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A group of paddlers huddled together on the water.


Sutton Bingham Paddlesports Club aims to promote Kayaking, Canoeing and Stand Up Paddle Boarding in a safe and enjoyable way, providing opportunities for those wishing to try each of the sports for the first time and encouraging those already partaking in them, to achieve their full potential.

The club was formed in the spring of 2001 as Sutton Bingham Canoe Club and provides canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) opportunities for all ages skill groups. Based 3-miles south of Yeovil, the club has members from across Somerset and Dorset. Membership is open to all and you are more than welcome to come along to any of the reservoir sessions to see what we do.


We are affiliated to Paddle UK (Formerly British Canoeing) and are a Community Amateur Sports Club.


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  • Are there any age limits?
    Yes and no. The club has a non-discriminatory policy and our restrictions are based around the need to protect individual safety. We require that members are able to swim 50m in paddling gear (not difficult when wearing a buoyancy aid) and that any medical conditions or medication being taken do not prevent the member partaking in the paddlesport they wish to partake in. Therefore, as long as you are reasonably fit, there is no upper age limit. We request that under 18’s have parental consent, and those under 10 must join as part of a family membership and be supervised by their parent(s) or guardian(s) at all times. In general, we find that under 12’s do not usually have sufficient strength or stamina to cope with non-calm flat water, but this is not a problem at Sutton Bingham reservoir in good weather conditions. If in doubt, undertake a taster session first.
  • What do I need to wear?
    In the UK the main aim is to keep warm (as you’re probably not going to be able to keep dry). There’s lots of specialist clothing around but when starting out you probably already have clothing that will be suitable, dependent on the time of year. In general, a light sweater/T-shirt, nylon tracksuit trousers and training shoes will be adequate for paddling at Sutton Bingham. In cold weather or for long duration trips, a wind-proof top (cagoule) is essential for keeping warm (wind-proof trousers too if in Open Canadian canoe). Sleeveless wetsuit and wetsuit boots will help keep you warm if soaked. The Club can provide buoyancy aids and spray decks, which also help keep you dry and warm. Things that you should not wear include denim jeans or woollen tops (heavy when wet and don’t dry quickly) and bulky training shoes or shoes with long laces (that could tangle or jam on the footrests). Please see the Paddle UK reccomendations here
  • How safe is it?
    Canoeing and kayaking are “assumed risk” “water contact sports” that may carry attendant risks. Therefore, the Club has implemented rules and policies to assist the management of these risks while not interfering onerously with individuals’ enjoyment of the sport. As part of the club courses, newcomers are taught to recognise the various risks and how to best avoid or protect against them. Canoeing accidents and incidents invariably occur when people exceed their own capabilities. Through the use of advice, training, and risk management practices, canoeing generally has a good safety record when compared with other sporting activities.
  • Should I buy my own canoe and if so what type?
    The answer to this question to new comers is almost invariably NO! (or at least not yet)! The Club has plenty of general purpose boats for hire and, until you have mastered the basic paddling techniques, there is little point in spending a lot of money on a canoe that you will not be able to get the full benefit from. As you become more competent you will probably find that you would like to develop skills in a specific paddling activity, e.g. slalom, marathon, white water, and this is the time to buy your own gear. You should also be aware there are some canoes on the second-hand market (eBay etc) that aren’t suitable for beginners, or are of an old design or involve materials that have their own problems, e.g. fibreglass fragments are difficult to remove from cuts and grazes! One of the advantages of being a Club member is that you can try out other member’s boats before you settle on a type or make. The Club also holds open days throughout the year, which are often supported by local canoe shops that will bring along boats to try before you buy.
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