BSCC welcomes new members - both novices and experienced racers. Equipment and coaching are provided for beginners.
Our main club session takes place on Sunday mornings all year round, and includes coaching groups for juniors of all standards and for intermediate/advanced adult members. Club members may also attend additional race training groups at other times (dependent on age, standard, and season).
Established racing paddlers: If you already have racing experience please be sure to mention the amount and standard when arranging to visit so that we can direct you to the most appropriate training group.
Adult beginners: We are now offering an 8-hr Kayak Starter course aimed at those new to paddling but also at those who have done a little kayaking in other disciplines. It will be taught as 2 days over the summer months and 4 morning sessions over the winter. This course may also be appropriate for juniors taking up paddling alongside a parent. If you have a significant amount of paddling experience and are not sure if the beginner weekend is for you, our coaches may advise a brief assessment visit.
Juniors (under 18): We invite prospective junior members to join in with our junior coaching groups on a Sunday morning whenever we have capacity. You would attend for four sessions at £10/session and (subject to coaches recommendation) then join the club as a subscribed member.
To arrange your first visit, or to be added to the waiting list for our novice programme, please contact the Secretary by e-mail, or by filling in the form on this page. Please include the participants' name(s), contact details, age (if a child), and past paddling experience if any.
Please make sure you read the FAQs below. If you still have questions, please email the Secretary, or phone 01279 755089.
BSCC is pleased to acknowledge the support of the National Lottery through SportEngland, and of East Herts Council, to assist the club in providing training for those new to the sport.
Arrange your first visit to the club
Full Membership of the club is by annual subscription £168 (senior) / £120 (junior, i.e. under 18). There are discounts if two or more family members join as Full Members. The subscription year runs from July to June, and annual subscriptions are calculated pro rata for those joining mid-year.
As a new club member you will initially be able to attend Sunday sessions, and as you improve you will also be able to attend more advanced training at other times by arrangement with the volunteer coaches.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is my child old enough to start? - The child's height (because of the limits of the equipment), build (because of their exposure to cold), water confidence, coordination and balance are more important than their chronological age. As a general guidance we generally suggest 8yrs as the minimum age, but for some children even this is too early - coaches will advise in individual cases. Please note that for the youngest children, we may require their parent/guardian to be a paddling club member or at least remain on site throughout the session.
Do I have to provide my own equipment? - The club is able to provide suitable equipment for use at our beginner sessions. All you need to bring initially is suitable clothing. Once you begin to enter competitions, having a roof-rack on your car is extremely helpful. As your performance begins to improve, you will want to buy your own buoyancy aid, racing paddle, and ultimately your own boat and V-bars.
Will you expect me to race? - As soon as you are proficient on the water, we would like you to begin racing with us. The races generally take place on a Sunday - see our club events diary. Most paddlers find they enjoy using their new skills in this way and attending the races is a sociable family event.
Canoe racing is as much a team event as an individual one, but there is no limit on the number of team members who can participate, so everybody gets the chance to join in and contribute to the club's success. There is usually an entry fee, and adults may also need to join British Canoeing to compete in some races.
Can people with impairments join in? - BSCC aims to be as fully-inclusive as possible. The club has been accredited as a Paddle-Ability Top Club. If you want to race, we will give you all the help and encouragement we can - the Winter Series marathons and Summer Series regattas are particularly accommodating to Paddle-Ability competitors. Our coaches will be glad to discuss your individual needs and objectives, and to work out how we can best help you. We also welcome approaches from groups who want to come for an occasional fun session. An Accessibility Checklist for our premises can be downloaded from the Find Us page.
Can I store my boat at the club? - Full members can apply to the Quartermaster for permission to store a private boat at the club. Please note however that this is subject to space being available. Racks are allocated on merit and no member is guaranteed a space for their boat.
Do you run one-off sessions for groups? - The club runs occasional bespoke sessions during June and July for community groups on request (e.g. Scouts) - please contact the Secretary well in advance (before Easter) to discuss your requirements.
Do you hire out your equipment or venue? - Sorry, no. For boat hire in the area, see our Links page. It is sometimes possible for school and other local community groups to arrange to have access to the club room during the day for certain kinds of activities. Please contact the Secretary well in advance to find out whether we can help.
Can I paddle on the Stort without joining the club? - There is public access to only 4% of inland water in England & Wales (see Access to Water). Fortunately, the Stort is under the control of the Canal & River Trust who do permit canoeing by anyone with a River Licence. The towpath and river can be accessed in the town centre under the bridge near the Station car park. Please note that there is no vehicular access to the clubhouse or Southmill Lock when there is no key-holder on site. Everyone using club facilities must be a member or invited guest, and novices must be supervised by a coach.