Canoeing Banner
Canoeing Icon


Canoeing involves using a paddle to move across the water in a narrow vessel.

An Overview of Canoeing

Canoeing offers "something for everyone!" Waterways are the arteries of our island nation! There are different types of canoeing including; Canoe Slalom, Freestyle Kayaking, Canoe Sailing, Polo, Sea Kayaking, Sprint Racing and more!

To promote and develop canoeing for disabled people, the British Canoe Union & Canoe England use the concept and term Paddle-Ability to address the issue of participation in canoe sport and canoe recreation. Paddle-Ability focuses on the individuals' ability in canoeing rather than disability.

In all forms of kayaking you use a double bladed paddle and will be in a seated position with your legs in front of you.

Canoes and kayaks vary greatly in design, shape and size dependant on the type of canoeing, the type of water and the size of craft suitable for you. But if you are new to the sport don't worry about this level of detail, the best thing to do is go along to a local club or centre, or try one of our starter sessions and you'll learn about the various styles of canoes and kayak out on your session.


  • Uses most of the muscles in the arms and legs
  • Increased in upper arm, forearm and chest circumference and grip strength.


Membership fees vary from club to club and a one day introduction to paddle sports can cost around £60


If you haven't canoed before, a starter course is a good idea. There are clubs and watersports centres all over the United Kingdom, with some offering slalom teaching for mixed groups or for novices.


Exact equipment will vary depending on the discipline but the basics include a canoe/kayak, paddle, helmet and life jacket.


  • The kayak is thought to have originated from Greenland as a tool for hunting, fishing and transportation, while the canoe was used all over the world as a method of transportation, trade and war.
  • Canoe Slalom began in Switzerland in 1932 and was first performed on flat water before later switching to white-water rapids.

Find Canoeing Activities Near You

Use the search below to find local activities near you.

This Girl Can

Tue, 01 Sep 2020

No one gets to choose how you exercise other than you. Your body, your call. And whatever that looks like, we think it’s worth celebrating.

National Governing Bodies

British Canoeing

Contact Name
British Canoeing
Contact Email
Contact Telephone
0845 370 9500
DUCKS Canoe and Kayak club

DUCKS Canoe and Kayak club

A friendly and welcoming paddling club who meet at Longham Lakes every week and some weekends to paddle our fleet of club kayaks and canoes either on the reservoir at Longham or local rivers or oceans.


Dorset Disabled Canoe Unit

A British Canoeing affiliated club to encourage and promote kayaking and canoeing for disabled paddlers.

Lifeline Training

Lifeline Training

Proving First Aid training and Qualifications to all industries, specialising in Sports and Education sector.

Wessex Coach Education

Wessex Coach Education

UK Coaching Partner Centre - delivering UK Coaching workshops including, Safeguarding & Protecting Children.
FA Centre - delivering FA Safeguarding Children Workshops

Bournemouth Outrigger Canoe Club

Bournemouth Outrigger Canoe Club

Club to promote the sport of outrigger canoeing within the local community.

Always open for new members to join us.

Southbourne Canoe Club

Southbourne Canoe Club

A small and family friendly canoe and kayak club based on the south coast in Bournemouth.

Pink Champagne Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon boat team

Pink Champagne Breast Cancer Survivors Dragon boat team

Encourage individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to lead full and active lives.
Demonstrate the benefits of an active lifestyle through the sport of dragon boat racing.
Raise Awareness of breast cancer.
Provide Support and fellowship to

Poole Harbour Canoe Club

Poole Harbour Canoe Club

A friendly club, promoting Canoeing, Kayaking and Paddlesports.
From beginner to expert, you'll be welcomed and helped to find lots of opportunities for paddling locally, nationally and abroad.
We welcome all ages and abilities, catering for recreation

Michael Sims

Canoeing Development Officer