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Rule Changes for USLA competition
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Post Rule Changes for USLA competition Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:58 am
It was brought to my attention by Tom Daly of Long Beach that there are various rule changes in USLA competition. Check the rules at Beach Flags has significant rule changes: basically no contact will be accepted.


Event description

From a prone starting position on the beach, competitors rise, turn and race to obtain a baton (beach flag) buried upright in the sand approximately 20 meters away. Since there are always fewer batons than competitors, those who fail to obtain a baton are eliminated.

Starting position: Competitors take their allotted positions, a minimum of 1.5 meters apart at the start line.

Competitors lie face down with their toes on the start line with heels together, hands on top of each other with fingertips to wrist and with the head up. Elbows must be extended forward so that the chest lies flat on the sand. The body’s mid-line should be 90 degrees to the start line. No scooping of the sand or digging, or digging in of the feet is permitted.

The start

Beach Flags start procedure is different from the procedure described in ILS Competition Manual (2005) Ocean Events 5.2 The Start. For Beach Flags, the start is as follows:

Prior to the start, a marshal shall:


Place competitors in the order as drawn for the run-through.

ii) Accompany competitors to the starting area to ensure they are positioned in proper order.

The referee shall:

i) Check that all officials, judges and equipment are in position.

ii) Signal the official start of each race with a long whistle indicating that the competitors should take their positions on the start line.

iii) Signal the starter that the competitors are under the starter’s control.

The starter shall be positioned out of view of the competitors.

On the starter’s “Competitors Ready” command, competitors shall assume the starting position as described.

On the starter’s “Heads Down” command, competitors – at once and without delay – shall place their chins on their hands.


After a deliberate pause and when all competitors are stationary, the starter shall signal the start with a whistle blast.


ii) At the start signal, competitors shall rise to their feet and race to obtain a baton.

Starting infringements: The following behaviors are starting infringements in Beach Flags, and shall result in a starting infringement warning:


Failure to comply with the starter’s commands within a reasonable time.

ii) Lifting any part of the body from the sand, or commencing any starting motion after the starter’s “Heads down” command and prior to the start signal.

After 1 starting infringement, any competitor who subsequently commits a starting infringement shall be eliminated, regardless of whether or not the competitor previously infringed the start.

Competitors eliminated from the event shall retain the point score and/or placing as at that time in the event.

If a competitor is disqualified or eliminated, the remaining competitors and batons shall be realigned with no re-draw of positions. The run-through shall continue with the current starting infringement in force until a fair start is effected.


• Competitors are not permitted to “deliberately impede” the progress of another competitor (See Deliberate Impedance in Disqualification.)

• Competitors are not permitted to pick up more than 1 baton.

Draw for positions: There shall be a preliminary draw for positions and further draws after each round. In semi-finals and finals when contestants have been reduced to 8, there shall be a draw for positions after each run-through.

Number of competitors eliminated: The referee shall determine the number of competitors to be eliminated in each run-through of each heat. No more than 3 competitors may be eliminated in any 1 run-through. In semi-finals and finals, no more than 1 competitor can be eliminated in any run-through.

Run-offs: A run-off between the competitors involved shall be called if 2 or more competitors hold the same baton, and judges cannot determine which competitor’s hand grasped the baton first – regardless of the hand position on the baton.

The course

As shown in the following diagram, the course shall be approximately 20 meters from the start line to the batons, and wide enough to provide for a minimum spacing of 1.5 meters between each of up to 16 competitors.

The start line shall be designated at each end by poles, 2 meters high.

Batons shall be positioned in line parallel to the start line, and so that a “perpendicular line” between any 2 adjacent competitors shall pass approximately through a baton.

Equipment and apparel

Beach flags (batons): Flag shall be made of tubular material approximately 250mm to 300mm in length and between 12.5mm and 25mm in diameter. They shall be colored to facilitate sighting and have a contrasting colored stripe of approximately 40mm wide located some 100mm from one end.

See ILS Competition Manual (2005) Ocean Events Section 11 – Facility and Equipment Standards. Shorts and shirts, which comply with team uniform requirements, may be worn at the competitors’ discretion


The referee or referee’s appointee shall be positioned to maintain overall supervision.

The starter and start judges shall be placed at either end of the starting line to observe any starting infringements. Course judges shall be placed on either side of the course to observe run-throughs and participation infringements.

Finish judges shall be positioned a few meters behind the line of batons, to reclaim the baton from successful competitors and to set up the batons for the next run-through.


Each run-through or run-off shall be judged as a separate segment of this event. An infringement in one segment shall not be carried over and counted against a competitor in a subsequent segment.

A competitor eliminated from the event shall retain the point score and/or placing as at the time in the event. However, a competitor disqualified from the event shall lose all standing from the event.

In addition to the General Rules in ILS Competition Manual (2005) Ocean Events Section 3 and those outlined in 5.1 through 5.3, the following behavior shall result in disqualification:


Failure to complete the event as described and defined.


Deliberately impeding the progress of another competitor.


Picking up more than one baton.

Deliberate impedance: Any competitor who commits deliberate impedance on another competitor shall be disqualified from the event. Deliberate impedance is defined as “the deliberate use of hands, arms, feet or legs to impede another competitor’s progress”.

A competitor may otherwise use his or her body to improve his or her position in obtaining a flag. A competitor may negotiate the shoulder and or body in front of an opponent, but may not use hands, arms, feet or legs to obtain or remain in this position.

If a competitor legally obtains this front position and maintains normal running action, the competitor behind is obliged to go around the competitor in front.

A competitor may cross over in front of a slower competitor.

If 2 or more competitors are guilty of deliberate impedance, the competitor who first used hands, arms, feet or legs will be disqualified
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