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Learn to Paddle

The Burley Griffin Canoe Club holds several 'A Taste of Paddling' sessions, for non-members who would like to try out paddling.

A Taste of Paddling

Participants will be able to try out a variety of boats, learn about equipment, boat handling, entry and exit techniques, basic paddling techniques and basic capsize procedures. Participants are expected to be able to swim 50m. 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.

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.

The courses cover a short introduction to a variety of boats and paddles, safety issues, entry and exit techniques, basic paddling techniques, what to do in a capsize.  

Session Dates for 2022

  • Taste of Paddling sessions are now fully booked, please contact Patricia for further information.

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

those new to paddling should consider doing the Taste of Paddling first.

Join the Burley Griffin Canoe Club -  New Members' Inductions will generally be held on the first Sunday of each month over the warmer months. We then offer beginner sessions at various times during the week, or, if you’re more advanced, there are training sessions with coaches which are more race-orientated.

New Members interested in Canoe Polo should contact:  Laura at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Find out more in Coaches and Instructor Opportunities

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 out for signs of injury or over-training and help you minimise the risks and impacts