While it is possible to paddle independently (subject to restrictions on river access and considerations of personal safety), most canoeists find that they benefit from joining others at a club. The clubs featured below are all affiliated toCanoeEngland (part the British Canoe Union, the governing body for the sport). The BCU issues personal achievment awards, administers coach training and certification, runs national competition events and generally sets standards for the sport. In particular the BCU encourages clubs to become accredited under both ClubMark (SportEngland's kite-mark for child-friendly sports clubs) and TopClub (a scheme to recognise well-run clubs within paddlesport).
Canoe clubs are generally run by groups of volunteers on a not-for profit basis, funded principally by membership subscriptions. Subscription levels vary widely and usually reflect the level of facilities and equipment that the club is providing. The club may simply meet at an agreed location, have their own premises, or operate from a sports centre or swimming pool.
The clubs are as widely varied as paddlesport itself, which covers several different types of competition as well as touring and general recreation. Each club will have its own areas of specialty, depending on the interests of its members and the nature of the locally-available water. Most clubs will welcome beginners and can offer coaching by certified coaches.
As well as offering access to coaching, facilities/equipment, and trips/competitions, most people enjoy the social element of belonging to a club and find that it encourages them to get out and participate more often.
Please follow the links below to the clubs' own websites to discover more.
Barking and Dagenham Canoe Club - Flatwater racing (sprint and marathon) and slalom. Based on the estury of the river Roding but beginners paddle on a lake. Weekly pool sessions.
Bishop's Stortford Canoe Club - Flatwater racing (sprint and marathon) and open canoeing. Based on the Herts/Essex border. Free come-and-try-it visits year-round. Occasional pool sessions. ClubMark accredited and TopClub Gold.
Braintree Canoeing Club - Canoe polo and general recreation. Pool sessions twice weekly and frequent trips on flat and whitewater.
Bramston Canoe Club - Small club in for over-18s in Witham area. Weekly pool session and trips for surfing, sea kayaking and whitewater.
Chelmsford Canoe Club - A large well-established club with interests spanning flatwater racing (sprint and marathon), slalom, open canoeing and general recreation. Beginners' sessions in spring and summer. ClubMark accredited and TopClub Gold.
Essex Slalom Squad-The aims of the Club are to get like-minded paddlers together from other clubs and the community to enjoy the health and social benefits of paddling, to engage in and encourage people to learn about Canoe Slalom for personal development within the sport.
Maldon & Dengie Canoe Club - The club operates from bases at Chelmsford and Maldon, and has a wide range of activities, particularly aimed at novice and young paddlers. Kayaking and canoeing is predominantly on the River Chelmer, but there is also access to the Essex coast and pool sessions are held approx monthly. (email)
Out There Canoe Club - An outdoor pursuits club for young people in the Colchester area. Inland and sea kayaking feature alongside climbing, and hill-walking. Regular trips. Pool kayaking in the winter.
Southend Canoe Club - Weekly local paddles and frequent trips to enjoy whitewater, slalom and surfing further afield, including abroad. Pool sessions in the winter.
Tendring Canoe Club - Kayaking and open canoeing on the River Stour and the sea. Pool sessions in the winter. Touring and general recreation. Occasional away trips.
Activity Centres and Comercial Providers
Activity centres offer scheduled courses in kayaking and open canoeing alongside other activities like high-ropes, archery, sailing and climbing. They may also run regular clubs involving a variety of activities.
CanoeEngland approved centres and Providers in Essex: