Discover (Beginner’s Course)

Take part in a Discover course.

To find out when the next course is, take a look at the Training page of our website.

If you would like to take part, email and let us know.

You will need to join the club (as a full member) before you can take part.
Click here to visit our membership page and join the club.

Once booked, this course is non-refundable and cannot be transferred to another date.

Some Background

Paddle UK Discover – what is it? Paddle UK is the governing body for many paddlesports in the UK – including Kayaking, Canoeing and White Water Rafting (amongst others),. Paddle UK was previously known as British Canoeing (BC). The Paddle UK Discover course is a ‘Personal Performance Award’ designed by Paddle UK to introduce beginners to the sport. Back in the day, these performance awards were known as the star awards. Roughly speaking, a Discover is somewhat equivalent to the old 1 star.

Click here to visit the official Paddle UK website.
Click here to find the official syllabus for the Paddle Discover

What to bring with you.

Something to wear on the water.
A wetsuit is ideal, but if you don’t have one, wear something comfortable that won’t soak up too much water. Also bring a waterproof coat with you too. Make sure to wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.

Something to wear afterwards.
You’ll need a full change of clothes, shoes and a towel for afterwards.

Something to eat.
Bring a packed lunch, a drink and some light snacks with you. You’ll need to take this on the water with you, so bring a dry bag if you have one.

Facilities at Shepperton Lock.

There are public toilets at Shepperton Lock, which can be used to get changed in. Please note, there are no showers available. If you’re not driving and need somewhere to store your kit while out on the water, ask your coach on the day and you should be able to lock it away in their vehicle.

Parking is free all day.

Start of the day.

A lot of things have to happen in the background in order for you to take part in a Discover course with Chelsea Kayak Club. The first part of the day involves a group of volunteers meeting up at our base, Kew Bridge, to load equipment and transport it to the course venue (usually Shepperton Lock). It’s very generous of these volunteers to offer their time in order to facilitate you on this course, and it would be very appreciated if you could help out too. If you have a vehicle with roof bars and can help transport kayaks – this would be extremely helpful. If not, your help would still be appreciated to load kayaks onto vehicles. You can usually get a lift between Kew Bridge and Shepperton if you meet the coach here at the start of the day to help out.

For this bit, we usually meet for 8am* at Kew Bridge. Postcode: W4 3NG
*Check exact times with your coach, as this may vary.

Where we meet.

We usually meet at Shepperton Lock for 9:30am*. Postcode: TW17 9LJ
*Check the exact time and location with your coach, as this may vary.

You’ll meet your coach at the Shepperton Lock car park, shown on the map below. Your coach will talk you through the basics and explain what to do in the unlikely event that you fall in. You’ll have the chance to adjust your kayak to suit you and to stow your lunch in one of the hatches. After a short introduction to the kayak and the strokes you’ll be using, you’ll get on the water.

On the water.

Once the whole group is on the water, you’ll paddle away from Shepperton Lock and towards a quieter part of the river. The aim is to go on a journey around Desborough Island, stopping for lunch somewhere along the way. During the day, you’ll stop several times so your coach can teach you some skills. These skills will include paddling forwards, backwards, sideways and some other strokes.


You’ll stop for lunch somewhere along the way, likely on Desborough Island. As well as taking some time to appreciate the nature, this is a great chance to learn more about how the club works. Use this opportunity to ask your coach any questions you have about the club, the kayak or any equipment you are using (or thinking of getting).

After Lunch.

After lunch, you’ll continue on your journey around the island. During this time, you’ll stop to recap some of the skills you’ve already learned and hopefully pick up one or two more along the way. Gradually, you’ll make your way back towards the lock where you’ll stop again to go through some rescue skills. Your coach will talk you through what to do when you capsize and will demonstrate the process. Under their close supervision, you will then capsize your kayak, get out and return to the bank, ready to continue.

End of the day.

At the end of the day, you’ll return to Shepperton Lock, where you’ll carry the kayaks back up the bank and onto the grass where you started off. Once you’re all changed and feeling fresh, your coach will sit down and advise you of the next steps you can take to progress your paddling further. Assuming you’ve passed the course, you will be able to attend our Thursday evening paddles with the rest of the club and, in time, take part in the Explore course – the level above Discover.

After the course.

If you passed the course and would like a certificate, please let your coach know. You will need to pay them ~£6, which they will then pass onto Paddle UK upon submitting your certificate.