Our Highdown beginner courses are well underway, the first two completed, with a total of 16 students each course, and another one just started. They have learnt to paddle K1s, and also enjoyed trying out a K2 with their fellow classmates. One week, they had a try out of the slalom boats. Emily Neville, also a Highdown student, as well as a skilled and experienced slalom paddler, led the session. Thanks Emily.
Lead coach Jim New said what lively, fun and well-behaved groups they all have been – a pleasure to teach With lots of fun had on and in the water, we hope to see you all at the event on the 11th July.
If any student would like to know more about how to get into more paddling or join the club, just email
We’ve kicked off the main marathon, sprint and slalom racing season, already with some impressive results for Highdown paddlers.
First off, at the April Sprint Regatta held at the National Water Sports centre in Nottingham, very impressive racing led three Highdown paddlers to be selected to represent GB at the international regatta in Brandenberg in May half term – they were Freddie Kemp, Alex Tonkin and Sam Betts.
Freddie’s win at the April regatta in K4 (four-man boat) also meant his selection to the GB team for the European Junior Championships in July, held in the Czech Republic, as well as the World Junior Championships in August. This is a tremendous achievement.
All three boys are also in the midst of major academic exams – A Levels and GCSEs – so well done to all three for managing to juggle both your academic studies and your sport.
Closer to home we are already two marathon races into the 2019 season. The first was held by Basingstoke Canoe Club, the second by our own Reading Canoe Club. Sam Hill is racing really well in K1 currently and came 4th in his Division 5 race at Basingstoke and 2nd at Reading, earning himself a promotion to Division 4. James Nelson raced at Basingstoke in Division 8. A 2nd place meant his promotion to Division 7. Good racing, James. We look forward to more great results as the season progresses.
Slalom – the first competition of 2019:
In slalom, Emily and Natalie Neville took part at Winchester’s Slalom competition in mid May, taking 1st and 2nd in the Women’s open event. Big well done to them – that’s a terrific achievement. And also to Holly Williams who, after two clear runs, took 4th place in the junior girls.
Over half term, three of our Highdown Paddlers – Freddie Kemp in Year 13, Sam Betts and Alex Tonkins, both Year 11 – were out in Portugal for a week of intensive training with the national squads. Here they are pictured with two other Reading Canoe Club juniors, who were also out there.