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Planning your first visit

Want to try paddling? Birmingham Canoe Club is a great place to start if you want to get on the water. We understand it can be daunting to try something new or join a new club, so here is all the information you need ahead of your first session.

Do I need to have done any paddlesport before?

No. The only thing we ask is that you must be able to swim 25 metres.

Can I try before I join?

Yes. Non-members can visit club sessions up to 4 times before joining and can book onto courses. For safety reasons, only members can attend club trips. All our fees are set out on the Membership page.

Do I need to book in or can I just turn up?

We prefer that you let us know in advance that you are coming, and your level of ability. Please email us at and make your email for the attention of Di, our club Secretary. When you visit, you will be welcomed by Di or one of our other committee members. We’re a friendly bunch!


When are club sessions?

We meet every Tuesday evening. From late September to late April we meet indoors at Sandwell Aquatic Centre from 19.30-21.00. From late April to late September we meet outdoors at Edgbaston Reservoir from 18.30 to dusk.


Do I need to bring any equipment?

No. We have a small fleet of kayaks and canoes, paddles and safety equipment you are free to use at the weekly club sessions. Many of our more experienced paddlers bring their own boats and equipment. If you bring your own equipment, please make sure it is clean.


What shall I wear?

In the pool: a t-shirt and shorts or leggings is ideal. Even though we meet at a swimming pool, we prefer all our paddlers to wear a top.

At the reservoir: warm clothing that does not hold water if it gets wet, such as a wetsuit or drysuit, leggings, shorts, waterproof trousers, t-shirt, rash vest, trainers or aqua shoes. We do not recommend jeans, woollens, flip flops or crocs. We are able to supply cagoule (cag) tops, helmets and personal flotation devices (PFDs), sometimes known as life jackets or buoyancy aids. If you wear glasses, we recommend either removing them before paddling or securing them with a glasses strap.


Are there changing facilities?

At the pool: yes, there are changing cubicles, lockers and showers. You will need a pound coin for the lockers (refundable).

At the reservoir: yes, there are separate basic male and female changing facilities, but no individual cubicles. There is also a toilet. There are no lockers, but belongings can be left at your own risk in our equipment store and there is always someone sitting out while paddlers are on the water.


What will happen at my first session?

You will be welcomed by one of our British Canoeing-qualified instructors, who will get you kitted out, get you on the water and give you paddle instructions. 


Will I get wet?

We encourage all visitors to be prepared to get wet! Safety is a club priority, so when you feel ready to do so, the instructor will support and supervise you to perform a capsize drill so that you know how to exit the boat safely in the water. Every week our members practice capsizing and rescue skills because this is what helps to build confidence and keep us safe when we’re out on the water.

If you’re ready to try it out, visit the Membership page to find out about session fees, and email us at to book your first session. We’re really looking forward to meeting you!

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