How To Run a Grassroots Competition

06 Apr 2022

Online resources for helping you run your own grassroots competition.

How To Run a Grassroots Competition

Ranked Events

We love competing! Our ranked events follow International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) requirements... To run a competition the IWWF way we can do no better than refer you to their comprehensive competition rules located at IWWF 2019 Boat Wakeboard Rules and IWWF 2021 Official Wakesurf Rules .

Grassroots Competitions

If you’re a club looking to run a grassroots competition and find those requirements daunting it is possible to pare this down to the essentials, and here you’ll find the things you need to think about when you organise a competition.

We’ve put all the essentials in one checklist and also have a more detailed checklist you can refer to if you want to go further than that.

If you want more detailed examples or explanations in most cases they’re in the full IWWF rules.

If you don't have access to suitable judges, or don’t want to run a subjectively scored comp have you thought about running instead a competition on a points-based scoring system? The multi-discipline Cutting Edge competition run by Simon Waring of Wake and Ski Boats has such, and at Wakeboard UK we helped with an update to their boat wakeboard scoring last year.

Essential Grassroots Competition Checklist






Dedicated water for event duration


Single Day

Boat and Fuel

Competition boat with enough fuel for the day


Cover for a competition in your insurance


1 - 2 SBDA qualified drivers

Spotter/Rope Master

1 (can be a judge if necessary)


1 to 3


Typically a minimum 3 per division


Points based or subjective rules

Jetty Marshall

Min 1

Shared Rope

For riders without their own

Life Jackets

For all competitors

First Aid Plan

In case of minor injury

Detailed Checklist







Set out your aims from running the competition - you’re more likely to achieve them if you’re clear on them and share them with your team

Seek sponsors

Organise medals

Organise prizes

Plan for team (see below)

Design poster/webpage and draft wording if applicable

Printing [as appropriate]

Rider bibs [as appropriate]

Registration (sheet/online)

Sheet / online

Set event day schedule

Allowing for appropriate breaks given planned team, indicating who on duty when

Plan for accommodation for staff / team

Plan for access to site

Plan for access to lake for the boat

Plan for spectators

Numbers, entry, parking, food, drinks, toilets etc

Plan for team refreshments

Plan for internet access on the day/Wi-Fi

Plan for inside / undercover location for officials/ photographer/videographer

Decide entry fee

Decide on location and time of prize presentations

Source podium if appropriate

Create budget

Plan for promotion, media, social media - before during and after event

Write brief for photographer/videographer


Check cover for a competition in your insurance



From lake owner, members, neighbours and other interested parties

Course buoys

Buoys are needed to mark the start and end of the run.. And cut-off buoys (also called 3/4 buoys) are required to indicate the point after which the rider won’t get a pick up



Decide what disciplines you are running. Wakeboarding/wakesurfing/wakeskating

Criteria for attendance

Club members only / BWSW members only


Decide whether to set a limit on number per category

Team / Officials

Event manager

Probably you!


Allocate a Chief Judge


A calculator is the team member on land responsible for running order and preparing the results. Allocate a Chief Calculator

First aid (as appropriate)


Allocate a Chief Driver

Safety boat driver

(as appropriate)

Rope marshall (on boat)

Jetty marshall




[Food provider]

[Social media]

[Writer for press article/website update]

If you are short of officials contact Wakeboard UK who may be able to source qualified or non-qualified officials for your event. And we can point you in the direction of MC’s, photographers and videographers too


Undertake risk assessment for comp

Link to Follow

Plan to deal with emergencies

Plan to deal with injuries

Concussion plan

Link to Follow

Location of nearest hospital

Location of first aid kit

Location of first aider

Location of nearest defibrillator

Location of oxygen supply

Covid-19 risk mitigation plan

Numbers on site

Guidelines for riders, spectators, officials and helpers

Procedure to deal with infringements

Hand sanitisation available on site

Competition rules

Agreement for riders to use of their data

Set rule prohibiting the taking of drink and drugs and the riding under the influence of drink or drugs

Unsportmanlike behaviour



IWWF rules set categories you can use [LINK] but you may want to flex these

Minimum number of riders for category

3 per IWWF


Start and end buoys

 5 to 10m apart per IWWF

Cut off buoys

Set where it indicates the point after which the tow boat will not be able to get up to speed for a rider to continue his run in the second pass. Set wider than start and end buoys

Course length

370-400m per IWWF

Start of run

A rider's routine will start when he/she performs his/her first trick after the line of the start buoys. A rider's first trick will be scored if he/she leaves the crest of the wake after passing the line of the end buoys (Defined by the front foot leaving the wake)

End of run

A rider’s routine will end: when he/she falls for a second time or when he/she passes the end buoys. A rider's last trick will be scored if he/she leaves the crest of the wake before passing the line of the end buoys (Defined by the front foot leaving the wake)


Any rider who swims down the course or does underwater movements to gain advantage over a fellow competitor will not be picked up. The rider is not disqualified


Availability of sufficient fuel

Back up plan to deal with boat failure

Stand in boat, or on-site fix, or postpone event to a later date


The Chief Judge and the Chief Driver will determine the total additional weight in the boat. The amount of weight decided for each division should remain the same throughout the all event.


Each rider shall receive his choice of a constant speed through the course. The boat speed, assuming it is held constant before entering the course, is the rider's responsibility. The rider is allowed to adjust the speed of the boat during the routine.


Life vests

All riders must wear a life vest


Riders to provide own rope / use of club rope allowed


Rider responsible for own board/equipment and substitute in the event of damage


Rider to wear bib (if provided) 

Competition format

Two passes

End of run on completion of course or second* fall for wakeboarding.

*Second is per IWWF rules. For your comp you could choose to vary this for all or some categories e.g allowing three falls for Groms. Agree the falls number with your the Chief Judge


Decide whether you are going to run a heat system or go straight to Finals. If running heats decide how selected for final. If there are heats, decide whether you are running a Last Chance Qualifier round

Running order

 Decide on how to set running order


Scoring system


a) Subjective scoring system as per the IWWF rules [LINK]


b) Points based scoring system such as the UK Cutting Edge [ LINK]

Video review

Video footage should not be used to revolve disputes

Practice (if applicable)

How do riders sign up?


Time allocation

 And restrict to one slot per rider


 Have boat set up same as comp with same weight

Marketing / promotion

Put together your own marketing plan

Contact WakeboardUK and we’ll also promote your event

Ask riders and spectators to tag us in @ukwake on Instagram and @WakeboardUK on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll repost suitable content where we can


 Refer IWWF rules if necessary







  1. IWWF 2019 Boat Wakeboard Rules

  2. IWWF 2021 Official Wakesurf Rules

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