Where To Start

Reading Canoe Club is a volunteer organisation run by its membership and managed by its committee. It’s focus is to provide kayaking and canoeing to Reading and the surrounding area. There is no commercial remit and we are looking to develop paddlers and our sport. We appeal to people for whom canoeing is not just a summer activity.

Take a look at our introduction leaflet for more details about who we are and what we do.

Our novice activities and programs run from spring to autumn, but for our members club activities take place all year round.

Introductory Courses

Our qualified and experienced volunteer coaches offer courses for junior and for adult beginners. The aim of these courses is to give you an appreciation of the sport and the basic skills and knowlege that will set you on your way to a lifetime of enjoyment on the water.

Adult Novice Introductory Course

Courses are in flat water or touring type kayaks. These boats are slightly longer than the boats used in rough water or on the sea. In the canoeing world they are described as open cockpit boats, meaning that one’s knees are not inside the boat. This means that in the event of a capsize you fall out of the boat quickly, easily and safely. They are slightly less stable at first, but much faster once the balance and basic forward stroke are mastered.

Start Dates

2017 Course Start Dates:

  • Saturday 22nd April  – 11:00 Course now full
  • Wednesday 26th April – 18:30 Course now full
  • Saturday 20th May – 11:00 Course now full
  • Wednesday 24th May – 18:30 Course now full
  • Saturday 24th June – 11:00 Course now full
  • Wednesday 28th June – 18:30 Course now full
  • Saturday 15th July – 11:00 Course now full

Courses cost £50, are 4 weeks long and sessions last around 1.5 hours. The sessions will be on the same day and time over the 4 weeks.

For registration forms, please contact us.

All courses are subject to there being enough participants and coaching staff available.

If you cannot wait for a course, please contact the club, who will put you in contact with one of the coaches who may coach you on a 1-2-1 basis, or run a small course. Any such coaching or courses is a direct relationship with the coach involved, and will only run under suitable conditions. There will be a fee for any such course or coaching.

Junior Novice Introductory Course

Under 10s – Junior Fun Sessions – May to September

Each year the Club runs junior fun sessions, where any child can turn up and have a go in a boat. These are stable plastic kayaks, so the children feel safe and build confidence. These sessions are free to Club members, but there is a small charge of £5 for non-members. The number allowed on the water at any time is limited to the coaching staff available, but if the session is oversubscribed, then we rotate the time on the water.

The time on the water is spent playing around in canoes and kayaks with the emphasis on having fun and gaining confidence with the boat and the water. Some instruction is given, but it is not a course. Still it’s surprising how much the children still pick up from this. Whatever, the fun sessions are a good way to see if your child would like to become more involved and perhaps take on a course in the future.

The sessions are aimed at under 10s, but bear in mind that they must be strong enough to paddle about in a boat and swim with the aid of a buoyancy aid.

Junior paddling pdf

Children’s Festival – Beginner Taster Sessions for Juniors 9 – 16 years old:

We are holding FREE Taster Sessions during Children’s Festival week – 29th/30th/31st May 2017.

The session times each day are:

  • 10:00am to 11:15am
  • 11:30am to 12:45pm
  • 1:30pm to 2:45pm
  • 3:00pm to 4:15pm

There are 10 places per session. To book a place, please email the Club on or call 07580 780961, letting us know the session your child(ren) would like to attend and how many places you require.

Booking is essential and you must please bring a signed parental consent form (on our website).

Junior Beginners Courses for 10-16 year olds

The Club starts running Junior courses after the Easter school holidays (from 19th April) until August holidays. They run on Saturday mornings from 11am to 12 noon and Wednesday afternoons from 4.30pm to 5.30pm. These sessions are designed to give junior beginners a feel for kayaking and for the type of paddle sessions that are run at the Club. We expect your child to be on the course for 6 weeks, at which point they can join the Club and progress to other junior sessions promoting further paddler development.
All courses are subject to there being enough participants and coaching staff available. The minimum age for participating in a junior course is 10 years old. Juniors should be confident in water and should be able to swim in light clothing.

Theses junior courses run for 6 weeks and cost £30. For more information please email the Club on – indicating your interest in a Junior course.


If you are a school interested in kayaking lessons within school hours or as an after-school activity, please contact the Club. We are able to offer dedicated courses.

As part of our work in the community, the Club has a number of courses dedicated to particular schools, running from April through to the end of July. Priority on school sessions is given to the pupils of the designated school, but, if there are any spare places, they will be allocated on a first come first served basis to any other junior keen to learn.

Further Info