Canoe Wales News

By Canoe Wales 17 Nov, 2017
We're pleased to announced the shortlisted finalists for this year's Canoe Wales awards. These are the athletes, coaches, volunteers, teams and clubs that stood out to the judges as deserving of recognition for their remarkable achievements and dedication to paddlesport in Wales.

The winners will be announced during the week of 27 November - with one winner announced every day at noon on our website and on Facebook.

Coach of the Year - Finalists
Cheryl Fowles
Jonathan Davies
Richard Lee

Super Star Volunteer - Finalists
Mark Abbott
Julie Drake
Penny and James Wingfield

Paddler of the Year - Finalists
Emily Davies
Owen Bie
Elise Churchill
Etienne Chappell

Team of the Year - Finalists
Brecon Canoe Club Canoe Polo Youth Team
Wales Sprint Team
North Wales Slalom

Club of the Year - Finalists
Swansea Kayak Club
Haverfordwest Kayak Club
Croesyceiliog Canoe Club

By Canoe Wales 08 Nov, 2017

We have received reports of hazardous fishing board-walk planks across the River Usk between Aberbran and Brecon at approximate Grid Reference SO012283 at the river-right ‘gathering eddy’ above the top of the Llanspyddid rapid (where the river turns left and drops several metres through a boulder-garden, with an island to the right). These planks extend more than halfway across the river, from the ri ght bank. They are secured to the bedrock with steel bolts, leaving exposed bolt ends rising above the planks in places.

At low water, these planks are exposed and easily avoided. But at medium to high water levels they will be covered and form a lethal hazard, posing a significant risk of boat pinning, swimmer entrapment (by the strainer formed between the planks and the river bed) and laceration (by the exposed bolts).

Paddlers should therefore exercise extreme caution when approaching the Llanspyddid rapid (and the eddies above it on river-right) in anything other than low flows; and avoid directing capsized swimmers towards these planks. The left-hand, deep-water channel is unaffected.

During construction in July, these board-walks were inspected by Natural Resources Wales, who advised us that “NRW visited the site in June and determined that the intention of the landowner was to install board walks into the river. This work did not require a flood risk permit. However, we agreed that works to the remaining walkways should be completed as soon as possible. The wooden walkways should be fixed in line with the existing alignment of the rock outcrops and all fixing bolts cut flush to the walkways to minimise any health and safety risk. We also recommend that appropriate signage be put in place upstream to make users aware that there are obstructions ahead.”

Now that winter paddlers are using the river regularly, it has become clear that these precautions have not been applied and that the completed boardwalks pose a significant threat to life. Following pressure from local paddlers this week, NRW has agreed to inform the landowner of the hazard that these boards pose and the importance of taking appropriate action to mitigate the imposed risk.

We will provide further information if the situation changes.

Steve Rayner
Waterways & Environment Officer

By Canoe Wales 30 Oct, 2017

Beating off an experienced Irish team, team Wales have taken Bronze at the Kayak Surf World championships held in Portrush Northern Ireland. With individual Silver and Bronze medals for Tim Thomas and Paul Robertson in the Open IC and Masters IC & HP classes, and a fourth place for Ewen Arkison in the Masters IC.

Keep an eye on the next issue of Ceufad for a full report or search #WSKCPortrush .
Images thanks to Mark Boyd.

By Canoe Wales 01 Oct, 2017

Nominations are now open for the 2017 Canoe Wales Awards. You can submit your nominations for this year's awards through our online nominations form . Please note that only Canoe Wales members can submit a nomination. The application deadline is midnight on 31 October 2017.

Information about the awards

The Canoe Wales Awards recognise the tremendous dedication and commitment of our members and those who support them.

This year's award categories are:

  • Coach of the year
  • Volunteer of the year
  • Paddler of the year
  • Team of the year
  • Club of the year

The board of directors will also be presenting a special award this year in memory of the late Alan Baker:

  • Alan Baker Outstanding Service Award

The assessment process

After the nomination period closes, the Canoe Wales Awards judging panel will assess the nominations. The panel will make their decision only on the information provided in the nomination form. Applicants must not make the assumption that the panel or Canoe Wales will know the applicant or have knowledge that will be used as part of the assessment process. It is not necessary to submit multiple applications for each nominee - the total number of nominations received will not be a factor in the judges' decision.

The judges will use the criteria listed below for each award to select three finalists for each award, with the highest scoring nominee selected as the award winner. However, please note that to be successful a nominee does not necessarily need to have evidence of all of the criteria - these have simply been provided as a guideline to assist you in writing your nomination.

The finalists will be announced live on Facebook and on our website at noon on 17 November, and the winners will be announced the following week, with formal presentations to be organised with each winner at their club or another local venue.

The timeline

Period of activity for nominations to be considered - 1st September 2016 - 1st October 2017

Nominations open - 1st October 2017

Nominations deadline - 31st October 2017

Announcement of finalists - 17 November 2017

Announcement of winners - week of 27 November 2017 (one announced each day)

Presentation of awards - December 2017 - January 2018

How to nominate someone

Click this link to go to our online nominations form  where you can submit your nominations. Please note that you do not need to submit a nominee for every award - you can simply skip a page on the nomination form if you do not have anyone to nominate for that particular award.

Award Criteria

Coach of the year

Someone who is always there to help others with their paddling, develop skills or simply get more paddlers on the water having fun.
  • Making the introduction to paddle sports fun and attractive
  • Being creative in assisting skills progression for fellow paddlers
  • Planning activities through the year to broaden the skills of paddlers
  • Creating a positive impact (for example personal development, health or educational achievement)
  • Using innovative ideas for coaching (including technology)

Volunteer of the year

The rock-solid person behind the scenes who is always there supporting your team, you or your club.
  • Making the introduction to paddle sports fun and attractive
  • Helping or organising key parts of an event (judging, logistics, activity)
  • Supporting paddlers as a community outside the activity of paddling
  • Creating a positive impact (for example personal development, health or educational achievement)

Paddler of the year

The Welsh athlete or explorer who stands out with their paddling achievements, showing progression, personal preparation or sportsmanship to contribute to the sport.
  • Achieved progression through preparation, effort or results
  • Demonstrated sportsmanship to other paddlers
  • Achieved a first descent or explored a paddling destination in a new way

Team of the year

The team with this year's most impressive competitive achievement - demonstrated either on the podium or through a commendable display of sportsmanship, leadership or teamwork.
  • A club team or group affiliated with a club
  • A team competing in a Welsh league
  • A team competing as Wales at a national or international event

Club of the year

Awarded to the top canoe club in Wales - recognising exemplary achievement in promoting the growth of paddlesport and supporting the development of paddlers at all levels from all communities.
  • A club that embraces and supports the development of a wide range of paddlesport disciplines
  • Evidence of the development of skill progression and enjoyment within paddlesport
  • Evidence of planning and maximising opportunities to broaden the skills and experience of club paddlers
  • Evidence of a unique programme that has made a significant impact within the club
  • Evidence of joint initiatives with other clubs that benefit its members
  • Evidence of how the club safeguards their athlete(s)
  • Evidence of growth in membership within the club
By Canoe Wales 30 Sep, 2017

Canoe Wales & British Canoeing have submitted a joint response to the Welsh Government consultation “Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources”. Over 800 individual paddlers have also submitted their own responses in support of ours.

The Chairs of the two National Governing Bodies introduced our response by saying, “We are delighted to be able to respond to this consultation, which offers the unique opportunity to clarify the legal position regarding access to inland waterways in Wales. For decades, England and Wales have been alone in the world in the extent to which recreational access to inland waterways is restricted, despite compelling evidence that Public Rights of Navigation have existed on our rivers since time immemorial.

”While the Welsh Government’s proposals fall short of a universal Public Right of Navigation; and are not as extensive as the current access arrangements in Scotland; we believe that they represent a pragmatic approach suited specifically to Wales. With its immense range of waterways – ranging from extreme white-water rivers to tranquil canals; and from challenging tidal seas to beautiful and extensive lakes and reservoirs – Wales has the potential to be a magnet for paddlesport enthusiasts from all over the UK and abroad; as well as offering unparalleled outdoor recreation for its own citizens and communities.

“If enacted properly, taking full account of the issues we have raised in this response, these proposals have enormous potential and will set a course that we hope England might follow. We look forward to working with the Welsh Government and its agencies as you develop further and eventually implement these exciting proposals.”

You can read our full response here.

By Canoe Wales 11 Sep, 2017



Over the past twelve months, British Canoeing has commissioned a review of the Personal Performance Awards and wider consultations have been carried out which some of the membership and wider-afield groups have been involved with.

Early in 2017, a Personal Performance Awards Working Group was established which has reviewed the research and started to work towards producing a model that both incorporates the data as well as the feedback we received to date. Technical groups added to these discussions and we are now in a position to go out wider and gain further feedback.

The model is based around the following principles:

·     Remove the link of personal performance awards to coaching qualifications

·     Design awards that have clear progressions

·     Removal of a generic kayak/canoe award

·     Allow high level personal performance awards without leadership

·     Define and expand providers of awards to include leaders as well as coaches

·     Specific discipline awards that are fit for purpose

·     Direct entry can be gained at any stage of the paddler’s development

·     Removal of registrations before delivery

·     Awards that promote coaching and development rather than assessments

Although at this stage we have not started to consider the content of the awards or their names, we are keen to gain wider views on the concept. Once we are confident that the model is appropriate, technical groups will start to establish content, ensuring that logical and clear progressions are overlapping rather than having a defined start and end point.

Your feedback is valued and we would appreciate if you have any comments on the model or personal performance awards that you complete the British Canoeing Personal Performance Awards online feedback form .

Thank you for your continual support.

Lee Pooley

British Canoeing Head of Coaching and Qualifications

You can download a copy of the review documents from the British Canoeing website here .

By Canoe Wales 11 Sep, 2017

Interested in joining the Canoe Wales team?

We're currently accepting applications for a new Performance Manager and a Performance Coach (Canoe Slalom). You can find full details and information about how to apply on the vacancies page here .

By Sarah Oldham 31 Aug, 2017

The Canoe Wales slalom squad have had exciting results at the recent Junior ECA series races in Poland and the Czech Republic. Richard Lee, our Performance Manager and Head Slalom Coach, provides us with this update from the road:

The Canoe Wales slalom squad took to the road again to race at the Junior European Canoe Association cup in July and August with races at Krakow (Poland) and Ceske Budevojice (Czech Republic). The race series is held over 12 races at 6 venues, with the best 6 races counting towards an overall winner. Having attended two of the races previously, Welsh paddlers were placed well and looking to build on this, both in preparation for the final event in Bratislava in late August, and also the Junior European championships in Hohenlimburg, Germany.

The race at Krakow is held on a channel to the side of the river Wisla, just outside the historic city of Krakow. Here the polish Canoe Federation have developed the Kolna multi sports complex, with a swimming pool, gym, club facilities, a hotel and hostel accommodation alongside the course, which in turn hosts regular World and European age group championships. The course itself is similar to a cross between the Cardiff and Nottingham white water courses and following two days of training, 270 racers competed across two days to find the overall winner of this fourth leg of races. Welsh paddlers fared well, with Emily Davies taking the U23 C1 Women win, and four Welsh paddlers narrowly missing the podium in 4th place - Lili Bryant (U16 K1W), Will Coney (U23 C1M), Etienne Chappell (U16 K1M) and James Cooper (U23 K1W), while Jess Rayner picked up a final on the Sunday to improve her overall ranking.

A quick departure on Sunday evening saw James Cooper traveling to Prague with Irish and English paddlers for some training, while seven paddlers travelled to Liptovsky Mikulas in Slovakia for three days of speed training in the Tatras mountains. Here the Welsh boats shared the water with double Olympic champion, Elena Kaliska, C2 leading pairs - the Skantars and Kucera & Batik and a member of the Slovak team. The water although low, provided a good base, with a run down to Bratislava, where the Danube feeds a 300 metre channel which drops 12 metres to give one of the most intense slalom experiences in the world with the 4 metre drop -“ Niagara - being the sting in the tail. This course provided an opportunity for young paddlers to expand their white water hard drive, before returning to the racing circuit at Ceske Budejovice.

With a short training session on the Friday, the paddlers were ready for racing by the Saturday on a course that resembled the Holme Pierrepoint training course in form, although the rapids were formed by the Raid Block system that creates the Lee Valley Olympic course. Once again, race results were combined over the two days to provide an overall points table. James Cooper, fresh from Prague, took the U23 K1 Men win, while Megan Hamer Evans took a second place in the K1W under 18 section. Eti Chappell was 2nd in the U16 K1Men, while 2nd placed Lili Bryant shared the podium with Antonia Galuskova, the current Junior World champion. Emily Davies took a fourth consecutive podium at the ECA races in 3rd overall, while Jess Rayner produced a good Saturday final performance. Over the course of 4 legs of the ECA series, all 8 Welsh paddlers recorded a final, while 6 of the athletes featured in the top three of their events at some point in the tour, which not only saw podium performances but also great experiences built on successes, failures and hard work, which will see the young paddlers well in the future.

This future begins next weekend with the ECA cup final at Bratislava (where James Cooper will compete), the Junior and Under 23 European championships where Eti Chappell, Megan Hamer Evans, Tom Abbott and Gabi Ridge will compete for Great Britain.

By Sarah Oldham 31 Aug, 2017

Join us for this year's AGM

This year's AGM - or Annual General Meeting - is being held on Saturday 30 September 2017 from 6:30-7:30pm at the National White Water Centre in Bala, overlooking the beautiful Tryweryn. The AGM is where members get a chance to have their say about how Canoe Wales is governed and elect the newest member of our board of directors. If you're a Canoe Wales member, you can vote.

Straight after the AGM, we're hosting a free dinner for all members who have pre-registered. We're also waiving the facility fee all day at the NWWC (below the Graveyard) for any members pre-registered to attend the AGM, and there is a Slalom Prem event taking place all weekend if you'd like to stay on dry land and check out the action (or if you're already planning to be there)!

To attend the dinner and take advantage of the free facility access, we just ask that you pre-register so that we know how many of our lovely members will be coming along to share a meal with us. To register and for more information, please visit our online ticketing website here:

Nominations now open for the Canoe Wales Board of Directors

At the AGM we'll also be electing one new member of our Board of Directors. If you would like to nominate a member to stand for election, please fill out our online nomination form here . Nominations must be submitted on or before 19 August.

In accordance with the principles of the Governance and Leadership Framework for Wales, directors of Canoe Wales are expected to take the lead on ensuring effective governance of the organisation. As such, they may be required to commit time to attend workshops, bi-monthly board meetings and events. All nominees should also ensure they understand their personal legal responsibilities as a director.

All members of Canoe Wales Board should:

  • Ensure Canoe Wales' vision, values and standards and its obligations to the whole membership, staff and other parties are fully understood and met
  • Ensure Canoe Wales' strategic aims, and necessary resources (financial and others) are in place in order for the organisation to meet its objectives and review management performance
  • Provide leadership of the organisation within a framework of prudent and effective controls which allow risk to be assessed and managed to ensure compliance with company and other statutory laws that apply
  • Ensure that the company's obligations to outside stakeholders are understood and met

In addition to the above, Canoe Wales Director roles contain the following key elements:


 All Board members should constructively challenge and help develop proposals on the company's strategy


Board members should scrutinise the performance of both volunteer and staff when looking at whether agreed goals and objectives have been met and monitor the reporting of performance


Board members need to be able to satisfy themselves on the integrity of the financial information and that financial controls and systems of risk management are robust and defensible


Board members have a key role in identifying skills gaps and in succession planning

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