Sailing and canoeing on the River Thames in Kingston


Minima Yacht Club introduced a canoeing section in 2009 as a complementary activity to sailing. The name of the section was updated to Paddlesport in 2024. In contrast to sailing, paddlesport at Minima is purely recreational and no competitive activities are organized. Basic training is provided free for all members.

The Club owns a number of kayaks and canoes including four new Venture Flexes which were bought in 2016. Members are not allowed to take club-owned kayaks out on their own and must go out in a group of a minimum of three people (one of whom must have a BCU Two-star qualification).

The normal padding area for informal outings is the non-tidal Thames from Molesey Lock to Teddington Lock. These mostly take place at the same time as the regular sailing competitions, but suitably qualified members also get together for informal outings at other times.

Monthly ‘Canoe Adventures’ are organized outside the normal paddling area. In recent years, groups have paddled on the tidal Thames as far as Barnes and have loaded kayaks on the club trailer to travel to other parts of the Thames such as Shepperton, Chertsey, Marlow and the head of the navigable Thames at Lechlade. Members have also paddled the entire length of the River Wey (in three separate Adventures). A risk assessment is carried out for each Adventure and the group is always led by a member with BCU Two-star qualification.

Paddlesport FAQ

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about paddlesport at Minima:

That depends on the time of year:

  • In the Spring and Summer (March to August) the Club meets on Wednesday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons.
  • In the Autumn (September to December) the Club only meets on Sunday afternoons, due to the lack of light in the evenings.
  • In the Winter (January and February) there’s no canoeing organised by the Club.

We ask that all members are BCU 2 Star certified. This is to show that you have reached a suitable level of skill to be on the water safely.

Don’t worry if you’re not quite there yet. We have contacts with a number of local watersports centres who provide excellent courses and training (see our links page). Most importantly, don’t be put off. Come and talk to us. We can get you on the water to ‘have a go’ to see if canoeing is your thing.

Yes, yes and yes. We want everyone to be safe on the water, so you must wear a buoyancy aid at all times.

Yes, you can use a club owned canoe or kayak, subject to demand, in your first year of membership. We have kayaks suitable for 1 adult or child and canoes suitable for 2 adults or children.

No. Sorry, but for safety reasons we can only hire boats to Minima Yacht Club members who have demonstrated their safety on the water.

Yes. Members can store their own craft at the club’s boat park for an annual fee (see the membership fees page for more information).

Paddlesport documents