Items relevant to an intermediate award
BCU three star or Euro Paddle Pass level three (blue paddle)

A boat specific award reflecting a high degree of personal competence.

There are 5 separate awards at this level, each of which must be assessed and awarded separately.

3 Star Flat Water Touring KayakAn efficient paddling stroke demonstrating reliance on torso rather than arms to enable a larger distance to be travelled.Capable of adjusting the trim of their boat in response to the load carried and the prevailing conditions, with winds no more than Force 3.
3 Star White Water KayakThe paddler should have experience of at least 6 club events on more than one river with grade 2 sections.Capable in grade 2 rivers, as part of a led group, able to catch eddies when paddling down a rapid, and paddle upstream in grade 1 conditions.
3 Star Open Boat (Canadian Canoe)Demonstrating a fluent J-stroke, poling and sailing.Capable of paddling fluently on rivers and lakes, adjusting the boat’s trim, as part of a led group, with winds no more than Force 3.
3 Star Sea KayakThe level of skill, understanding and knowledge demonstrated is of the standard of an able improving sea paddler.Capable in a moderate tidal environment, as part of a led group, with winds no more than Force 4.
3 Star Surf KayakEquipped with the ability to move their boat with control in the surf, not surfing straight at the beach.Surfs the waves rather than being surfed. Uses dynamic body movement. Engages rails. Demonstrates S-curve transitions and the ability to exit the wave at any point.

At least 3 club outings of at least 3 hours in the disciple being assessed, and experience of club outings in other disciples.

Technical Ability

  • Lifting, carrying and launching
  • Forward paddling, reverse paddling and stopping
  • Maintain an active posture and good body rotation
  • Using the power of the torso, cycling action with legs
  • Keeping the arms in the safety box
  • Appropriate trim
  • Steering a kayak
    • Sweep strokes
    • Low brace turn
    • Beginning edging
    • Stern rudder
    • Bow rudder
  • Steering an open boat
    • One-quarter sweep strokes
    • J strokes on and off the gunnel
    • Outside pivot turn
    • C strokes
    • Beginning edging
    • Poling
    • Sailing
  • Paddle straight courses and figure-of-8 courses, forward and reverse
  • S-transitions in surf or in a current
  • Draw strokes and moving the craft sideways
    • Classic draw stroke
    • Sculling draw
    • Draw-on-the-move
    • Hanging draw
  • Stern rudder and keeping the craft straight
  • Ferry gliding across a current
  • Surfing a wave
  • Support strokes and preventing a capsize
    • Low brace support stroke
    • Sculling for support
    • High support stroke
    • Paddling into and out of stoppers
  • Eskimo roll
  • Breaking-in and breaking-out of the current
  • Returning to the bank or beach and disembarking
  • Securing kayaks and canoes to trailers and roof racks


  • Capsize drill – swim ashore; retain equipment; empty; (assisted) re-entry
  • Eskimo rescue, bow presentation and paddle presentation
  • Deep water peer rescue via X-Rescue, curl, or tow to shore
  • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Buoyancy aid, helmet and spray deck
    • Kayak or open boat fitted with suitable buoyancy, and paddle
    • Personal clothing – windproof & waterproof clothes
    • Knife, whistle, two-line, first aid kit, repair kit
    • Spare clothing, food and drink
    • Exposure bag or emergency shelter
  • Water confidence
  • Use of throw-lines
  • Towing – push & pull contact tow; use of tow-lines, incl. emergency release
  • Etiquette – particularly surfing, and in rapids
  • Swimming in a current
  • Group awareness


  • The effects of wind, tide, swell, geographical features
  • Coastguard rescue services
  • Potential hazards
  • Access
  • Map reading, tide tables (BBC Tide Tables)
  • Weather forecasts
  • The difference between a skeg and a rudderA skeg is used to control the tracking of a kayak against wind. With a skeg up, the kayak weathercocks (turns into the wind). With the skeg down, the kayak turns downwind. Adjusting the skeg allows the paddler to control the kayak’s tracking between these two angles.

    Trim refers to how a canoe sits on the water. Trim should be considered both front to back and port to starboard.

    In general a canoe can be slightly stern heavy when paddling forward, and slightly bow heavy when paddling backwards. However, if the bow or the stern are out of the water the canoe will be extremely susceptible to the wind and very unstable.

    A solo canoe is paddled up on edge to allow for good body rotation in the J stroke. This however, also makes the canoe an excellent device for catching wind coming from the stroke side. When paddling in windy conditions, the paddler should choose the stroke side to keep the side which is up on edge out of the wind. This is a very good reason for developing a consistent & effective stroke on both sides!

    An interesting historical note is that the term ‘starboard’ derives from the canoe J stroke. Starboard is a modern pronounciation of the anglo-saxon term steorbord (stearboard), as the fixed rudder was first positioned on the right side of the craft where the paddler turns his forward stroke into the J (most people are right-handed). In medieval times the rudder moved backwards and eventually became fixed to the stern-post as the size of craft increased. The term ‘port’ was declared formally into use by the Royal Navy in 1867 to ensure the two sides would not be confused.