Beginner : 1* and above
More relaxed trips. Suitable for first time paddlers
(who can swim) and anyone with a basic level of fitness.
Sea - These would take place in light winds and calm sea conditions.
River – Well known sites such as Shaw’s Bridge. Moving water,
unobstructed and without technical difficulties. There may be small waves and
riffles to challenge the paddler.
Improver : 2* - 3*
Typical paddle. Plenty of opportunity for landing and resting. You are not
required to be able to roll or self-rescue but, you should be able to exit
your boat in the event of a capsize and be assisted back into your boat by
a rescuer. Any particular additional prerequisites will be specified.
Sea - Generally coastal paddles not more than ½ mile
(c.800m) from the shore - potentially some slightly choppy seas,
wind up to force 3, minimal tidal flows.
River – Waves, small stoppers and other minor obstructions
to avoid. Eddies and cushion waves may be strong. Drops will not have
dangerous stoppers and can be easily portaged if necessary.
Intermediate : Confident 3* and above
More testing conditions or longer paddles where paddle fitness is
important. You should be able to roll.
Sea - May involve short open crossings. Longer gaps
between landing opportunities (more committing paddles) with the
potential for more difficult landings and some moderate surf. Potentially
some choppy seas, wind up to force 4, tidal flows up to approx 2 knots max.
River – Waves, stoppers and technical difficulties are
more severe. There may be drops with challenging stoppers and powerful
constrictions. The paddler may have to follow a recognisable route to
avoid obstacles and hazards.
Advanced : Very experienced 3* and above
These trips are for experienced paddlers who are capable of looking after
themselves in fairly testing conditions. These trips may well extend beyond
the technical 4* remit and will usually be outside any available leadership
remit. Participating in this type of paddle is a personal decision for each
Sea - You would be expected to be able to roll in "moderate"
seas (1m - 2.5m waves) and be able to perform a self-rescue if required. Swell,
confused seas, tide races and overfalls may be encountered on these trips.
River – Challenging waves, drops, stoppers and other
obstructions. The route may not be easily recognisable and will usually
require careful inspection from the boat or bank. Advanced paddles encompass
a wide range of rivers, from those with pool-drop rapids to those with extended
continuous rapids; so there is a huge variation in difficulty.