Welcome to Royal Canoe Club!

We are the oldest canoe club in the UK. We offer canoeing/kayaking facilities, instruction and activities at Trowlock Island, Teddington, Middlesex – near Kingston-upon-Thames, in south-west London.

Please check out the links on the site for more information about the canoe club. New members are always very welcome at Royal Canoe Club. Read on for details of how to join the club. 

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ICF Planet Canoe magazine – out now

The International Canoe Federation’s 2014 magazine ‘Planet Canoe’ is out.

It features lots of great articles, interviews and previews of the season ahead in all canoeing disciplines.

You can download it for free here.

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Posted in Olympic Canoeing, Press & Publicity, Race Reports

Tour de Gudena confirms one-day format for famous canoe/kayak marathon

The start of the Gudena in Silkeborg

The start of the Gudena in Silkeborg

The Tour de Gudena in Denmark, arguably the foremost event in the international marathon canoeing calendar, has announced it is to abandon its two-day, 120km (76 miles) format and opt instead for a one-day, 73km (46 miles) course.

The change, which we predicted here last year, follows years of declining participation in the event. At one time the Tour de Gudena attracted almost a thousand competitors every year, with entrants coming far and wide – from Europe, America, Australia and South Africa. Now it barely attracts half that number, making the cost of running a two-day event over a large part of the Danish lake district uneconomic.

The new race will run on what was the second day of the two-day event – from Silkeborg to Randers. At the Tour de Gudena annual meeting last week, the old association which ran the event for decades, was wound up. A new organisation will take its place.

There will still, as in the previous format, be stage stops, probably at Kongensbro, Tange and Langa and the organisers hope to attract touring paddlers as well as die-hard racers.

The Tour de Gudena’s decline has, arguably, not been helped by the way that marathon canoeing has developed over the past two decades. The sport has moved from a series of 42km (26 mile) A to B marathons in favour of shorter events, using a circuit format, often on regatta courses with artificial rather than natural portages over locks, weirs and so on.

The thinking behind this development, spearheaded by the International Canoe Federation’s marathon committee, is that it positions the sport more naturally at the top end of the sprint canoeing programme, especially since the demise of 10,000m racing, and would theoretically, therefore, appeal to sprinters – while also attracting interest from broadcasters. There is evidence that some sprint paddlers have taken part in the marathons but this has not led to any sort of growth in numbers within the sport in general. And there’s precious little sign that the media angle of this strategy has worked, marathon as a sport is widely acknowledged to be in some difficulty and the events are rarely televised in any meaningful way.

The diminution of the Tour de Gudena into a one-day event will, however, perhaps ensure its continued presence in the ICF ‘classic series’. Previously the ICF has deemed long events to be ‘too hard’ to be included and it even dropped the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race from the series for this reason.

This year’s Tour de Gudena takes place on September 13.

Link: Fowey Canoe Club (UK) trip to the Tour de Gudena – Youtube video

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Brandenburg European champs tickets on sale

brandenburg2If you’re planning to go and watch the European sprint canoeing championships in Brandenburg this July, tickets are now available.

Tickets for the four-day event on July 10-13 range in price from 12 euros to 18 euros per day.

Full details on the organisers’ website. Information is published in English as well as German.


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Royal agrees island bridge plans with residents

The chain ferry winding handle, well under water during the winter (picture: Jackie Williams)

The chain ferry winding handle, well under water during the winter (picture: Jackie Williams)

Royal Canoe Club has agreed to proposals from Trowlock Island’s management company and Richmond Borough Council to replace the chain ferry to the island with a new £2 million bridge.

As most of you will know, access to the island during the winter is often difficult due to the combination of high tides and heavy rain, which pushes up river levels by as much as a meter.

The problem badly affects members’ access to the island clubhouse and the gym and it’s an issue that also hits Trowlock residents, who aren’t able to walk to and from their cars without getting wet feet.

A special one-off grant of £1.5 million from Richmond Council combined with £500,000 in flood-related compensation from the Environment Agency will enable the construction of a fixed bridge from the mainland across the island.

Richmond Council has accepted plans by Dutch design company AFD for a bridge that will stretch from the car park area beside the Metropolitan Police social hut to the grassy area on the island facing the back of the canoe club.

Paul De Ether Van, chief architect of AFD, which is headquartered in Amsterdam, said: “We believe the design will take account of the sensitivities of the island setting but, more importantly, ensure people can go about their daily business without worrying about getting their feet wet.”

Avril Furst, chair of the island’s management company, said: “I know that being an island is part of the quaint attraction of living here but we residents are fed up with being cut off and having regularly to wade through two feet of water to get home. We felt it was high time for a bridge.”

Richmond Borough Council is publishing the design plans shortly. Objectors will be able to make their views known via the council website. It is hoped construction can be completed during the summer.

Brian Harper-Lewis from Trowlock Island adds: Thank you for the information re the bridge building schedule, which has now been circulated to all islanders. Having contacted the architects, I’m advised that the Council-preferred plan has adopted a strategy to combat the parking problem, and entrance to the bridge is intended to be directly from Lower Teddington Road. Here’s the proposed layout (below). Shouldn’t be too much of a problem for anyone with a K1 on their shoulders….should it?

Trowlock Island's preferred option for canoeists

Trowlock Island’s preferred option for canoeists

Thanks for the emails, which we enjoyed reading, and thanks to all those who spotted our April’s Fool article.


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Royal canoeists back on the water after floods

Following the wettest winter on record, which resulted in the Thames at Kingston being on Red Boards since the 3rd week of December, Team Royal have finally returned to the water, writes Dylan Todd

Gemma, Nicole, Laura, Maia and Renee took part in the Spring Sprint Profiling Day at Nottingham on Saturday 15th March. Fierce crosswinds made the time-trials and grouped races tricky as the top junior coaches looked on and took notes. Athletes were timed over two 75m grouped races, a 250m grouped race and a 5k time-trial. Wind corrected times will be published shortly and will update the provisional times which can be seen here.   
Wey Kayak Club hosted back-to-back events on the 22/23 March. Saturday saw well over 80 paddlers take part in the Wey Sprint Regatta.
The 10 racers who made up Team Royal took advantage of the calm conditions and posted some quick times over the 2k time-trial and 1,000m, 500m and 200m grouped races. Particular credit must go to Phil Carter who, having only taken up canoeing in 2013, and along with Gemma Brown and Laura Ruff achieved a clean sweep of the podium in heat 3.
Renee was the 2nd fastest girl overall behind London Olympian Abi Edmonds, and kept pace with the older male paddlers in her races. Ptolemy, who was racing in the 2nd Lightening heat, came 1st, 3rd and 2nd in the 1k, 500m and 200m (respectively) which was impressive since many of those on the start line were often 2 years older. Lauren Avery and Ellen Slack also raced against much older paddlers but were strong enough to finish in 2nd or 3rd in their heats in all 3 grouped races which was outstanding.
The following morning 5 Team Royal boats returned to Wey Kayak Club to take part in the 4th Hare & Hounds time-trial. Keira, Maia and Laura looked confident over the 10k course and provisional results strongly suggest they each achieved PBs. Tony Ruff came 6th following an interclub battle with the K2 of Gemma Brown and Renee Myburgh who wrestled for the racing line just above the 1st portage. Tony had attempted to add extra weight to the swift K2 but the tactic was rumbled shortly before the start. Gemma and Renee, minus the extra weight in their boat, took 2nd place overall, clearly motivated by their coach Trevor Weatherall who said he’d give them each £1 if they got under 48mins. Unfortunately for Trev they posted 45:49.
Photos from both the sprint regatta and the Hare & Hounds have been posted on the Royal Canoe Club Facebook page.
The next race will be the final Hare & Hounds of the 2013/14 season and will take place on Sunday 30th March otherwise known as Mother’s Day!
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