We are running two introductory courses in May 2019 for young people and adults interested in learning how to paddle a kayak &/or canoe. The aim of our courses is to provide you with the skills to enjoy paddling in the local river/estuary conditions and then leading on to paddling at sea if you choose to continue paddling with us. The course could help you towards achieving a wish to: go fishing from a kayak, go on trips on canals, rivers, estuaries or at sea, take you friends/family for trips in suitable conditions, etc.
The course follows the NEW British Canoeing Paddle Awards syllabus comprising Start, Discover and ExploreAwards. The initial course lasting typically 3 to 6 sessions (depending on your self-progression) will result in the Start and Discover Awards in either kayak or canoe as you choose. Following this, if you decide you wish to continue paddling with us, we can help you achieve the Explore Award over the Summer.
Courses will be run by qualified BCU coaches. Each course comprises a series of weekly sessions which are held on a Tuesday or Friday evening on the Axe estuary in Axmouth/Seaton. To gain the Discover award may take you between 3 and 6 session as the award is gained based on your progress rate (rather than after a fixed number of sessions). You do not have to attend consecutive sessions and can miss the odd week if you have diary clashes (although progress is generally best if you can manage consecutive weeks). To continue on to the Explore Award you may choose to continue paddling and learning new skills though the Summer period (typically another 6 sessions depending on your progress again).
Note there is a separate Saturday Junior Academy aimed at young people with a separate information leaflet. If you are 11 to 15 years old, you may prefer the Saturday course.
Included in the course fee is Membership of the club for the year, enabling you to carry on coming along until summer sessions end in early September and on appropriate trips throughout the year; during these additional sessions we will do local paddles and help you gain more experience.
On the Application Form you will be asked to choose your preference of Kayak or Canoe. If you are unsure which to choose then the following general advice applies:
- Kayak - our kayaks are river/sea kayaks which you sit inside and you are given the skills to use the spraydecks to keep dry inside (they are not Sit-On kayaks). If you have a Sit-on and wish to use it for the course then please bring it along. If you choose ‘kayak’ you will be expected to perform a full capsize so you experience how to exit the kayak up-side-down and swim to shore safely, so you need to be happy to get your head wet. Max number per session is up to 12 kayaks.
- Canoe - these are open canoes (Canadian canoes) which you paddle with two people initially then move on to paddling them alone. They are paddled with a single ended paddle. Again you will be expected to learn how to capsize safely but in this case you do not get your head wet as you fall out before that happens in an open canoe. As a generalisation, canoeing tends to be more comfortable as you can move around more. Maximum number per session is up to 6 canoes
There is a tendency for the kayak option to be more popular but be assured that it does not matter at this stage which you learn as transferring the skills to the other type of craft is very straightforward. So please do not worry if you have to learn to canoe first but would prefer kayak as we can easily transfer you after the course.
All participants must be able to swim 50 metres, although for assistance, buoyancy aids will be provided. Minimum Age is 11 years old. The club insurance covers third party liability but not personal accident.
You will need to bring along: - two sets of clothes (one for canoeing and one to travel home). For canoeing bring suitable clothing and shoes – for example: thin fleece, thermal top (man-made fibre), tracksuit bottoms, lace-up shoes you don’t mind getting wet. - a towel for a shower when you get off the water, - for those who wear glasses, something to tie them on (so they do not get lost in the river). We will provide all the other kit and equipment you need during the course.
On successful completion participants will gain a BC Discover Paddle Award Certificate (included within the course cost). With the inclusive summer membership, you can continue to attend and progress your skills, as well as take part in a number of trips which will be planned for the weekends. If you progress to the BC Explore Award, please note that there is an additional fee for the Explore certificate (£8) payable to British Canoeing.
There is an Information Sheet for use during the course here:
Here are copies of the British Canoeing Paddle Award leaflets: