Each year we hold three races at our clubhouse in Teddington: the Paddling Challenge, the Hasler marathon and the sprint regatta.
Held since 1874, the Paddling Challenge is the longest running canoe race in the world. It has been contested by countless Olympians and World Champions over the years.
Two magnificent and historic trophies are up for grabs: the Paddling Challenge Cup (since 1874) for senior men and the Sailing Challenge Cup (since 1875) for senior women. There are also prizes for winners of the junior races.
The format of the race has varied over the years and it is most commonly held as a 10,000m race these days, with a juniors covering shorter distances.
The Hasler marathon series sees clubs compete regionally to qualify for the national Hasler final. Qualifying clubs compete in the season finale for the much-prized Hasler Trophy.
Competitors race against people of their own ability – regardless of age of gender – and there is a division for everyone. Division 9 is for those new to racing, whilst international athletes male athletes tend to compete in Division 1. You are promoted up divisions (and sometimes demoted down divisions) according to your finish time.
Divisions 1, 2 and 3 compete over a 12 mile course. Divisions 4, 5 and 6 compete over 8 miles. And Division 7, 8 and 9 compete over 4 miles. You can compete in K1 or K2.
Royal Canoe Club is part of the London and South East region. Other races in the series are held at Richmond, Elmbridge, Wey, Tonbridge and Maidstone canoe clubs.
The Hasler Series itself is named after Herbert “Blondie” Hasler, who led Operation Frankton, a WW2 commando raid in double kayaks on the port of Bordeaux. The story of this raid was made into a 1955 film, The Cockleshell Heroes.
Sprint canoeing is an Olympic sport and the discipline is engrained in the club’s DNA. Our sprint regatta attracts competitors from across the region and is an excellent introduction to sprint racing for juniors and novices, before progressing onto national competitions.
Competitors take place in 200m and 500m time trials. The results from the time trials are then used to grade people into races against those of a similar ability. The regatta is rounded off with longer distance, mass start races of up to 3,000m.