Canoe Trail provided a huge selection of watersports and comedy at the 2016 River Festival! It is the 3rd largest outdoor event in Europe and saw an even bigger growth in attendance this year.

Now in our 10th year of hosting the Watersports Arena at the Bedford River Festival 2016 we wanted to take it up a notch or two. We added a second Big Air Ramp allowing some of the best freestyle tricksters around to showcase the sport.

Each day we provided 3 shows per day on the Big Air Ramp and also the “Curtain Raiser” to the main firework display in front of thousands of people. As with previous years the fireworks offered a combination of circus skills in kayaks meets stunt men, some would say “flaming idiots” as we dodging flames, whiz bangs and incendiaries to deliver our best ever show. Promoting our sport and love of the outdoors to big crowds and pushing the boundaries from the ramp was an incredible feeling.

Despite having run the event for many years there is still a nervous buzz when you sit at the top of a 5 metre ramp looking down before your run. It is scary but you don’t back down. The team included Aaron Buckingham, Dean Buckingham, Richard Harpham, Matt ‘Pod’ Houghton and Ben Campbell. Plus of course all the family, friends and huge crowds who cheered us on.

Besides the freestyle displays, Canoe Polo, (like rugby on the water), was played throughout the weekend featuring Viking Kayak Club’s teams as well as players from Letchworth, Baldock and other local clubs. Youth teams from Viking Kayak Club and senior players took place in scratch matches on the Saturday with a full adult tournament played on Sunday.

Leading up to the River Festival Canoe Trail organized training sessions for a wide range of groups for competitions at the River Festival. Teams took part in the following events:

  • Cardboard box boat race (yes that it a race!)
  • Giant Stand Up Paddle Board Obstacle Racing
  • Canoe Races

Teams took part from Bedford Swifts, Silsoe Young Farmers, Workplace Challenge (Team Beds and Luton), Building Transformation, and other random groups.

If you like the sound of this then why not register your interest in the 2018 Bedford River Festival… It's going to be special!