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Learn to Paddle

If you’re new to paddling, the Burley Griffin Canoe Club holds several 'Taste of Paddling' sessions for non-members who would like to try it out.   Sessions are 3 hours and cost $120pp.  Details below or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

Numbers are limited and registration & payment are essential and should be made using the link below.

These sessions are ideal for:

  • those who just want to give paddling a try
  • those thinking about purchasing their own kayak 
  • those who have their own kayak, or hire them when on holidays, but would like some instruction on technique or general advice
  • those who think they might like to take up paddling as a sport by joining the club, but are not sure 

A Taste of Paddling

Participants will be able to try out a variety of boats, learn about equipment, boat handling, safety issues, boat entry and exit techniques, basic paddling techniques and basic capsize procedures. Participants are expected to be able to swim 50m, though this is not part of the session. The sessions are held on the Molonglo River in calm conditions close to shore.

Sessions are run over 3 hours and all boats, life jackets and paddles are provided. Cost for the session is $120pp. ($70 for Juniors 14 to 18 years old).  Registrations are essential.

The aim of the course is to introduce you to the sport of kayaking and to deliver the skills necessary to use a recreational kayak safely, in calm, flatwater conditions, close to shore.

Session Dates for 2023-24

Sunday 21st January: 8:30 a.m. till 11:30 a.m. 

Saturday 17th February: 8:30 a.m. till 11:30 a.m. 

Sunday 16th March: 11 a.m. till 2 p.m.

Registration and payment should be made directly via this link:  ToP Registration

Each session will cover:  Introduction; Safety & Injury Prevention; Paddle Craft Overview; Basic Strokes; and a short paddle (of approx. 1- 2 km);  Break (including juice & biscuits); Try s Different Boat; Reinforce Skills (another paddle of approx. 1km); Summary, & Where to Next?    You should have the opportunity to try out 2 or 3 different boats.  Please keep in mind that our boats are designed for the ‘average’ person.  If you are taller/shorter/heavier than ‘average’ you may not have as much choice.  Contact us for more information.

Or, if you know you’re keen to paddle regularly:  

Join the Burley Griffin Canoe Club – Please contact Patricia before joining. (those new to paddling should consider doing the Taste of Paddling first.) If you can let me know any experience you have, what sort of paddling you’re interested in, or what your expectations are (e.g., instruction, boat use, storage).  Please note, BGCC doesn’t do white water, sea kayaking or touring.  We can offer flat water fitness and racing, coaching, canoe polo, slalom and recreational paddling.

New Members' Inductions will generally be held on alternate Sundays over the warmer months. We then offer beginner/recreational sessions at various times during the week, or, if you’re more advanced, there are training squads which are more race/fitness orientated.

Benefits of Working with a Coach

The main benefit of working with a qualified coach is that you get objective advice and support, to help you achieve your goals.

A coach can help you:

  • get started in the sport;
  • make the move from your current boat to a new boat;
  • get fitter;
  • paddle further;
  • paddle faster;
  • try your first race;
  • improve your race results; or
  • prepare for a major championship.

Anything is possible with the right combination of paddler and coach!

The following is general advice only. It has not been prepared with your specific needs in mind. We encourage you to check with your medical adviser before undertaking strenuous training. And for advice to suit your needs, it is always best to talk directly to a qualified coach.

In the same way that paddlers have different reasons for participating in the sport, so too do coaches have different strengths and areas of interest. It is important to find a coach who shares your interest and thinks they can can help you achieve your goals.

Here are a few thoughts on the range of things a coach can help with and the ways they might go about it:

Getting started in the sport or moving to a more advanced boat: if you want a few pointers, nothing too serious or too regular…

  • you could attend one of the club's ‘new member’ sessions or arrange a single one-on-one lesson with a coach
  • the coach will focus on safety, correct technique and injury prevention
  • if there are particular things you need to work on, the coach can provide some ‘drills’ (specific exercises) that you can do to help you improve
  • the coach will pass on their experiences as relevant to your situation and may be able to refer you to others for more assistance

Getting fitter, paddling further or going faster in your local club race: if you think some specific guidance would be helpful…

  • a coach can help you assess your goal and work out how long you might realistically need to achieve them
  • joining some of the introductory coach-guided paddles will give you a chance

Doing your first ‘big’ race (like the Paddle NSW Marathon Series) or preparing for a specific event (like the Hawkesbury or Myall Classics): if you have a goal, and would like some help to give yourself the best chance of success

  • a coach can develop a plan or a general program - probably focusing on one or two main things - like building your endurance or preparing for specific water conditions
  • the coach can also help you make specific preparations such as seating comfort in the boat or minimising comfort issues like chaffing, blisters, hydration, toileting, etc.

Competing to the best of your ability - Marathon or Sprint series, State or National Championships: this is getting serious now…

  • get a personalised program - prepared with your specific needs in mind
  • join a more advance training squad…particularly if there are other paddlers with similar goals, for support, structure and a shared sense of commitment
  • you are training hard and the coach is able to act variously as advisor, mentor and motivator
  • the coach will also be able to keep an eye out for signs of injury or over-training and help you minimise the risks and impacts