More about the Club
If you've ever fancied your hand at canoeing, in one of its many forms, we hope the Club will have something to offer you.
We are a fairly small, friendly, mixed club of enthusiastic canoeists, of all sorts of abilities, ages and interests. With about 40 members, we cater mainly for people based in the London area.
To become a member of the club you must also join (or already be a member of) CSSC Sports and Leisure (CSSC)*.
These notes should help to introduce the club and what it does, and to indicate how you can go about joining our activities.
*Anyone who is an employee in the public sector or of Royal Mail, BT, or companies carrying out ex-civil service work; or is a past employee of one of these organisations who is retired on pension is eligible to join CSSC direct. If you aren't in any of those categories (for example you are not in employment, are self-employed, or work in the private or voluntary sector) you can join CSSC by being nominated by a friend or relation who is an existing member.
Do you need previous experience?
No! We are always happy to welcome newcomers - complete beginners and experienced canoeists alike. Most of our members had done little canoeing before they joined. We don't require you to turn up every week for formal courses, but our qualified instructors are keen to help you progressively learn, at your own pace, coaching you as often as you are able to come along.
We provide opportunities for beginners to try out the sport and to develop their skills, under qualified supervision, both in the pool and on the river, according to the season. Some canoeing skills are easier to learn in a swimming pool - so we organise pool sessions during the winter in central London. Others benefit from plenty of space: paddling in a straight line is not quite as easy as it looks!
What do we get up to?
Although generally known in the UK as "canoeing" rather than "kayaking", most of our activities actually use "kayaks" - single-seater boats used with a double-bladed paddle - though we also have two open Canadian canoes (these are used kneeling or sitting, using a single-bladed paddle and can be paddled solo or with a crew of two).
New members are welcome to take part in any of the Club's activities, according to their experience and ability. We are primarily interested in recreational canoeing - this can take many forms, and we try to provide something to please everyone. A summary of the Club's calendar and trip reports are available on this web site; if you want further details we are always happy to send more detailed information to people who are interested in joining.
The Club meets weekly throughout the year on Tuesday evenings:
- During the winter, we meet in a central London pool - for training, practice and games!
- During the summer, we meet every week on the River Thames at Chiswick, based at the Civil Service Sports Ground. These evening trips are good fun, a good chance to meet socially, get a bit of exercise, and for beginners, learn the basic skills. Within two or three miles of Chiswick, there are a number of very decent pubs - useful for a quick break during the evening!
We also organise weekend meetings on the Thames, usually to the west of London (to areas such as Shepperton, Windsor or Henley), designed both to help beginners, and to provide practice in basic moving water skills.
But most of our organised activities focus on moving water: for example, touring on white water rivers - an increasingly popular activity nationwide in recent years - and sea kayaking (we organise several weekend or day trips every year, mainly during the summer). None of this necessarily needs as much skill as you might imagine, since many British rivers are interesting and scenic, rather than particularly difficult or dangerous.
We frequently organise longer touring trips on flat water, on local rivers or further afield.
Canoeing provides an unrivalled opportunity to get away from London at weekends and see different and beautiful parts of the country. Throughout the year, but principally during the autumn, winter and spring, we organise regular weekend trips away to white water rivers in Wales, the South West, northern England and so on, aiming to provide the variety to suit both experts and beginners; we also organise annual holidays, in the spring and/or summer, to areas such as Wales, Sweden and Scotland.
What equipment do you need?
The Club has a dozen or so general-purpose canoes available for members' use, plus paddles, buoyancy aids, spraydecks and helmets, kept at Chiswick, as well as some more specialised boats, and two Canadian canoes. The only thing which beginners need to provide, apart from enthusiasm, is suitable clothing. In the summer, this need be no more than shorts, T-shirt and gym shoes, plus a sweatshirt for cooler days, and a waterproof anorak or canoeing cagoule on chilly days or if it rains. For winter canoeing or moving water, a wetsuit ("long-john" and boots), with a cagoule, is normally used. A towel has been known to come in handy!
Beginners are advised not to buy equipment until they have had the chance to try it out, and to get expert advice (eg from the Club's more experienced members). There is a great variety of types of canoes and equipment available, and it is a shame to make mistakes over early purchases. For example, someone who wanted to specialise solely in flat water touring would look for a quite different type of canoe from that used for white water playboating. There is normally no urgency for new members to buy their own equipment.
What does it cost to join?
Our annual subscription is currently £30.00 per annum. You will also need to pay CSSC their annual subscription (£43.20 in May 2012). We do not expect newcomers to join until they have had the chance to meet us and have a go, but charges are made to all non-members taking part in Club activities, in respect of temporary membership. We also make small charges for the use of Club equipment, and for everyone using the pool.
If you'd like to join, or to add yourself to the Club's mailing list, then please download a copy of our Membership Form - (Adobe Acrobat format - 151.6KB), fill it in and post it to us (sorry - not by e-mail - we want your signature!).
If you would like further information, then just E-mail us - email@example.com... Other ways you can get in touch with us are summarised in the contact details section.
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