top of page

Paddle Start Award Course
Joining Instructions
Course Content
Updated August 2022

Please DOWNLOAD and Read the PDF Document

Thank you for your interest in our introduction to Racing Kayaks. We are going to deliver the syllabus through the British Canoeing Paddle ‘Start Award’.

To confirm your place you will need to have completed our on-line booking and made the Course Fee payment.


The sessions will take place at : Longridge Activity Centre, Quarry Wood Road, Marlow, SL7 1RE

In the event of adverse river conditions we may need to change the venue (or change the day) – we will endeavour to give as much notice as possible if this looks likely.


Important: Longridge Canoe Club operates independently to the Activity Centre, we just share the site.

> Sorry, dogs are not permitted anywhere on the Activity Centre site.

For the first session please aim to arrive about 10 minutes before the advertised session start time.

The sessions normally last about
60 to 90 minutes (for 3-session plans) or 3-4 hours  (for 1-session plan) - Depending on numbers and the weather.

We suggest that you park in the overflow car park - the 2nd car park when coming from the Marlow direction.

We do not have reserved parking but [subject to availability] we can provide you with a Parking Permit for the duration of the session or there is ‘pay & display’ available.

There is a 20-minute grace period which allows time for collecting and returning permits. If you do not collect a permit from us then you should use the ‘pay & display’ or ‘app pay’ (details on site).

Permits MUST be handed back before leaving - replacements for lost or missing permits are £60 each and will be charged for. Any parking charges or fines are completely beyond the control or influence of the Canoe Club - we do not own or operate the car parks.

> You do not need to go to the main Activity Centre Reception : we operate independently from them : come to us first.

Our meeting point is at the Canoe Club's boat shed, which can be found at the far east of the Activity Centre’s site (behind a large shipping container).

> So, from the overflow car park, stood with your back to the road, walk to the right and you will reach our boat shed area with green mesh gates.


Multiple thin layers are normally better than one thick layer.

You and your clothes WILL get wet. We recommend you bring a full change of clothes and a towel for afterwards. Please be ‘modest’ if changing by your car or in view of other people using the Activity Centre.


Please arrive changed ready for your session.  We suggest [late spring/summer/early autumn]:

> light-weight sports clothing, synthetic & lycra type materials are ideal: something that you might wear jogging or cycling should work well.
> something for your feet: thin neoprene beach footwear, or thick socks as minimum; less suitable are trainers. > for chilly/colder days, long-sleeve thermal tops & bottoms ("base layers") would also be advisable.
> having a light-weight cagoule can be useful all year round for warmth and protection from the wind.

> Cotton, jeans, woolly clothes, or other heavy clothes and heavy shoes/boots are NOT suitable.

There are changing rooms and showers in the Activity Centre’s main toilet block  [subject to availability and activity centre restictions in place on the day].


> Yourself
> A good attitude
> The clothes we suggest (see above)
> Head straps for glasses (if glasses are needed on water)
> Sun protection
> Water to drink (no alcohol at all, water/squash is better than fizzy drinks)

> Simple snacks

No valuables as far as possible. Car keys/essential valuables can be left in the padlocked boat shed - at your own risk.

> If you drop a smartphone or other valuables in the river you are unlikely to see them again!


Please listen to the session leader/coach at all times.

Let us know now and your coach know on the day, if

  • -  you have any illness, injury or condition that might have any implication for your activity;

  • -  you are unable to swim 25 metres or you have any fear of water.

    > You may only approach the water/riverbank/pontoon with the clear instruction to do so, and you must leave the water/river when asked to do so.
    > All instructions will be for your safety, the safety of those around you, to avoid damage to equipment and for everyone to get the best experience from the session.

    > Wearing of a Buoyancy Aid is compulsory for all participants, you will be provided with one to use.


It is possible that you will capsize (fall out of the boat) – it’s part of the fun! We will be on-hand to assist and you will be wearing a buoyancy aid. With the type of boats we use it is extremely easy to ‘exit’ the boat in the event of a capsize, so there is no need to have any fear of becoming trapped underwater.

Longridge Canoe Club is a Members’ Club, run on a volunteer basis. Whilst you may have paid a fee for your course that money covers the Club’s overheads, running costs and basic expenses for the coaching team. This means whilst safety is always still paramount we do otherwise operate with a slightly more relaxed approach, we ask the same in return with your expectations.


The Coach will care for your child on the water but we strongly suggest that you remain ‘on-site’ and contactable for the duration of the session.

Although the activity is fun & engaging for most children, some may be nervous or less keen or may become tired. We will not force any child to keep going if they really do not like it, become tired or uncomfortable (or misbehave) : in this case we will deliver them back to the meeting point and the parent must be available to receive & care for them.

> Of course we cannot leave any child unattended, therefore the whole session will pause for all children while we deal with one.

> If the group size reduces to one child then the session may be cancelled or the activity area will be restricted to being within sight of their parent and the parent must be present (there are safeguarding rules that restricts one-to-one contact with juniors).

We cannot assist your child with toilet visits or changing clothes, it is therefore comforting (certainly for younger children) that a parent is on-hand for this.

Please remember we are coaching a sporting activity, this is not a daycare, nanny service or summer/day camp facility. Parents assisting, where requested by the Coach, will enable juniors to have a more enjoyable time.


> For the land-based parts please allow plenty of space for children (and adults) to focus on the coach.
> For the water-based activity there are some viewing points where we get on/off the water, if you wish you can take photographs of your own participants from here. There is not a footpath to follow the whole of the coaching area that we use, so parts of the session may take place out of sight.

- please be aware that you will in the vicinity of deep flowing water. You are responsible for your own safety on and around the site - slips, trips and banging of head around the water is a real risk and can result in drowning. Please keep away from the edge of the river - we have adult buoyancy aids available to borrow on request for some added safety - please ask.

> Please remember, dogs are not allowed anywhere on the site.

> Other users share the site so you may be asked to return to our base if you wander to other areas.

We appreciate that there is a lot of information above, so please take your time to read it all carefully, but we have tried to cover all the important bits of information so that you get the most enjoyment from your visit.

The actual content may vary depending on conditons on the day and the needs of those attending the course.

The course may run as a series of shorter sessions over a number of visits or as one longer session. The arrangments will adapt for this.

Whilst we do everything possible to avoid changes to plans, we do have to react to unforeseen eventualities including weather/river conditions, safety or medical issues, the abilities of the participants and the availability of our volunteers. We will advise you of any significant changes with as much notice as we can.

PART 1 –

  • An introduction to the Club: who we are, how we are managed and how we operate.

  • An introduction to the racing kayaks/canoes and paddling equipment that we use.

  • Safety information about the river and what do if you capsize.

  • How to get in and out of a racing kayak/canoe.

  • The paddling stroke – what to do and not to do.

  • Subject to progression in the time available, a gentle paddle within a safe area all within about 500m of Club.



PART 2 –

  • Review the basics – getting in and out of the boat, paddling stroke, risk management on the river.

  • Capsizing – how to avoid it and what to do in the event that you do unfortunately capsize. Prepare to get

    wet in this part of the course.

  • Follow the leader – a gentle paddle to and from our skills practice area  (approximately 500 metres).

  • Emphasis on boat stability and the paddle stroke.


PART 3 –

  • Advancing the basics – getting in and out of the boat, paddling stroke, risk management on the river.

  • Taking your skills to the water – short sprint ‘races’ of 100 m but staying within control of your paddling

    stroke and your own limits within the boat.

  • An overview of the next steps with your paddling.

  • Questions and Answers.




On successful completion we can submit your details to British Canoeing and they will issue you with your

‘Start Award’ (optional & no extra cost). You will also get up-dates from British Canoeing that will be useful for your future paddling experiences.

bottom of page