Introductory courses

As a racing club we welcome new members with an interest in competitive paddle sport. Our four-session introductory courses are designed to teach you the main techniques and give you confidence in the boat. We have coaches dedicated specifically to beginner training who will guide and support you as you make your first strokes in kayaking.

These courses take place on Saturdays or in School holidays and run from April to September.

Following the introductory course many people apply to become full members. Your first year membership fee is a pro rata amount depending which month you join. A table showing the details is available here.   The following is a typical quote following an introductory course:

“…it was great to see such an enthusiastic, friendly and lively club… we both came away very impressed..”

FAQs

Are there any fitness pre-requisites?

Yes, we would like you to be able to swim at least 50 metres in light clothing should you capsize (and most people do at some time). We provide buoyancy aids, which we require you to wear when on the water. Additionally, all club boats have enough buoyancy to support you.

What should I wear?

For the majority of conditions, layers of light, fitted clothing that will dry quickly when wet are most suitable. Thermals and running clothes are ideal. Clothing that gets heavy when wet, like jeans and woollens, are unsuitable. No hoodies.  Wetsuits are not necessary. Do not bring valuables – there are no lockers available.

Beginners should bring:

  • Thin, quick drying shorts or leggings.
  • Thin quick drying T-shirts and long-sleeve tops.
  • Cagoule or other thin wind/waterproof top.
  • Cap/sunglasses (inexpensive!)
  • Aqua shoes, wetsuit socks or similar soft soled shoes (NOT trainers or crocs).
  • A change of clothes and footwear (you will get wet), a towel and shower kit.
  • Any cuts/wounds should be covered with a waterproof plaster whenever possible.

Are there any showers at the club?

Yes. We advise you to shower after each session and before you take any food or drink. It also warms you up after a session in cold weather! Although generally clean, the river may have some sand and mud, especially after rain and the banks are often muddy. Although extremely rare there are waterborne bacteri (eg Leptospirosis) which again make showering after contact with the water or the muddy banks sensible.

When are the introductory courses in 2017?

Dates are shown on the booking site – see the button above to see available dates. Courses run for four weeks on consecutive Saturdays or Sundays. Each session runs for about two and a half hours. If you have any questions or doubts, please do not hesitate to ask any club coach who will be happy to help you. If you would like any more information before you start, call us, e-mail us or come to the club on Thursday evening or on Saturday and we can discuss any queries you may have.

What does the course cover?

Click Intro Course Content for an outline of what is covered during each week of the course. Note this is a guide – the actual content may vary.

What is the minimum age?

We take children from age 9.

Can I do any BCU Star awards?

Yes. Following the Introductory Course you may do a BCU One-Star award.  The One Star assessment requires Open Boat (Canoe) skills as well as kayak skills.

What happens after the introductory course?

You can apply to become a full member and join a Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon development group where you can improve your paddling skills. 

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