The BEST way to start off your paddling career is to head down to your nearest clubs weekly time trial and chat to any committee members that are around. They will guide your through the club registration process, advise you on equipment and keep you updated on any proficiency tests being conducted or beginner groups run by the club.
Once you have decided that paddling is the sport for you it is time to start purchasing a few necessary items:
- A boat
- A paddle
- A lifejacket
- A Splash cover
- A pair of shoes that can fit comfortably into your new boat.
- A drinking system
- A basic repair kit.
While this list might seem daunting, it is easy to pick up second hand items at a reasonable cost, and build up your kit and replace it as the years go by.
In terms of boats and paddles, it is particularly important to test out a few before you buy as each persons’ stability and preference will be different. It is important to start at a level that you are comfortable with.
Once you have a few pieces of kit, and have completed your proficiency, it is time to get out there on the river. Unless you are a machine, it is always nice to have the guidance of a skilled and more experienced paddler in your first race.
You are then able to build up to races like the Drak, Umko, Dusi or Fish Canoe Marathons.