Relay teams of swimmers, board paddlers and ski paddlers compete on an Ironman course. The order of the legs is decided prior to the event.
The Taplin Relay event may be conducted in three person (one swimmer, one surf board and one surf ski paddler), six person (two competitors for each water leg), or four person (one competitor per water leg plus a beach sprinter to complete the race) variations.
Teams can be made of nine competitors including one surf boat crew, one swimmer, one surf board paddler, one surf ski paddler and one beach sprinter. The event is conducted over a course of a surf boat, a surf ski, a board, a swim and a beach sprint. The surf boat leg is always the first leg and the beach sprint always finishes the race. The order of the other legs is drawn by ballot. Each leg follows a course from the beach out to sea, rounding buoys and returning to tag the next leg competitor.
Teams of four, a surf board paddler, surf swimmer and two runners compete in this relay. The order of the water legs are drawn by ballot. The first competitor enters the water, rounds the buoys and returns to shore where they tag the first runner. The first runner rounds turning flags and tags the next competitor who round the buoys and tags the last runner. The last runner runs to the finish line.
This two-person event has a surf swimmer and a surf board paddler. The race commences with the swimmer swimming to their allocated buoy and then signalling back to the beach for their board paddler to come out and collect them. Once the paddler reaches the swimmer, the two paddle their board back to beach to the finish line.
Competitors sprint from the starting line on the beach into the surf to swim around a set of coloured buoys and return to shore. The finish line is between two flags set about 15m from the water.
Divisions for the surf race include Open, U19, U17, U15 and Masters. Race distance is 170m for U15-Open and 120m for Masters.
The Ironman/women race has a course consisting of a water leg (swim, surf ski or board), a run leg and another water leg finishing with a sprint to the line. The order of the water legs is decided prior to each carnival by random draw.