So you want to start canoeing but don’t know where to begin? Well, before you search Gumtree for your perfect hull we suggest you get to grips with the basics, learn a bit about your new watersport hobby and find a fantastic local group of like-minded beginners!
What is a Canoe?
Don’t know your kayaks from your canoes? Don’t worry it isn’t actually that complicated and we have a few beginners tips that will help impress your water-loving new friends!
A canoe is usually an open-hulled boat (your legs have no cover, e.g. if it rains they get wet!) that is propelled using a single-blade paddle. This is the key bit; if the boat is designed to be used with a single-blade paddle, it is a canoe. Some small racing canoes have a closed hull. A canoe can have one or more paddler, and you can paddle either on one knee, both knees or sometimes seated.
The type of canoe can be denoted by a series of letters followed by a number. For beginners, this can sound confusing but in reality, it is rather simple. For example:
- OC1 – An ‘OC1’ is an open canoe designed for one person. OC stands for ‘Open Canoe’, so your legs are uncovered.
- C2 – A ‘C2’ is a two-person canoe with a closed cockpit. The ‘C’ denotes that it is a closed boat.
EXTRA READING – A kayak is a seated boat where you use a two-blade paddle to propel yourself forward. Typically these have a spray deck or cover to keep water out of the cockpit.
Where Can I Canoe?
Anywhere with water! But where you go should depend on your ability, for example, beginners should start with lakes and calm rivers, intermediate canoers can move on to faster rivers and gentle sections of the sea.
Advance canoers can practically go anywhere, like across the Atlantic Ocean. Check out Team GB’s Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott win gold at the 2012 Olympics to see what is really possible in a canoe!
For beginners we recommend finding a nearby club, the sport can be costly initially, so you want to try out a group several times before committing to buying all the equipment.
For some people, this is enough of a fix anyway, after all not everyone wants a shed full of canoes! Below are a few well-known UK clubs to get you started!
Cuckmere Valley is an incredibly scenic section of countryside located in Sussex. Here you can try out a wide range of watersports and outdoor activities. Why you are there you can also check out Seven Sisters? Visit https://www.buzzactive.org.uk/ for more information!
There is no shortage of places to try canoeing on the Thames, so why not take in some of London’s most historic landmarks as you learn a new skill? Canoe London have the low-down on all the best spots/clubs!
We haven’t forgotten about Wales, home to some of the most scenic locations in the UK, the Wye is about as tranquil as canoeing gets. It is also perfect for wildlife lovers! Check out Canoe The Wye for more information.
The Lake District
This one goes without saying, home to the deepest and largest lakes in England, the UNESCO World Heritage site is a perfect holiday location. With thousands of walks, cycle tracks and numerous water sports locations you’ll have no shortage of activities to fill your week! Visit the Parks website for more info.