Canoeing - Recreation
Recreational and competitive canoeing represent the two major aspects of
canoeing activities. As either a sport or recreation, canoeing can in some form
and at some level be enjoyed by everyone regardless of gender, age or ability.
Recreational canoeing is where most canoeists become initially acquainted
with the activity - and is consequently the source from which the competitive
disciplines attract the majority of their participants. Within what is broadly
termed recreational canoeing is a range of non-competitive canoeing disciplines
from sea kayaking through touring to white water canoeing as well as coaching
and training activities.
The majority of canoeists throughout the country take part in this discipline
of canoeing. The people who paddle rivers for recreation are a varied group in
age, experience, and outlook. Every river trip presents the participant with new
challenges. Equally, the touring of estuaries and lowland rivers brings with it
great rewards in being as one with nature and history.
Learning to improve skill levels or increase control on familiar water is an
ongoing process and makes river kayaking an activity for life. You can never
master the activity because there are always new rivers and new challenges.
Wales is a country that is surrounded by some of the most spectacular
coastlines and blessed with a splendid variety of islands. Sea kayaking appeals
in many ways. It can be a way of leaving a busy week behind, slipping away
through a still sea, the only sound being your paddle splash. To canoe amongst
uninhabited islands, to pass under daunting sea cliffs and camp beside deserted
villages is a great way to spend some time.
On the Welsh coastline you will find spectacular sea arches, dramatic caves,
towering cliffs and white beaches which have been fashioned by the constant
buffeting of the Irish Sea. The great attraction of sea kayaking is the
opportunity it gives to journey amongst this wilderness with the freedom to
explore wherever the mood takes us. At other times the appeal can be the
exhilaration of crashing through rough seas, the feeling of urging your kayak up
a steep wave face towards the curling crest, willing it not to break before you
reach the top.
The Canoe or Open Canoe is the boat that gave its name to our entire sport,
kayaking and all. It is immediately distinguishable from a kayak because it is
paddled using a single blade. The canoe originated with the native tribes of
North America and was traditionally made by building a cedar frame inside a
birch bark skin. The original designs were used for a wide range of purposes.
Trade canoes of between 25’ and 40’ negotiated the rivers and lakes of Canada,
opening and creating an entire country, other designs ranged from boats to
harvest wild rice from through to fast and sleek war canoes.
Nowadays, most canoes are made from plastic, fibreglass or aluminium. The
canoe is particularly suited to exploring the inland waterways and estuaries of
our country. One attraction of this form of canoeing is that the whole family
can enjoy it. lncreasingly the canoe is being seen on the white water rivers, a
return to its Canadian traditions.
Surfing is exhilarating to participate in and a spectacular sport to watch.
The sheer enjoyment of feeling the force of the surging sea and learning to
harness its power is a feeling which is difficult to surpass. To feel your boat
being lifted by a large green swell, to experience the wave steepen underneath
as you gradually pick up speed and take control, carving out turns as you cut
across the steep face of the wave - pure magic.
The adrenaline rush of planing down the face of a wave is enough for some.
Others want to be screaming down the largest wave possible, performing the most
radical manoeuvres on the most powerful section of that wave, seeking to
outperform their friends. This is the basis of paddle surfing competitions.
Contact Bill Beynon at WLA for more information regarding recreational surfing,
or the WCA Surf committee for information on competitive surfing.
Canoeing for People with Disabilities
Canoeing is a sport that is entirely different from anything a person with a
disability has thought about, in fact an activity that most-able bodied people
would never have considered. Given the correct coaching and adaptability of
equipment, it is possible for all to enjoy its many facets.
The WCA encourages a positive and equitable approach to paddling for those
people that have a disability. As far as possible it aims to integrate paddlers
into local clubs and centres who in turn have access to equipment and training
If you require any information as a club or individual please contact the WCA
If you have never rafted, you are missing out on a great experience.
big rubber inflatables are actually under control when in trained hands, and this
is where the specialist committee for rafting has done some hard work over the
2001 saw the rafting coaching scheme come into line with other
paddlesport disciplines in Wales.
Many members will have realised
over the last few years that rafting does not have to be a commercial activity
and increasingly people are taking advantage of the many training opportunities
and events organised by the committee. Anyone can take part in rafting as crew
in the hands of a qualified guide, who will gently coax the best out of you from
the back (that’s why the guide has a bigger paddle than anybody else). So get
together with some good friends and have fun with rubber - you will not regret
Contact: Canolfan Tryweryn. Tel: 01678 521083
The Lifeguards are a specialist committee of the WCA. They are responsible
for the management and administration of Canoe Lifeguarding Services, aiming to
foster and provide support for specialised water rescue services using canoes on
both inland and coastal waters. Canoeing/Lifeguarding standards are maintained
and continually evaluated in-line with the BCU.
- Organise and operate Canoe Lifeguard Services
- Develop coastal and inland water rescue techniques
- Liaise with National organisations and agencies on Lifesaving and Lifeguarding
- Act as a rescue and safety co-ordinating agency for the BCU
The officers of the BCU Lifeguards at national
and regional (English and Welsh) level set a high standard of canoeing, safety
and rescue. They promote, train and advise groups within the UK or overseas in
all aspects of safety and rescue pertaining to canoeing; may advise and assist
Local Authorities in times of emergency; provide safety cover when requested and
may organise escorts and give advice to leaders and organisers for canoe
expeditions, long distance swims, etc.
The Lifeguards are committed to development and technical research of rescue
canoes, safety and rescue equipment for canoeists and canoe lifeguards,
providing authority for the purchase of official BCU Lifeguards equipment and
Rescue Kayaks by qualified persons. They formulate, administer and provide
training and assessment for BCU Lifeguard awards from the new Canoe Safety Test
through to Canoe Lifeguard Coach.