Build Your Own Boat Competition

If you’ve ever had nautical dreams of steering a finely crafted ship through challenging seas, here’s your chance. The Build Your Own Boat Competition puts hand crafted vessels to the test down our man-made whitewater channel featuring class II, III and IV rapids. Judging will be based on the crowd reaction, creativity and seaworthy-ness of each boat, with the winning team’s name joining the ranks of past champions on the coveted BYOB rock and blade trophy. Come for the action and stay a while for the prized commentating and libations of Whitewater’s Fall Festival.

Event Details:

  • Date – Saturday, October 5, 2019
  • Time – 12:00pm


  • $40 – Pre-registration through October 3
  • Note: There is a 40 boat cap for this event. First come, first serve during registration.


Friday, October 4

  • 4:00pm – 8:00pm – Mandatory check-in, boat drop off, float test, and style judging at the Kayak Center
    • Note: Typical parking fees apply
    • You do not have to show up in full costume but it is helpful in your score.
    • You will get wet during the mandatory float test

Saturday, October 5

  • 12:00pm – BYOB Competition begins
  • 4:00pm – BYOB Competition ends


  • Drop off location: Kayak Center & Competition Channel river right (See schedule above for times)
  • All boats will check in at the Kayak Center and proceed to assigned location
  • Vehicular access is limited to the Kayak Center only. No vehicles will be allowed past the Kayak Center.


  • Teams may consist of 1-4 people.
  • All participants must be ages 16+.
  • Boats will be ranked based on style. Funky, creative costumes and teams of four are encouraged. Remember, you must be able to swim in your costume (no masks).


  • Style: Boats will be ranked based on creativity, design and theme
  • Completion: Boats that are not able to navigate the entire length of the competition channel with the entire team “mostly on the boat” will not be eligible for the overall award
    • Boats that do not complete the competition channel are still eligible for the Style Award and the Fan’s Choice Award
  • Fan’s Choice: Boat’s will be ranked based on fan’s reaction throughout the event


  • All crafts must be human powered.
  • Everything must float.
  • Craft must not exceed 10′ wide x 10′ long x 5′ tall.
  • Rope sections may be no longer than 4′ and must be tied tightly/securely against some part of the craft’s structure (no open loops)
  • No enclosures or compartments on the craft
  • 150 lbs. maximum
  • The following items cannot be used:
    • Metal objects
    • Sharp objects
    • Straps or devices that hold you to the craft (participants must be able to exit at any time)
    • Manufactured crafts designed for whitewater (rafts, kayaks, duckies, riverboards, SUP, etc.)
    • Wood (plywood, boards etc.) over 1/4 inch thick
  • Pool toys, floats, etc. are okay.
  • Participants must be prepared to swim the length of the channel unaided and must wear the PFD and helmet provided by the USNWC.

Specific build questions should be sent to the Race Director at



Awards will be given to top team in each of the following categories

  • Overall Winner (based on style and completion as outlined in the “Scoring” section above)
    • Team name included on the B.Y.O.B. winner’s trophy (kept at the USNWC)
  • Style Award (based on creativity, design and theme only)
  • Fan’s Choice Award (based on audience’s vote)

2018 Results:

  • Overall Winner – Owensby Boatworx
  • Style – Owensby Boatworx
  • Fan’s Choice – The Pip Heads
  • Brewery Edition – Hyde Brewing

2017 Results:

  • Overall Winner – Brother’s Boenisch
  • Style – The Beatles
  • Fan’s Choice – The Jenny



Additional Event Info:

  • Interested in volunteering? Please contact the Race Director at
  • Whitewater Race Series Refund and Transfer Policy:
    • Race Registration is non-refundable
    • A 100% registration transfer must be requested 2 months (or more) in advance of race day via
    • A 50% registration transfer must be requested 1 month (or more) in advance of race day via
    • Registration transfers are only applicable to the same race the following year
  • All purchased Whitewater Race Series add-on gear must be collected during packet pick-up. Items will not be shipped.
    • If the purchased add-on items are unable to be picked up during packet pick-up, items will be held at OUTFITTERS for pick-up for one week from the date of the event (seven days)
    • It is the participant’s responsibility to email to arrange pick-up
    • After seven days, all unclaimed items will be donated
  • Participants not present for awards may collect their award from OUTFITTERS within two months of the race date. Items not collected within this time frame will be donated.
    • Items cannot be shipped
    • Participants must email to arrange award pick-up
    • Typical parking fees apply
  • All participants must sign the USNWC waiver before participating
  • Restrooms are located at the main USNWC River Center and the Pump House Biergarten
  • Locker rooms/showers are located at the main USNWC River Center
  • Event will proceed rain or shine unless conditions are deemed unsafe by the Race Director
  • All guests are required to pay a $6 parking fee at the USNWC unless guest has an annual parking pass. Annual parking passes are available through the USNWC for $50