Discover Award Kayak Lesson

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British Canoeing Personal Performance DISCOVER Award

2021 Dates: 16th May / 20th June / 24th July / 15th Aug (10 am - 3 pm)

We can help you progress your qualifications and run British Canoeing Start, Discover and Explore Qualifications throughout the year. We can also help with introductions to moving water and expedition training and preparation.

Canoe Trail offers the next stage of your paddling development helping you towards becoming an independent paddler, for a fun and safe time on the water. Developing an understanding of the factors which affect your paddling; developing your decision making and practical skills, giving you confidence on the water. The practical skills section gives you the core foundation of paddling technique including forward paddling, steering strokes, sweep strokes, draw strokes as well as theory on planning, access, environment, and other topics.

Our coaching is tailored to the participant's needs and based on over 180 years of combined coaching experience. The British Canoeing Personal Performance Awards are in place to ensure participants learn the correct techniques and syllabus whether in canoe or kayak or SUP for the 'Discover' qualification.

The day will start at 10.00 am and finish at 3.00 pm based at our Bedford Training Facility. No special equipment or clothing is required, comfortable clothing such as gym wear, shorts and t-shirt or wetsuit are perfect, along with a pair of water shoes, or old trainers.
- Please note these dates may change at Canoe Trail's discretion
- Suitable for those 18yrs old and over (Young people aged 21 and under must be accompanied by an adult, who is also booked onto the session)

Your Discover Award allows you to develop your decision making and practical skills for a fun and safe time on the water, taking you on the next steps towards becoming a proficient and independent paddler. Learn how to choose and effectively use the equipment, whilst developing an understanding of the factors which affect your paddling; giving you the confidence to progress to making your own choices with the Explore Award.

Award Content

1. Getting Ready
Before getting to the water you must choose suitable kit and equipment and have the correct knowledge to use it. Key points you may consider are:
What will I wear?
What are the clothing options available to me? How might my chosen activity affect which clothing I choose? Am I confident in the use of my chosen personal safety equipment?
What will I use?
What are the different equipment options available and why might I choose one over the other? How do I use my equipment? What do I do if there is a problem with it?
Have a think about what additional equipment might be useful to have access to on the bank.
2. At the Venue
When heading to the water you should have an understanding of your chosen location and how you will access it. Key factors to consider include the type of water, the weather and features of the location you choose.
You can take each of these factors into consideration and ask yourself some questions to ensure the correct decisions are made.
Factor: Type of water
I may need to know: Am I on moving or still water? What are the current water levels? What difference will this make to my session? Where can I go and are there restricted areas? Why might those limits be in place?
Factor: Weather
What I might observe: What is the weather forecast for the time I am on the
water? How might the wind speed and direction affect me? Factor: Accessing the water
I may need to know: Where are the best access points to the water and what makes them suitable? How I can minimise damage to the bank when getting on? What are the best techniques to lift and carry my chosen craft? Are any aids available to help me get it on and off the water?
3. On the Water
When on the water you should be in control and aware of your surroundings and other users. Key skills to achieve control include staying relaxed and understanding how to move your craft.
Consideration: Other users
I may need to know: Who, or what else, will be on the water? What is the etiquette around fellow water users? How can I minimise disturbance to wildlife?
Skill: Controlling the direction of your craft
I may need to know: Which strokes I can use to move forward and steer my craft? How can I stop my craft and return to my start point? How can my positioning in or on my craft affect its performance?
Consideration: Safety and rescue
I may need to consider: How would I safely get myself or others back to shore
or into the craft?
4. After the Session
Every time on the water is an opportunity for learning and improving. You can create a positive impact on your future experiences by performing a good post- activity assessment.
Watching what others do: It might be useful to spend some time watching any others on the water. What skills are they using? Are they doing things differently to you? Why might that be?
Consider your experience: What have you learnt today? What went well? What could you have done differently? How did your choice of equipment affect the experience? What skills would you like to focus on next time? Is there a specific paddlesport activity or discipline you would like to explore?
5. Future Development
Each day you spend on the water further expands your skills and knowledge, creating a more enjoyable experience on the water. With no two experiences on the water ever the same, you never stop learning.
Continually evaluating the choices you make creates a natural evolution of decision making ability. When you reach a certain point in this, it may be worth considering if you want to specialise in a particular activity or discipline, developing further skills using either the Paddle Explore award or Discipline specific award pathways. 

The New Personal Performance Awards “Paddle Awards”

British Canoeing’s new Paddle Awards are a pathway to becoming a competent paddler from Novice to Intermediate and then onwards to more advanced water and techniques. The syllabus allows for a personalized journey to develop core skills to feel confident and safe on sheltered water in a kayak or canoe or stand up paddle board.

Whether you simply want to mess around on the water or tackle a charity challenge or embrace a big adventure then Canoe Trail can help with professional coaching and development of autonomous skills. There really is something for everyone with so many different facets and disciplines to the world of paddlesport with racing, touring, SUP’s, freestyle, expeditions, sea kayaking, open canoeing, polo and many more. Within the Canoe Trail team we have years of experience at racing, expeditions and general paddling in all craft, SUP, kayak and canoe.

The awards take place on sheltered water on our local river, The River Great Ouse, 4th longest in Britain with structure coaching in bite sized chunks. We also offer some awards as part of our expeditions and trips to other locations such as the Yukon River Canoe Expedition, Best of Scotland Canoe Trip and trips to other locations.

Anna Giles – 5 star Review

"Fantastic lesson! Having never done anything like this before I wasn't sure what to expect but it was a fantastic way to spend the evening and the level of coaching was superb, can't recommend enough!"