New to paddling

If you’re new to paddling, we can help you.

If you would like to take up a sport with low impact, all levels of intensity, accessibility to start at any age and ability (we have members who started in their teens, twenties, forties, and seventies!) plenty of locations and competitive events to discover, and a friendly family culture, then we are really happy for you to give kayaking a go.

Starting is easy

It’s really easy to get involved. Please contact our experienced Club Coach, Gavin Elmiger, if you are interested in coming along to a Saturday morning session to test the waters at Lake Pupuke. Our clubrooms are at 1A Northcote Rd, Takapuna (Link to Google Maps).

We can find a stable boat for you to try out, provide a life jacket and a paddle – as well as a hot shower when you are finished. You don’t need an expensive wet suit to paddle, but the ability to swim to shore is important in case you tip out.

Join the club for more

Once you have tried it out –  why not sign up as a member and then you can register to join in our regular Tuesday afternoon development training group. That’s where you’ll start to see real progress and get more feedback, plus have fun with other paddlers who are also starting out.

Many of the paddlers in this group move on quickly to take part in canoe sprint regattas and longer-distance races run by Canoe Racing New Zealand among all the New Zealand canoe clubs at beautiful scenic locations such as Lake Karapiro (near Cambridge) and Lake Tikitapu (near Rotorua).

There are also other events you can take part in once you have got your technique in order (and maybe have your own boat and paddle) including coastal and river races, downwind surf ski and multi-sport events. Depending on how fast you progress through development, we also run early morning sessions almost every day for our more experienced paddlers.

Whatever level you want to take it to, kayaking or canoeing regularly will build your core, burn fat and increase your stamina. It’s also fun!

What types of racing are there?

We’re predominantly a canoe sprint club but can also help paddlers prepare for marathon and surf ski paddling too. Some of our club paddlers do all three – and we have everyone from juniors starting out, adults picking up a new sport, to national and world champions from each discipline training regularly at the lake. Here’s a breakdown on the differences:

Sprint – The main distances are 200m, 500m, 1000m and 5K. You can compete in these races as an individual (K1), with a paddling partner (K2) or with three other paddlers (K4). There are a number of age categories in our three main national regattas – Blue Lakes 1 and 2 which run in the last three months of each year at Lake Tikitapu in Rotorua, and Nationals – which is the showpiece of New Zealand Canoe Sprint, normally held at Lake Karapiro in Cambridge. Find out more on the Canoe Racing website.

Marathon – Paddlers normally race these in a K1 or slightly wider kayak over a distance of about 26-27km (about 3 hours) and include regular portages, where the paddler must carry the canoe or kayak for a short distance overland. Canoe Racing New Zealand runs a national marathon championship once a year, with many long distance paddlers also taking part in the 10km Krazy Kayak series as well as other events such as the Cambridge to Hamilton race.

Surf ski – Surf or Ocean Ski racing is a very popular sport in New Zealand, and the Pacific, with many great harbours and long distance races to get into. Keep an eye on the Canoe Racing New Zealand website for details of the new Darcy Price NZ Ocean Surfski Series.

More questions?

  • If you have any questions about our training programme please talk to Gavin Elmiger, our Club Coach.
  • If you are interested in joining the club please complete the Contact Us form

Additional private one-on-one coaching sessions are also available at an additional charge. Contact Gavin Elmiger for more information.

In this section: Training times | New to paddling | Technique & downtime