The following sections show the skills that are required for the various trips and activities that we undertake. This will allow new (and experienced) paddlers to understand what they need to learn and to take responsibility for their learning. We hope that this will ensure that all members attending trips are sufficiently skilled for the trip or activity planned.
Some trips are lead by instructors and are used for coaching purposes in which case the instructor will guide who the trip is most suitable for. Other activities are lead by other members of the club and are purely for recreational purposes, the skills card will enable them to know who is suitable for their trip.
Skills required for grade one trips
(This includes local rivers like the Wye, Avon and Severn or the canal. You need to be able to keep up with others, know what kit is required for the conditions on the day and be a safe member of the group )
- Be able to paddle in a straight line
- Be able to turn the boat in a current
- To have done a confident capsize drill
- Know how to be rescued after a capsize
- Be fit enough to paddle a reasonable distance (up to 6 miles / 9 km)
Skills required for surfing (in addition to grade one trip skills).
You will capsize surfing so will need to be confident exiting your boat and getting it to shore. You will need to be aware of other users on the surf and be able to avoid collisions. Providing the surf is small and the beach does not have rips this is a relatively safe activity for beginners. The conditions should be checked before leaving.
- Confident at capsizing and self rescue
- Be able to use a stern rudder
- Be able to use a low brace support stroke
- A reasonable level of fitness
Skills required for grade 2 (in addition to those above).
You will need to be able to use a range of moving water skills and be able to swim confidently in the event of a capsize. You will be able to read the water and compensate for the speed of the water.
- Confident with capsize in moving water and able to self rescue
- Breaking in and breaking out (in moving water)
- Ferry gliding
- Low brace turns and basic support strokes
Skills required for grade 3
You will have developed a range of moving water skills and have gained confidence in using these in faster flowing water and be able to navigate rapids with stoppers, pour overs, waves, rocks, drops and weirs. You will be able to capsize and swim in faster flowing water and be proactive in aiding your rescue.
- Confident breaking in and out in fast moving water
- Be able to use support strokes
- Be able to read the river, identify hazards and take evasive action
- Good ferry gliding on fast water
- Confident rescues
Skills required for Sea paddling
Skills required are dependent on conditions on the day. If it is windy with a significant swell and the potential for capsize, then a good level of fitness is required, good forward paddling technique and good support strokes (similar to grade 2 or 3 paddling). If it is calm and only a short trip then skills relevant to flat water paddling are required. Before undertaking a sea paddle you should read this from the RNLI.
Touring. Touring requires mainly the same skill level to grade one/flat trips. However touring trips can be quite long so require a good level of fitness.
- Be able to paddle 15 miles
- Know what kit to take on a long trip
Skills required for Marathon Racing.
This requires the ability to be self sufficient on flat water as paddlers will be kayaking their own pace and speed and often as individuals.
- Good forward paddling technique
- Able to self rescue
- Be able to recognise and avoid hazards on the river/course
- Be able to help rescue another paddler
Skills – the following gives an outline of the various paddle strokes and skills that can be learnt with Gloucester Canoe Club.
- Paddling forward in a straight line
- Paddling backward in a straight line
- Low brace turns
- High brace turns
- Stopping the boat
- Low brace support stroke
- High brace support stroke
- Sculling support
- Bow rudder
- Stern rudder
- Turn with bow rudder
- Ferry Glides
- Eskimo rescue
- Group rescue techniques
- Use of throwlines
- Use of stern rudder to surf
- Breaking in and out of a current
- Edging the boat
Get your personal Paddling Skills Card here.