What equipment / clothing do I need?
You don’t need any special equipment to start canoeing. We will supply suitable boats, paddles and buoyancy aids (lifejackets basically). You should definitely bring a spare set of clothes in case you get wet (or very wet). For when you are on the water, you should bring clothes suitable for the weather including a waterproof anorak if wet, hats if cold, shorts and a t-shirt if warm. You will want some sort of footwear, an old pair of trainers is fine or some sort of rubber beach footwear is ideal. Unless its boiling we recommend you don’t wear cotton as it is very cold and clingy when wet – artificial fibre is much better.
What facilities do you have?
We have a club house down by the River Severn near the racecourse. We have boat storage, a small gym, hot showers, changing rooms and a lounge.
So what sort of canoeing is this?
We are a flat water club i.e. members normally paddle rivers without significant rapids, rocks and gradients. We train on the River Severn in Worcester, where there are several miles of pleasant river between Diglis and Bevere locks. The focus tends to be on racing, touring and recreational paddling. If you are interested in white water paddling you would probably be better off at a local club that specialises in this, such as Wychavon or Cheltenham Canoe Clubs. Having said that many of our paddlers have been white water paddlers in the past. You will find paddlers mainly now paddling flat water boats who have paddled the Grand Canyon, competed in slalom and white water racing (up to GB standard), taken part in surf ski racing, sea kayaking, kayak surfing and descent racing. There is no shortage of expertise at the club!
If you live near Worcester, the advantage of paddling on the Severn is that it’s close! You can park near the club after work, be on the water in 20 minutes, paddle for an hour and then be off. If you want to paddle white water of any size, you will generally need to be prepared to travel, with Wales being the closest source of good water.
These photos may illustrate the difference …
What’s the difference between canoeing and kayaking?
A kayak is a relatively thin boat which is propelled by a paddle with a blade on each end like the pictures above. They can be long for cruising, racing or sea kayaking, or short for white water use. They can be made out of hard plastic, fibreglass, carbon fibre, canvas and lots of other things. Most kayaks are designed for one person (K1), but you can also get doubles for two people (K2) and those for four people (K4).
An open canoe, also known as a Canadian canoe, is (normally) a wider boat which is propelled using a short paddle with a blade at one end as shown in the photo below:
A canoe is either an open canoe or a kayak, i.e. practically anything you can paddle.
How expensive is canoeing?
Apart from the membership fee (which is a bargain at around £2 a week for an adult), it’s as expensive as you want it to be. If you want to buy a top of the range carbon fibre paddle and ‘vac bagged’ kayak you can spend several thousands. On the other hand if you are happy with the club’s boats and paddles you can spend practically nothing. Most people who get into canoeing end up buying some more suitable clothing, especially for when it gets a bit colder. It doesn’t have to be specialised canoe kit though, the sort of thing you might wear for running, cycling or football can be perfectly suitable. Later on, most canoeists buy their own paddles and eventually boat(s).
Do I have to be able to swim?
Yes, you need to be able to swim 50m wearing the clothes you will be paddling in.
I have a disability / health condition, can I go canoeing?
Mostly yes. Most important is that you tell your coach of anything that might affect your safety when canoeing. Do speak to us if you have any concerns.
Any other questions?