Get close to the water with paddle powered activities. There’s something for everyone, whether it is adventuring, keeping fit or competing.


This is one of the most common and cheapest ways of getting on the water. With over 3 million people get out on the water in the UK every year, we bet you know someone who likes canoeing – why not ask if you can join them on the water?

Canoeing is a great way to escape and visit places that are normally hard to reach by foot or car, as well as being healthy exercise and a fun activity to enjoy with friends and family of all ages and fitness levels. To get started you don’t need any expensive equipment, know any special language or to be that fit!

Canoes are different from kayaks, in that they are open top, have no seats and you paddle them by using single-ended paddles. They are ideal for family canoeing, canal and river touring and can carry several paddlers and equipment. They are often referred to as ‘Canadian Canoes’ because of the likeness to canoes used by American Indians.


Kayaks are hugely versatile and you can find an activity to suit your interests whether it’s day trips, touring, expeditions, polo, slalom, whitewater and surfing – there is something for everyone! If you want to escape from the bustle of modern life, why not use a kayak to go touring and explore the places that are otherwise hard to access by foot? But if you’re more after an adrenaline rush – how about whitewater kayaking, which involves taking your kayak down rapids?

There are many different ways you can take part in this activity:

Recreational Kayaking – designed for the casual paddler interested in a peaceful paddle on a flat water river or lake and one of the most common ways to learn kayaking.

Sea Kayaking – takes place against the elements and the waves.

Surf Kayaking – similar to surfing and the boats are flat-bottomed and have a flat deck, that enables them to respond well to waves.

Kayak Fishing – paddlers use a specially adapted kayak that includes features such as hatches, built-in rod holders, catch bags and equipment mounts.

White Water Kayaking – involves navigating rough stretches of river and rapids. The boats tend to be a rounded shape for maximum buoyancy and beginners are able to learn the basics in a month or two.

Freestyle Kayaking – paddlers perform tricks and stunts on and under the surface of the water using especially designed boats.

Slalom Kayaking – similar to white water kayaking but paddlers must complete a course consisting of sets of two poles (‘gates’) suspended above the water, without making mistakes.

Marathon Kayaking – involves paddling 26 miles on flat water.

Canoe Polo – despite its name, this sport actually uses a kayak and teams (of five players) trying to score goals against the other.   

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the fastest growing watersports in the UK and is booming in places like Australia and the USA. It is similar to surfing but easier as the rider stands up on a long, wide board and uses a long paddle to propel themselves across the water.

It’s not all about whitewater, SUP is a great way to explore the thousands of miles of rivers and canals that the UK has to offer. The paddle makes it easier and quicker to get up to speed and the rider can see more from the standing position, enjoying great views of the British countryside and coast.

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