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.

Kayaking

Sea Kayaking

Open Canoeing

Surf Kayaking

Canoeing for People with Disabilities

Rafting

Lifeguards


 

Kayaking

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.

 

Sea Kayaking

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.

 

Open Canoeing

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.

 

Surf Kayaking

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 courses.

If you require any information as a club or individual please contact the WCA office.

 

Rafting

If you have never rafted, you are missing out on a great experience. Those 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 last year.

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 it!

Contact:   Canolfan Tryweryn. Tel: 01678 521083

 

Lifeguards

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.

Objectives:

  • 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.

 

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