After hiring a kayak with my girlfriend for a few weekends on the River Medway we both discovered this had sparked a real interest. Let’s learn some skills and some water safety and have some fun with some like minded people we thought. Little did we know..... 

So, the search began for a local club. Easier than I thought. After not much research the Croydon Active Paddlers (Cappers) were found, well, the video of them kayaking the River Wandle, yep you heard me correctly the Wandle! 

Wow, these were the guys for us. 

First paddle with them was at a pool session which are run every two weeks, in a pool big enough for fifteen or so kayaks. The club has its own kit, kayaks, paddles, PFDs, helmets, and spray decks all available for us to use, be it in the pool or to rent on CAP river trips. 

This very friendly, slightly crazy but very social bunch welcomed us with open arms. 

We've been instructed and trained within our own abilities and then put this knowledge into practice in the sessions in the pool and frequent river trips. From the first local flat-water river trip (and the many others we have been on) to a Whitewater weekend on the river Dart, we have always felt safe, looked after and well coached. 

Through kayaking I’ve met many people who have expanded my skills and knowledge and that have made we want to try more and more. Sea Kayaking, more advanced Whitewater, rescue...the list goes on. So, from renting and borrowing kit I now have my own. I even have two kayaks, one of which is very comfortable in its own room in my flat and all after only seven months paddling. 

I'll end by saying, don’t just sit on the sofa saying "Ooo, I'd like to try that" shout the guys and give it a go.... you won’t be sorry. Just to finish here are a few photos of what I’ve getting up to with the club. 

Happy paddling.

Written by Tony Ireland - CAP Member January 2019, Kayaking since June 2018