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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.

This Girl Can

This Girl Can seeks to tell the real stories of women who get active or play sport in the way that’s right for them using images that show what activity really looks like in all its glory.

National Governing Bodies

British Canoeing

Contact Name
British Canoeing
Contact Email
Contact Telephone
0845 370 9500
Leeds Canoe Club

Leeds Canoe Club

Leeds is one of the premier canoe clubs in the Yorkshire region. The club was first established in 1947 and was the first to be set up in West Yorkshire. We are an extremely active club, with pool sessions, river sessions and river trips running every we

University Of Leeds Canoe Club

University Of Leeds Canoe Club

Pool sessions are every week on Monday evenings, and give you an opportunity to learn and improve skills for our weekly river trips on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Leeds Beckett University Canoe Club

Leeds Beckett University Canoe Club

The Leeds Met Kayak Club offers a wide range of kayaking from; adrenaline-pumping white water to technical slalom, tranquil canals and lakes, competitive kayak polo, awesome (duuude) kayak surfing or just a social chill-out in the pool and pub.

West Yorkshire Canoe Club

West Yorkshire Canoe Club

We are a family canoe and kayaking club, based in West Yorkshire, and run weekly pool sessions in Batley, Pontefract & Pugneys in Wakefield.

Leeds Trinity University

Leeds Trinity University

Leeds Trinity University offers a comprehensive Coach Education Programme and also offers it's students a fantastic Volunteer programme; which works alongside local community based organisations, companies and schools in line with offering their students

Pennine Canoe Club

Pennine Canoe Club

Youth (U18), 18-30, 30-50, 50+

Phil Scowcroft

Canoeing Development Officer (Yorkshire)



Phil Scowcroft

Development Officer (Yorkshire)

07894 396 484

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