Canoe, Kayak, or SUP Lesson

A general lesson where we provide tailored paddling coaching for the water skill of your choice. Choose to take the lesson in a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard.
Please note if a date is unavailable then it is fully booked.
For midweek lessons contact us for availability.
Having a Kayak Lesson on the River
Requirements: Suitable for ages 12+ Anyone under the age of 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult 21 years and over. Please note we offer Open Lessons with a max of three people, however, you will often have the lesson to yourself.
Timings: 90mins coaching and then 30min free time to test your new skills.
Location: Kempston Outdoor Centre (MK42 8QP)

Our Paddlesport skills lesson provides an opportunity for you to receive dedicated coaching from our professional instructor team. Choose from a canoe, kayak, or SUP and work on new skills and techniques. All are welcome, from beginners to more advanced paddlers.
Here at Canoe Trail, we have one of the largest fleets of canoes, kayaks, and SUP’s in the country including a range of different shapes, formats, and designs. We offer coaching for all abilities, including a range of British Canoeing courses. We have a range of paddlesport courses, If you need a bespoke course such as a group introduction to bigger moving water or expedition training then please contact us.

What's Included?

Craft & Equipment  ✔ Buoyancy Aid  ✔ Dry Bag  ✔

What You Will Need to Bring

Bring comfortable clothing such as gym wear, shorts, a t-shirt or wetsuit, along with a pair of water shoes, or old trainers. Bring a towel and a change of clothes. No special equipment or clothing is required.

Kayak Lesson

We can help with:

  • Sweep strokes and effective turning
  • Stern and bow rudders
  • Bracing and support strokes
  • Rolling technique
  • Capsize and rescue skills
  • Moving sideways

Canoe Lesson

Develop some of the more traditional skills in a canoe such as:

  • Poling
  • Lining and tracking
  • Rescues
  • Learning the J Stroke
  • Power Strokes and Prys
  • Bow Rudders

Paddle Board Lessons

We can help with SUP Skills. We have instructors who are both experienced coaches and SUP instructors. We were voted TOP 3 UK destinations for SUP adventures by Red Bull Magazine and have also featured in Wanderlust and Paddler Magazines for SUP’ing. We can help you develop stand-up paddleboard skills including:

  • Effective forward paddling
  • Varying power and cadence
  • Paddling on one side and bi-lateral performance
  • Steering and turning
  • Moving around the board
  • Pivot turns
  • Tail stands and headstands!

Session Notes

  • We can also provide specific tuition and coaching for: Basic Sea Kayaking Skills / Kayak Racing Skills / Canoe Racing Skills / SUP Fitness and Core Skills / Expeditions Training / Rescues and Ropework. Please contact us and request further information.
  • * If for any reason, dates may need to change at Canoe Trail's discretion. This will be notified in advance.
Discover Award in Kayak British Canoeing Discover Award on SUP British Canoeing Discover Award in Canoe


When out on the water with Richard Harpham, he was fantastic at teaching and made it really easy to learn. I am a complete novice and this was virtually my first time in nearly 15 years that I got in a kayak.

After around 1 hour of teaching, I learnt how to get into the kayak, basic turns for left and right, reverse moves left and right, managed to slalom through wooden poles normally used in competitive sport. You also learn what things to look out for on the river: how deep it is, wildlife, fisherman, other boats and teaches you the correct etiquette.

The way Richard teaches is easy and if you listen, you will have a very enjoyable time. He likes to get to know you a bit and was great to talk to. If your not quite getting something, he was very good at explaining how to do it a different way.

Richard let me go off on my own and practise what I had learnt for the rest of my session. I managed to go near to Cardington Lock and then back to base where I was extremely knackered but felt amazing at the same time. The river is a great location to learn. It’s peaceful, everyone I saw or spoke to was friendly. The water is really calm. I now look forward to booking on for my explore qualification and to buying my own equipment at some point in the future.

(Richard Ropke)

My partner and I booked a 2-1 session last weekend with Richard. We had a fab time with 2 hours completely personalised to meet our needs and lots of great advice. Would highly recommend, excellent instructor and lovely location!


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