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White Water Kayak Leader Courses



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What our clients say...

"It was a purposeful but fairly relaxed approach to assessment which was made as clear and as unproblematic as possible. I felt supported and received good advice and guidance."

"Paddled some great rivers to advance my leading and to consolidate my personal paddling. Was given adequate opportunity to show how well I could lead and paddle."

"Well organised and thought out. Experience of running course was clear.Good atmosphere, clear delivery. Not too much pressure"

"Sean and Ian did a great job of trying to make us feel at ease. Given lots of opportunity to demonstrate my skills."


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British Canoeing Awarding Body

White Water Kayak Leader Award

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

kayak leader training

How can Wild River help prepare you for the assessment?

Wild River runs a variety of skills training courses which also cover training towards the progressive white water kayak award.
We also offer a one day white water kayak leading training day.

On this course we will look at:

  • How to deliver inspirational trips for participants.
  • Pre-trip information gathering.
  • Trip planning and predicting weather and conditions.
  • Delivering appropriate safety briefs.
  • River reading and line descriptions.
  • Leadership strategies for different skill levels.
  • Incident management.
  • Benchmarking of personal paddling skill.

You could also:

White water safety and rescue training is a prerequisite for assessment. At Wild River we make deliver practical rescue training based on years of experience.

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

  • Rescue paddlers and their craft whilst maintaining good group control.

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

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 3 participants who might have a range of different skill levels.

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 home nation 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.

Where does a White Water Kayak Leader operate?


White water kayak 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. White water leaders can make their own decisions about the size of the group but 6 paddlers would be seen as a large group.

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


  • All sections of the river Eden north of Penrith.

  • All section of the river Derwent from above Derwentwater to Workington.

  • River Lune classic section from Crook of Lune to Rawthey confluence at normal levels.

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

Outside Cumbia

  • River Dee Glyndyfrdwy to Mile End Mill which include the serpents tale section but not Town Falls.

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

  • River Tay in Perthshire.

  • River Awe in Western Scotland.


kayak leader training

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

kayak leader training

Training Dates

17,18 October 2024
12,13 December 2024

Cost: £200

Assessment Dates

11 November 2024

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.


Google Forms Action Plan

How to Register Video

British Canoeing Paddlesport Leader GuidanceWhite Water Leader Course Documents

Safeguarding Training

Paddlesport Leader e-learning

British Canoeing Environmental DefinitionsEnvironmental Definitions

White Water Leader
Paddlesport Leader Assessment




Paddlesport courses in the Lake District