When it's a 50
When it's NOT a 50
The competitor passes through the gate in the wrong direction - with or without a touch.
The first and last passes through the gate must be in the correct direction. In the example below, a paddler breaks out above the gate, reverses through it and then paddles out in the right direction. It's a 50, and it cannot be undone.
It's also a 50 if the paddler negotiates the gate in the correct direction, but then drops back through it and paddles away.
It is not a penalty if there is a movement in the wrong direction, provided that the paddler is going in the right direction at the start and finish of negotiation.
So a wash back, a bounce off a rock or the wind moving the gate back and forward during passage do not count as fifties.