Canoeing for Disabled People
Canoeing can be a hobby, passion, sport, even a job, for all. The sport is so varied that there is literally something for everyone. Paddling allows family and friends to experience exercise and challenge that is therapeutic for both mind and body. More importantly, canoeing is pleasurable and fun! Together, able bodied and disabled can share all aspects of the sport. Remember, everyone floats the same in a buoyancy aid!
To promote and develop canoeing for disabled people, the British Canoe Union uses the concept and term Paddleability to address the issue of participation in canoe sport and canoe recreation.
Paddleability focuses on the individuals' ability in canoeing rather than disability. To support this concept the following activities and opportunities are available:
+ Competitive events as part of mainstream programmes, which recognise the needs of disabled competitors. In particular, Paddleability events are available in Sprint, Slalom and Marathon competitions.
+ Paddleability sprint races are held at National Regattas in Nottingham, May to September - boats, equipment and coching can be provided. Paddleability Sprint races are now also included in European Sprint Championships.
+ A national Paddleability Sprint Squad that receives specific coaching and training plans.
+ Disability Awareness Training Courses, the aim of the course is to give awareness of disability issues and demonstrate that disabled people can access all aspects of canoe sport.
+ A policy and process to enable disabled canoeists to achieve personal performance awards and enter the coaching scheme. The BCU has a range of personal performance tests which are open to disabled canoeists. Where a disability prevents a candidate from completing a particular part of the test, the award will still be given, where it is clear that the candidate has had relevant coaching and can show that they understand the technique and the purpose.
+ Improved access to information by the provision of large print copies of leaflets and information on request.
Want to know more?
There is a very good chapter in the BCU Handbook on Inclusive Canoeing and Kayaking. A very thorough but slightly dated book, Canoeing for Disabled People by Geoff Smedley is available from the BCU. To purchase visit www.bcushop.org.uk
For news and results from Paddleability events, click here.
Want to know which clubs or centres cater for disabled paddlers?
Contact your home nation -
Canoe England I Canoe Northern Ireland
Scottish Canoe Association I Canoe Wales