Keep Up To Date
All of our planned and impromptu activites are arranged on Facebook and Yahoo Groups. Check them out for the latest happenings! Also check out the club calendar for scheduled events.
Want to come and have a chat? Our clubhouse is located directly under the Marlow side of Marlow Bridge (brown wood walls). There will be someone there at about 09:30 every Sunday. See the contact page for a map.
Paddlesport at Marlow
They say that variety is the spice of life and we certainly subscribe to that! Paddling can range from gently cruising along the Thames on a warm summer evening listening to the wildlife and looking for a place to camp lining up your last stroke on the lip of a 50ft waterfall and feeling the boat accelerate downwards.
At Marlow you will have to the opportunity to do whichever branches of paddlesport appeals to you. To give you a flavour of what you can do, keep reading.
There are not many chances in the 21st Century to truly explore, but you truly can go where very few humans have ever set foot through whitewater kayaking; from deep, forbidden gorges in Chile to remote mountains in Scotland, whitewater gives us a reason to go on engrossing adventures.
Of course, getting to that level requires a lot of skill and not everyone will want to run the risks of extreme whitewater and first descents. But that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a go!
During the whitewater season (normally October to March in the UK) Marlow runs a trip a month to the main British paddling destinations of Dartmoor, South Wales and North Wales. Sure it might be a bit cold that time of year, but the fact that people ignore this and keep coming back for more should tell you something ;).
Whitewater is graded between Grades 1 (it’s moving, just) and 6 (your mother wouldn’t approve!) and club trips build from Grade 1 up to about Grade 3 with a bit of Grade 4. This gives you a chance to experience (and get hooked!) on the thrill of navigating down rivers and slowly build your skill and confidence. All club trips have coaches and river leaders on hand to help you and ensure safety.
Once you have got the hang of whitewater, you can try coming on club “peer” trips where there is no official coaching cover, but the whole group will be catered for.
By this stage, you should be pretty good and ready for a challenge. The club run a week long away trip each year to various locations. Recent trips have been to places such as Scotland, Austria and France. If you are feeling really brave, how about trying whitewater in a canoe instead of a kayak? It requires a lot more skill, but you will also get a lot of admiring looks from fellow paddlers!
Ready for a real adventure now? Club members organise their own trips to places which really can be considered an adventure such as the wilds of British Columbia, the high mountains of Nepal or the hidden valley of Italy. Get friendly with the whitewater crew and get involved!
All that whitewater not sounding appealing? How about trying out touring? The club runs regular day tours and occasional longer trips using both touring kayaks and open canoes. It’s both relaxing and interesting cruising down lakes and rivers as you get a different perspective on the landscape and can often sneak up on wildlife easier than when on foot.
Depending on the group and weather, we might stop at a nice pub for a spot of lunch, or be adventurous and try to cook something by the side of the river.
Touring also lends itself to a camping and “bushcraft” as touring canoes and kayaks give you a platform to carry a lot of gear with you on a trip. We organise ad hoc camping trips when the weather is good in the summer. Paddling is only half the fun on these trips; messing with hammocks, campfires and cooking is definitely not a necessity at the end of the day, but an integral part of the experience.
Sea kayaking combines some elements of touring and some of whitewater. It allows you to get up close to stunning coasts such as North Cornwall or even Greenland’s ice sheets. Sea kayaks are distinctively long with pointed ends to help efficiently cut through the sea and waves allowing you to travel much quicker (and therefore further) than you could in a whitewater kayak or canoe.
Around the UK, our seas have a tendency to be a little choppy at times! Rolling with the swell and “coast dodging” are all part of the fun with sea kayaking, but the longer boats allow for dry compartments where you can safely store kit such as tents and cookware.
There is also a lot more theory involved in learning to sea kayak as you have to be able to understand tides, radios and flares (just in case). This obviously takes a bit of learning, but the rewards of being able to access deserted beaches and having seals pop their heads up right next to you are well worth it!
Pure fun and showing off! Not a bad aim for a sport really, but this is basically what freestyle is all about. Looping, spinning, getting huge air and the occasional McNasty are the what its all about with freestyle.
We are lucky enough to be only 2 miles from Hurley Weir, an international class freestyle wave which runs for a good proportion of the year (especially with the wet summers of late!). This is a perfect place to not only learn freestyle moves but improve your boat control, reactions and water reading skills in a very safe environment.
Despite freestyle being one of the more competitive areas of paddle sport, it still maintains a very friendly atmosphere. Its not uncommon for you to be happily surfing away on Hurley and get a world champion come over unprompted and give you some tips on how to improve your technique!
It might not be quite the same level of adventure as other areas of paddle sport, but you still get that feeling of everything else in the world falling into insignificance as your boat drops onto a wave and the power of the water rushes under the hull. Be warned, this can be rather addictive!
Why not give it a go? Marlow CC memebers can be found at Hurley almost constantly when it is running and they will be more than happy to help you out!
Does what it says on the tin! Ultra efficient boats designed to go as fast and as far as possible.
You may have seen K1 / K2 (1 / 2 person kayak) and even K4 racing at the Olympics. This type of sprint racing is certainly one form of marathon boating, but many paddlers do it for ultra-endurance challenges such as the annual Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race. This is a 125 mile non-stop race which has become almost legendary among canoeists. Marlow CC normally has one or two people brave enough to attempt it every year.
As a club we are geared to recreational canoeing, however in the summer there is generally a small group of people who paddle marathon boats in the evenings for fitness and we have several members who take our boats out individually, mainly for fitness and training, but also for the occasional race.