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Maldon Canoe Club - White Water icon

Discover White Water

OK, Essex isn’t famed for it’s white water rivers, but we do have many local rivers with fun play spots on various weirs and sluice gates. But even better than that… we have Lee Valley White Water Center literally on our door step, that offers paddlers the chance to develop their skills from basic moving water to olympic grade 4 rapids. Club paddlers also regularly paddle further afield on trips to natural white water rivers/creaks around the UK.

White water kayaking is an adrenaline filled activity which uses a kayak or Canoe to navigate a river or other body of white water or rough water. There are many sub forms of white water kayaking such as river running, creaking, play boating, slalom and squirt boating – all these different disciplines have boats that differ in shape and size which gives them all a very different experience on moving water.

White water is graded from 1 to 5 – below is a brief description of what each grade means.

Grade 1
Moving water, unobstructed and without technical difficulties. There may be small waves and riffles to challenge the paddler.

Grade 2
Waves, small stoppers and other minor obstructions such as rocks to avoid. Eddies and cushion waves may be strong.

Grade 3
Waves, stoppers and technical difficulties are more severe. There may be drops and powerful constrictions. The main distinguishing factor of Grade 3 water is that the paddler will have to follow a recognisable route to avoid obstacles and hazards.

Grade 4
Severe waves, drops, stoppers and other obstructions. The route is not easily recognisable and will usually require careful inspection from the boat or bank. Grade 4 encompasses a wide range of rivers, from those with pool-drop rapids to those with extended continuous rapids; so there is a huge variation in difficulty. It is common to distinguish easier grade 4 rapids by grading them as 4- and harder rapids as 4+ (or in some cases, 3/4 or 4/5).

Grade 5
Extremely difficult rapids with precise and technically demanding routes to be followed. Stoppers, currents and waves will be powerful and inspection is essential.

Grade 6
All of the above carried to extremes. Grade 6 usually means un-runnable rapids, which may just be possible in certain conditions.

Paddle locations 

Our club white water trips offer something for everyone, it’s not all about big, scary white water, some of our past trips have been to Symonds Yat on the river Wye or Jackfield rapids on the river Severn – these locations are a great introduction to paddling on moving water (grade 1/2) where you can practice some of the key techniques and paddle strokes that are fundamental to white water paddling.

For the more experienced, we have travelled to lots of white water rivers around the country. (Dart, Dee, Tryweryn, Wye and Tees being some of the popular choices)

Training / coaches

Maldon Canoe Club are fortunate to have a number of British Canoeing qualified coaches and award providers that are on hand to offer any support they can, so you can feel comfortable and progress your development in your chosen area of canoeing/kayaking.

We also offer safety training and first aid courses. (There are fees applied for most awards/courses, so please speak to one of our coaches, who will happily talk you through the details).

White Water awards

The White Water Awards are aimed at paddlers looking to develop their skills for a safe day out on rivers.
These awards can be taken in a variety of craft.

Discover more about the awards

Watch the video to find out more about British Canoeing Awards

“Maldon Canoe Club is a great club that has made me and my family feel very welcome. My children love having fun at the pool sessions, and there is always help and support on hand from knowledgeable coaches.”

MCC member

“I started out in my late 20's and enjoyed just throwing the ball around while trying to stay in my boat. Now 30 years later I am still playing this sport which keeps me fit and a having a great social time as well.”

MCC Canoe Polo member

I started out kayaking on the sea, but was invited along to try white water with one of the clubs level 3 coaches at Lee Valley. I was hooked from the first session, even though I spent more time out of the boat than in it.

MCC member

Great day out waves got big every time I looked.The coach was right their inspiring confidence great leadership I was able to push myself knowing I was looked after.

MCC member

I was a total novice when I first joined, but through the help of the club I have now have some British canoeing awards under my belt and feel lots more confident in the water. Thanks for all the coaching and leadership.

MCC member

Check out our White Water gallery

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