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Canoe Leader Training



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What our clients say...

"Well run. I am now better suited to progressing and have a list of development points to work on. Fantastic coaching!"

"Learnt a lot. Course content and delivery great."

“Really enjoyed it. I was nervous of how it would go after failing previously but found it has inspired me to go canoeing. Received clear emails with what we needed and where to meet.  I now have a clearer understanding for assessment, coaching and a confidence boost to help me move towards assessment. Covered lots to help me move forward.”

"Three days is a much better time to spend for leader training. Feel a great deal more confident."

"Well structured, well organised, laid back, good progression. Any requests for skills were catered for."

"Thanks again for a great few days on the Loch and River Tay. As always, fantastic coaching and great patience. Clearly I've lots to learn between now and assessment, but I'm looking forward to moving about on grade 2 water with confidence."

"My expectations were high before the course but were surpassed. Over 3 days all momets were full of new and interesting technical tips."

"Run with the high standard of professionalism and useful coaching that I came expecting as a result of my last course. Got some great coached 'gems' to paddle away. Found time for 1:1 within a busy schedule."

"Awesome all round. Clear course info on what was needed and where to be. Clean, well maintained equipment. Clear, well delivered practicals - great use of venues. Always seemed happy to repeat or better deliver points. Feltt included and valued as a course participant."

canoe leader training

Wild River Course Calendar


British Canoeing

Canoe Leader Training

British Canoeing Moderate Water Leadership Awards were formerly known as 4 Star Leader Awards.

Would you like the confidence to lead a group of friends or peers on an open canoe adventure?

As a Moderate Water Canoe Leader you will have the ability to do this, you and your group would be qualified for the following activities:

  • Paddle a grade two river in solo or tandem canoe
  • Paddle across a lake one kilometre wide in solo or tandem canoes in wind up and including force 4
  • Sail open canoes in wind up and including force 4
  • Pole up or down a section of appropriate river

The foundation of good leadership in paddlesport is personal skill, as it allows you to focus all your attention on the group. Once a leader is comfortable in the environment they can easily help and instruct others. On our training course we will help you improve your personal paddling to let you move around the river or lake thoughtlessly. As you do this you will have plenty of time to think about the group and plan what they should do. This will allow you to match the technical skill of your group to the difficulty of the river or lake and then make a safe decision as how to lead them.

Rest assured that at the end of a Wild River training course your personal paddling and technical understanding will have improved significantly.

We will give you demonstrations of best leading practice and allow you to try them with the support of an extremely experienced coach at your side.  We will give you as much freedom to make decisions as you want while always being there to help if necessary.

We feel that three days are needed to allow enough time to cover the canoe leader syllabus and adequately prepare students for the full range of activities involved in the moderate environment in canoe.

Skills looked at during Canoe Leader Training:

  • What equipment to carry.
  • Logistics for river and lake journeys.
  • Matching venues and journeys to the skill level of the group.
  • Strategies for leading in moderate water and when to use them.
  • Communication skills beyond signals and briefing.

On open water

  • Group management and how to use trim adjustments to make life easier and improve group control.
  • Effective use of the variety of forward strokes to move efficiently.
  • Improvised sailing and the problems that can occur.
  • Rescues of solo, tandem and rafted canoes.

On the river

  • River reading.
  • Line choice for different abilities and solo or tandem boats.
  • Applying CLAP to the river environment.
  • Personal paddling skills and technical understanding.
  • Using river features effectively. 
  • Slowing the canoe to aid manoeuvring.  
  • Canoe appropriate rescue techniques.
  • Poling and lining.

At the end of our Canoe Leader training you will have very clear picture of where you are in relation to the Moderate Water Leader benchmark. 

We will write your action plan regarding:

  • Personal paddling skill in moderate open water and rivers.
  • Leadership in moderate open water and lakes.
  • Personal and group equipment needs.
  • What you need to do to prepare for assessment.


Venues for Canoe Leader training include:

  • Rivers - Eden, Lune, sections of the Kent.
  • Lakes - Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater.
Course Dates

23,24 February 2021

Course fee: £220


Be able to paddle to the standard of either old British Canoeing 3 Star Canoe Award or ‘old’ 4 Star Canoe Leader Award.


Canoe Leader Training Action Plan Action Plan

British Canoeing Canoe Leader Syllabus

British Canoeing Canoe Leader Training Notes

4 Star Canoe Leader Training

BCU 4 Star Canoe Training

4 Star Canoe Leader Training

4 Star Canoe Leader Training

4 Star Canoe Leader Training

Wild River Course Dates




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