Welcome to Richmond Canoe Club

For information on 2022 adult courses please email lovekayaking@googlemail.com to be added to our mailing list, we will notify you when our next course dates have been confirmed. 

To see details of our current courses please click on the links below for adults of juniors.

  • Would you like to learn to kayak (one shaft with a paddle at each end) or canoe (one shaft with one paddle at the end)?
  • Are you interested in competitive paddle sports?
  • Do you want to be an active member of sports club?

Paddling at Richmond is enjoyable, relaxing, fulfiling and hard work – all at the same time.

As a racing club that paddles throughout the year and in ALL weathers we are looking to encourage people of all ages who are keen to take up kayaking and canoeing – ideally to compete in races at whatever level (and there are competitions for all abilities) – and are looking to become involved in the activities and running of the club.

Below you will find details about equipment required, membership, coaching and other FAQs. We have two starting groups – adults or juniors.

What you’ll need

Firstly, you must be able to swim at least 100 metres fully clothed.

It is important you wear the correct clothing when you come paddling. What you wear should not saturate with water if you fall in. If you do not have gear designed for water sports we recommend the following, depending on the conditions:

  • Pair of old trainers or plimsolls (You may well be standing in the river – your feet will get wet)
  • Tracksuit bottoms, leggings or shorts – Jeans or similar are not appropriate
  • T-shirt, sweatshirt, thermal top
  • Cagoule or a thin water proof and windproof top
  • Towel
  • You will get wet so you should have a change of clothes to put on after the session

You should also advise your coach of any medical conditions.

At busy times, particularly in the summer, we often have more people than we can accommodate. Whilst we will do all we can to get everyone on the water, there are no guarantees. Regrettably the decision as to who can paddle often has to be on the tow path. We are a member’s club with no commercial remit and are looking to develop paddlers in the long term, rather than support fair weather paddlers seeking summer activities. Once you decide you like the club, you can apply for membership.

Experienced racing paddlers moving to Richmond from another club can bypass this process.


Novice paddlers who have successfully completed the relevant courses may then apply for full club membership. New members must be signed off by their coach and all new applications are subject to formal approval at Committee. Please talk to your coach or to the membership secretary if you have any questions.

About Richmond Canoe Club

We do not rent out canoes or kayaks. We are a club made up of members but are always looking for new ones and so provide coach led groups for people who have never paddled before. We are entirely non-commercial and “staffed” entirely by enthusiastic unpaid volunteers.

We supply the kit, you supply the paddler. The club is able to provide a limited number of boats, paddles and buoyancy aids so come along and try it out before you invest. Only in very special circumstances is club kit allocated to a specific paddler, if you do want to use the same kit week to week or feel you need better kit than what the club is supplying go ahead and buy it. There are plenty of club members who can advise, or may have kit they want to sell.

Richmond Canoe Club is a racing club, while not all of our members actively race – nor do we insist on it – you will be encouraged to race at some level.

While our members cover many disciplines the club’s primary focus is placid water canoe sport – going from A to B as quickly as possible over distances ranging from 200 metres to 125 miles. If you are already a competent paddle in this discipline or any other please come on down and have a look what we are about. If you have not participated in paddle sport before your introduction through us will be to the discipline of placid water racing.

We paddle “tippy boats” Placid water racing kayaks and canoes are famous for their instability, beginners will be introduced to the sport in boats that are far more stable than a racing K1 but still far less stable than any other discipline’s boats, experience in another paddle sport discipline will allow you to progress quicker but we will start you in the Beginner’s or Reception group to assess your ability and find the right starter boat for you.

Coaching Structure

Moving beyond the Beginner’s Group, a coaching structure will progress you through different levels to develop technique, fitness, waterman ship, strategy and other skills.

Coach led groups take precedence over other activities when it comes to the use of club boats.

Safety is Paramount

Your safety and the safety of others is paramount. Membership of the club does not entitle you to take out boats if and when you feel like it. Until the coach has cleared you to paddle independently you may not be on the water in any boat that is stored at the club unless you are with a club member who has been approved by the club coaches to supervise other paddlers.

When you are on the water under the supervision of another paddler, you are expected to obey the instructions they give. They have the right to end any session.

Membership does not entitle you to supervise other paddlers on the water, only a club coach can decide that you have the ability to do this.

Water conditions at Richmond can vary because of the tidal nature of the Thames at the club’s position on the river; your ability to paddle a boat in good conditions does not translate into an ability to paddle in all conditions. In winter we have conditions when even the most experienced paddlers choose not to go out on the water. You are advised to check with others if you are uncertain.

Any questions, please drop us an email.

Happy Paddling.