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Canoe White Water Leader



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What our clients say...

“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.”

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

"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. Felt included and valued as a course participant."

"Very good – concreted everything that I thought I knew and made me confident for the assessment. All information provided and clear. Easy to get anyone if needed. Couldn’t fault it! I wanted confirmation of what I already knew and that’s 100% what I got plus more."

"Once again thank you, for 2 days of really high quality coaching. I learned so much and took away even more to process and work on."


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British Canoeing Awarding Body

Canoe White Water Leader Award

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A canoe white water leader can take participants on epic white water journeys. They inspire lead groups on amazing days out in the white water environment.

Canoe White Water Award

How can Wild River help prepare you for the assessment?

Wild River runs a variety of training courses which also cover training towards the progressive canoe award.

We offer the British Canoeing white water canoe leader training which often runs on the days following our canoe open water leader training.

On this course we will look at:

  • Pre-trip information gathering.
  • Trip planning and predicting weather and conditions.
  • Safety briefs.
  • Leadership strategies for tandem and solo canoe.
  • River reading and line descriptions.
  • Boat control in white water.
  • When to use lining as a group tool.
  • Incident management.
  • Benchmarking of personal paddling skill.
  • Help you create your individual action plan.

Other Wild River opportunities for development:

  • Attend a canoe award to improve you boat control and wind awareness.
  • Bring in one of our team to observe you leading a group and provide feedback and mentor support.
  • Attend a progressive canoe training to increase your all round canoe ability.
  • Receive some individualised bespoke training.
  • Gather a group to create a bespoke training course of 2 or 3 days.

White water safety and rescue training is a pre-requisite for assessment. At Wild River we make sure we cover all aspects of canoe rescue as well as kayak and white water sup.

The key part of any training course is the individual debrief to assist with your development of your detailed action plan.

How does assessment work?


On an assessment candidates will be expected to be able to:

  • Plan and lead an inspirational journey in a way that encourages independence and development for the group.

  • Paddle their canoe at a good standard in the top end of the remit, a grade 2(3) white water river).

  • Rescue tandem and solo canoes whilst maintaining good group control.

  • Demonstrate their ability to manage the likely incidents that could occur.

  • Use a pole to travel up and down a simple bit or white water.

Prior to an assessment you will be given the opportunity to contact the group members to gather information about their ability, equipment needs and aspirations for the day. You will be encouraged to plan the day in detail with logistical support from Wild River if necessary. The group will have at least 4 participants in a mix of tandem and solo canoes.

Wild River runs single day assessments with dates on the website. Alternatively 1-1 assessments can be set up on dates that suit the individual.

Pre-requisites for assessment:

  • Prior to assessment all candidates must register with their home nation association (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales, Paddle Northern Ireland).

  • Full National Association Membership.

  • Valid (within 3 years) 2 day First Aid Award recognised by Paddle UK.

  • Valid (within 3 years) Safeguarding Training recognised by Paddle UK.

  • White Water Safety Course (WWS).

Where does a Canoe White Water Leader operate?


Canoe white water leaders are qualified to take participants on moderate white water trips. They can lead grade 2 white water that may have one or two straight forward grade 3 rapids. Canoe leaders can make their own decisions about the size of the group but 6 solo canoes or 5 tandem canoes would be seen as a large group.

Rivers that fall inside the canoe white water leader remit include:


  • All sections of the river Eden north of Penrith.

  • All sections of the river Derwent from above Derwentwater.

  • River Lune from Killington Bridge to Lancaster.

  • River Leven from Newby Bridge to a get out upstream of Back Barrow Bridge.

Outside Cumbria

  • River Dee Glyndyfrdwy to Mile End Mill which include the serpents tale section.

  • White water sections of the Usk and Brecon in mid Wales.

  • River Tay in Scotland.


Canoe White Water Award

Paddle UK have developed an online eLearning resource to support leaders learning and can be accessed using the following link: e-learning


Training Dates

2 Day Training
Dates to be arranged.
Course Fee: £200

Assessment Dates

Dates to be arranged.
Cost: £270 per person (requires 2 candidates to run).
1 to 1 assessments £350 - contact us to arrange this.

Training Prerequisites

There are no formal prerequisites for leader training but candidates should have a level of personal skill relevant to the environment.


For assessment all candidates must register with Paddle UK.

At registration evidence of the following is required:

Full home nation association membership (Paddle England, Paddle Scotland, Canoe Wales or Paddle Northern Ireland).

2 Day First Aid Award (within 3 years) recognised by Paddle UK.

Safeguarding Training (within 3 years) recognised by Paddle UK.

White Water Safety Course. Click here for dates.

British Canoeing registration


Google Forms Action Plan

How to Register Video

British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader GuidanceCanoe White Water Leader Course Documents

British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader Skills ChecklistCanoe White Water Leader Skills Checklist

Safeguarding Training

Paddlesport Leader e-learning

British Canoeing Environmental DefinitionsEnvironmental Definitions

Canoe White Water Award
Course Dates




Paddlesport courses in the Lake District