD: A Coast Guard approved personal flotation device must be worn when paddling. We may announce the following PFD exception on race day at the competitors meeting: a surf ski paddler may instead choose to carry a PDF on deck IF he/she is leashed to the surf ski (leash from boat to paddler). The race director will need to approve the leash and leashing method.
  • Surf Skis: Paddlers are required to use a leash (boat to paddler and the paddle to boat or paddler) if there is significant wind at the start of the race or if a significant wind develops during the race.
  • Bulkheads: A stern bulkhead with sealed hatches or flotation bags are required for each kayak.
  • Clothing: Kayakers will be expected to wear paddling gear that adequately reduces heat loss if a capsize occurs. Average water temperature is 50 degrees. Dress appropriately!



Festival Sponsors



arc    dtai


Login | RSS Feed

Two Harbors Kayak Festival © 2015