Getting Started With Paddling

1st February 2023

There are so many routes into paddling that it can be difficult to know where to begin. What sort of craft do you want to paddle? What should you wear? How do I paddle forwards, turn, and stop? And many more questions may come up. So here is a quick guide that will answer some of the stand out questions, and get you out on the water.

What do I paddle?

Everything! If you are trying paddling for the first time give every craft a go. From kayaks to stand up paddleboards (SUPs). Take the chance to paddle every type of craft to find out which one is for you. Each one has their advantages and disadvantages. You may be more comfortable knelt up in a canoe, more balanced standing on a paddle board, or more efficient with two ends of a kayak paddle.

What do I wear?

This depends on when you are paddling, what you are paddling, and where you are paddling. Having some good thermals or neoprene layers will keep you warm in the colder and wetter months. In the summer you may want to swap the thermals for thinner UV protective layers. To help you decide what to wear, Go Paddling has some quick advice here.

Where can I paddle?

There are so many places available to paddle on in the UK, especially around Kent. From lakes and canals, to rivers and coasts. You can find all the places to paddle on the PaddlePoints page. A number of waterways do require a licence to access. The British Canoeing membership covers this licence and opens up over 4500km of UK water to paddle.

Who do I paddle with?

Your friends, family, pets, and the amazing wildlife around you. It is recommended that you alway have a paddle buddy, and let other know where you are heading to. If none of your friends or family fancy a paddle then take a look at the clubs that might be local to you. There are always friendly faces eager to be out on the water, so always someone to paddle with.

How do I learn to paddle?

There is a level of skill and technique involved when it comes to majestically cruising along the water. To get yourself started you may want to look at getting some instruction. British Canoeing has a network of delivery partners that are fully qualified to get you going. Going through some of the basics can save you time, allowing you to take in the amazing scenery of Kent from the water.

How do I stay safe?

You are always going to enjoy yourself more knowing you are safe. So read up on the latest safety advice, and maybe consider going on a course or two before you hit the waters on your own. Also check the weather forecast before heading out, that way you can be dressed appropriately and alter any plans where necessary.

Hopefully there we have covered some of the questions you have about how to get going with your own paddling journey. For further advice and help on getting paddling head over to the Go Paddling website below.

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