The thrill of running a rapid, riding a wave train or sending a waterfall makes white water paddling addictive...
Anyone who is confident paddling their chosen craft in a controlled way on flat water can give white water a go.
From navigating gentle grade 2 rapids and wave trains, to surfing holes and sending waterfalls, white water paddling offers challenges and thrills for all skill levels.
UHCC members regularly paddle at our local weir in Southampton as well as travelling further afield to paddle rivers and white water courses. We organise trips and coaching to introduce beginners to the discipline as well as providing for more experienced paddlers.
Want to try paddling white water?
White water paddling is very popular within the club and we are always keen to help beginners give it a try and learn new skills.
We run club trips suitable for beginners throughout the year, but mainly during the rainier months (October to March), when the water levels in UK rivers are high enough. On these trips we organise coaching (either from club coaches or professional providers) for beginners, as well as coaching or leading for intermediate paddlers who are looking to build their confidence in the environment, learn new skills or perhaps are returning to the sport after a break from paddling and would like to refresh their training.
We always try to respond to the needs and desires of our members so if you are confident on flat water and interested in giving white water a go then let us know and we can discuss how to help you take the next step!
Safety & White Water Paddling
Safety and rescue training specific to the white water environment is recommended whatever your paddling ability. It is a particularly good way for beginners to build their confidence (on and in the water!) and their understanding of river features, while providing practical solutions to deal with various situations.
Woodmill Weir Sessions
Any members who have some experience on white water are welcome to join the scheduled club sessions at Woodmill Weir on the River Itchen in Southampton. This is our local white water play spot. The wier is tidal so it is paddleable all year round.
These sessions are not coached, so:
as a minimum you should be able to comfortably break in and out of eddies and ferry glide
you must be able to safely exit your boat and self-rescue in the event of a capsize if you are not able to roll on moving water.
You must wear a helmet to paddle at Woodmill.
Intermediate to Advanced Paddlers
Many of our members enjoy paddling higher grades of white water, with regular day or weekend trips to the Dart Loop and Upper Dart as well as other rivers in the southwest during the white water season, and to the white water courses at Cardiff and Lee Valley when the levels are low on the rivers.
Long weekends in North Wales are also popular for summer paddling on the River Dee, which can be paddled all year round, and the Tryweryn, which is a dam-release river offering grade 2 (lower section) and grade 3-4 paddling (upper section). There are many other rivers in the region with great white water sections when water levels are right.
UHCC members often organise trips to Scotland for white water paddling. There are lots of great rivers and options include coached or guided trips, tailored to the group/individuals.
During June or July we run a UHCC trip to the Alps for intermediate to advanced white water paddlers. The format for this trip is dependent on what members want, but generally involves a week of coaching from a professional provider from the UK, with accommodation for the group.
Organise a trip