In UCC Canoe club we have members from all backgrounds with all different capabilities so when you join us we ask you your experience of kayaking. The vast majority of our new members have little to no experience of kayaking so no previous experience is required. Kayaking is then taught to you by past and present members of the club at no cost to you with all of the gear also being provided free of charge. Our goal is to train you to a high level of competency on the river in your first year with you being able to pass on those skills learn to new members during the following year.

Training takes place on Wednesdays in the Mardyke arena pool from 10.30pm to 11.30pm and on Fridays, meeting at the sheds just inside the drive-in entrance to the Mardyke at 2.15pm before getting on the river lee.

At the pool sessions we will go through your previous experience briefly before we start teaching you. We start with the basics, forward and backwards paddling, wet exits (leaving your boat when you capsize) and just getting you used to the feeling of being in a boat. We will also explain the basics such as how to hold a paddle, how to get in and out of a boat and the difference between the bow and stern of the boats. You will progress from here as the weeks go on and the skills you learn in the pool will be transferred to the river session on Fridays where you will be taught moving water skills. These skills all come together when we head out on river trips and you get to see the real meaning of whitewater.

Forward and backward paddling are step one on the ladder we hope to bring you on getting you to as highly skilled level as possible. Throughout the following weeks we teach you more and more with a view to all of our new paddlers reaching level Two proficiency before Christmas. Last year we had 20 level Two paddlers successfully passed having only started paddling in September.

Once your level Two is complete we start teaching all of your level Three skills with a view to you reaching level Three kayaking proficiency during your second year in the club. You will have been taught most, if not all, of the skills you need to pass this assessment it’ll just be a case of fine tuning over the Summer and when you are back in college before we put you forward to be assessed.