If walking or climbing doesn’t appeal to you, why not pick up a paddle?

Here at Blackdog Outdoors we are keen to promote the use of our rivers, canals, lakes and coastline by providing free events across our beautiful country.  All our paddlesport work is undertaken with the sole aim of introducing water based activities for those who may need support with mental health and wellbeing.

If you are interested in joining our team, or would like further information on hosting one of our future events, we would love to hear from you. This can be as an individual; on behalf of a club, group or outdoor centre; or if you already provide opportunities in a similar field and would like to discuss your own charity work and how we could assist you with this, please contact us.

Some of the more popular that we use on our events, as well as the governing bodies and member organisations for paddle sports, are detailed below.


Think serene Canadian lakes – canoes are large open boats that can be paddled solo or in a pair. They’re a good place to start as they’re quite large and stable, and are great for journeying, or even overnight trips, as they’re so spacious. They can also be paddled down rivers and even rapids, with specialist canoes available for more technical terrain. 


Kayaks come in lots of different flavours. The ones you most often find available to hire are either one- or two-seater sit-on-top. These are usually stable and comfortable to paddle, but be prepared to get a wet bum! 

Closed-cockpit kayaks are the next step. These come in different shapes, and whilst they can easily be paddled on flat water, are usually suited to a specific use – for example, whitewater paddling, surfing, waves or freestyle (tricks!) 

Sea kayaks are very long and narrow, and are suited to maintaining a course even in choppy waves. They often have ‘bulkheads’ or storage compartments for carrying kit for big adventures! 

Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

SUPs are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason! They are an extremely versatile craft – suitable for gliding across lakes, surfing waves or even negotiating rivers for those blessed with good balance. Pick a warm day and be ready to swim! 

What to Take

  • Old trainers to protect your feet as you get in and out 
  • A swimming costume under your clothes, or wetsuit if you have one. (These are often available to hire.) 
  • A windproof outer layer – something simple like a pac-a-mac is perfect. It won't keep you dry, but the wind will affect you significantly more if you’re wet. (Try blowing gently on your hand. How does it feel? Now lick your hand and try again!) 
  • Layers (especially baselayers if you don’t have a wetsuit) that stay warm when wet – e.g, fleeces, synthetic insulation, wool, NOT down or cotton 
  • A towel and change of clothes (including shoes and undies) - we recommend leaving these in a safe place on the shore. 
  • A waterproof watch if you're hiring boats, so you know when to give them back! 
  • A phone or camera in a waterproof case 

Governing bodies, organisations & groups

There are many established associations, groups and clubs that you can join to practice and develop technique within a controlled environment, and with robust equipment. There are also many outdoor activity centres within the UK that can safeguard water based activities. 

The links below will take you to the relevant governing body for British Canoeing. Here you will find information on training courses, affiliated instructors and venues, and organised events. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how to get started on your next adventure. 

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OutdoorLads is a friendly group of gay, bisexual and trans men who get together to enjoy adventures and activities. Our events are run by volunteers all over...

 Canoeing / Kayaking /  UK Wide

The Open Canoe Association was founded in 1956 and exists to promote the use of open canoes for self-reliant adventure, exploration, journeying and self-development. Members...

 Canoeing / Kayaking /  UK Wide

Canoe Wales is the national governing body for paddlesport in Wales. Want to know more about the wonderful world of paddling?

 Canoeing / Kayaking /  Wales

You can see all the affiliated British Canoeing clubs and centres on their website.

 Canoeing / Kayaking /  UK Wide

We are British Canoeing, the national governing body for paddlesports in the UK. Read on to learn our past, our present, and our plans for...

 Canoeing / Kayaking /  UK Wide