Clutha Classic

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Clutha Classic 
Event Information
Clutha Classic 
Event Information
Clutha Classic 
Event Information

Entry Terms & Conditions

SLMC "Clutha Classic" and "The Sprint" is attracting large fields of paddlers.  Preparing the handicapping, and allocating waves for paddlers has become quite the mamoth task, so we WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING RACE ENTRIES AFTER NOON ON 4TH DECEMBER 2022.  THERE WILL BE NO ON-THE-DAY ENTRIES.

Race numbers will be allocated to entrants based on waves, numbers and timing chips will be handed out at registration on race day, 10 December 2022.  

Terms & Conditions:

By entering the race, competiors agree to the requirement to provide proof of Covid Vaccination and Grade II Kayak proficiency where required.  All competitors must carry or be wearing all of the compulsory gear required for the event.

Cancellation:  If the race is cancelled due to weather, or circumstances outside of the organiser's control, notification will be posted on the SLMC Facebook Page by 7am on the morning of the race, and an email sent to those who entered.  The race organisers will make every effort to keep entrants informed about any potential circumstances relating to  cancellation. There will be no refunds given.


Withdrawals - Withdrawals recieved prior to noon on 4th December will recieve a 75% refund.  There will be no refunds for withdrawals recieved after noon on the 4th of December due to costs incurred by the race.


Force Majeure - In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, earthquake, and the race has to be cancelled, there will be no refunds.

Clutha Classic 
Event Information

Saturday 10 December 2022

Location: Eely Point
Registration: 8am - 930am
Race Briefing: 9:45am
Start first wave: 10:15am.

Entry Fee: $70 for SLMC Members $80 for non members

The race is handicapped with the slowest competitors leaving in the first wave, and is open to all classes of kayak.




Dydimo is present on the Clutha River - ensure you properly wash and dry you paddle gear before heading to other water ways.

Boat Checks and Compulsory Gear Checks are required for every competitor and happen at registration (8am - 930am)

Everyone must attend the race briefing at 9:45am - Wanaka Water front

The Sprint
Event Information

Saturday 10 December 2022

Start Location: Albert Town Boat Ramp (access is the first right after the Albert Town Bridge, on the Hawea side of the Clutha River)
Registration: 8am - 930am (Eely Point)

Gear Check: 9am - 1030am
Race Briefing: 10:45am
Start first wave: 11:15am.

Entry Fee: $70 for SLMC Members $80 for non members

The Sprint - 39km is now a race in its own right - having increased in popularity so will be run as a race within the race.


Registration will be held in the same place as the Clutha Classic - at Eely Point in Wanaka from 8am - 930am

Gear Check will be held at the Albert Town Boat Ramp from 9am - 1030am

The Sprint Race Briefing will be held at 10:45am and must be attended by all Sprint Competitors.

Start times will be in waves depending on the handicaping system.  The start of the first wave will be approximately 11:15am

The Finish Line

The finish line  for the Clutha Classic and The Sprint are at Bendigo Reach.  We are very lucky to have access to this get out point, please be considerate to land owners, and respectful of the environment.

Vehicle Access: From the Tarras-Cromwell Road (SH8), turn onto Oliver Road (the intersection is about 1.7km South of the one-lane Lindis River Bridge).  Follow Olivers Road (gravel) past the two houses on the right for about a kilometer, the road turns into more of a farm-track and makes a sweeping right hand turn.  Continue along the track for about half a kilometer and then take a sharp left turn that leads into the willow trees.  Once you emerge from the willows follow the track across the river stones to the Finish Area (click here for a detailed map)

Race End: When you emerge around the final bend of the Clutha River and reach the finish line victorious, ensure that you paddle close to the time-keepers so you can get your time accurately recorded.  

Post Race: There will be a BBQ and something cool and refreshing to drink.  The finish line is a great place for a picnic, to rendezvous with supporters and to share some yarns about how the handicapping worked out, and how many wave trains you dominated.  Prize giving will be held at the finish line once the final paddler has completed the race, and the results have been tallied.

Entry Information

To enter the Clutha Classic or The Sprint you require a GRADE II KAYAKING PROFICIENCY CERTIFICATE, and VACCINE CERTIFICATE.  If you dont have these yet, let us know your plans to get them and we will check them at registration.

All competitors must carry (or be wearing) all of the Compulsory Gear required for the event.  Gear and boats will be scrutineered before the race.

In the event of extreme weather conditions, the race director and safety team reserve the right to substitute an alternative course.

Online entries close at noon on 4 December 2022.  No entries will be accepted on the day of the race.


This legendary race is a popular hit out before Kathmandu Coast to Coast.  The Clutha Classic is 54km long.  Competitors start in waves from Eely Point in Wanaka, paddle across the lake to the outlet and down the Clutha River through Albert Town and under the Red Bridge at Luggate before negotiating the famous Devils Elbow, battling towards the finish line at Bendigo Reach.

  The Sprint is 39km long and begins at Albert Town, following the same course as the Clutha Classic and sharing the finish line at Bendigo Reach.


Compulsory Gear

Kayak, canoe or ski suitable for the conditions

PFD (life jacket) & Whistle

Survival Bag (attached to PFD)


Airbags or sealed hatches


Paddle Helmet

In a dry bag attached to the Kayak or Ski:

  • Repair Kit (including duct tape)

  • Polypro top and bottom

  • Hat (wool or poly pro)

  • Gloves (wool or poly pro)

To be worn, or carried:​

  • Paddle Jacket (wind proof)

​This is the minimum you must carry

Spectator Information

Kayaking is not always a spectator sport - luckily there are several spots you can cheer competitors on:

  • Various vantage points around Lake Wanaka - start line at Eely Point, Beacon Point Road, Lake Outlet Track

  • Between Wanaka & Albert Town - loads of spots along the Outlet Track, Wicklow Terrace, Albert Town Bridge

  • The Upper Clutha River Track runs both sides of the Clutha, with River Views along its length - easy access by foot or mountain bike

  • Red Bridge on the Luggate-Tarras Road 

  • The finish line

Travel & Accommodation

There are plenty of awesome accommodation options within easy driving distance of the race start

  • Wanaka

  • Albert Town

  • Hawea

  • Cromwell

  • Queenstown


Fastest Womens Time:

Fastest Mens Time:

Previous Results:

2019: Mighty Matukituki 

2018 Clutha Classic Results