Hemel Hempstead Canoe Club was formed in 1975, and existed briefly under the name "Two Rivers Canoe Club", before the current premises were established at Nash Mills Recreation Centre on Red Lion Lane.
Over the years the club has accommodated all kinds of paddling, including marathon, slalom, touring and canoe polo. At one time we were in the top six ranked competitive clubs in the UK. We have produced champions and international paddlers in all disciplines.
Our local water is the Grand Union canal, on which we host the annual Eastern-District Hasler (National Championship) race in Autumn. We also run our own Summer and Winter mini-marathon series. Plus we also compete in events hosted by other clubs both within and outside the region.
We welcome all-comers from beginners to experienced canoeists (although under 14s must be accompanied by an adult) and have a range of loan equipment, including boats. Club nights are Thursday evenings from 7pm, but members can often be found paddling at other times throughout the week. Winter mini-marathons take place on Sunday mornings, while Summer mini-marathons are held on Thursday nights. We are soon going to start holding Sunday morning training sessions as well.
Your webmaster would like to have a left hand navigation link for this but needs the content. So far I have one person I've managed to get to tell me about their paddling career:
"I started kayaking in 1964 whilst a medical student at Barts. At the freshers' evening this good looking guy came up to me and asked me if I paddled, I didn't but said Yes! At that time Barts' CC had at the most 4 members and we trained every Wednesday afternoon at the Royal CC in Teddington. My main interest was always long distance racing - LDR - now called Marathon. Highlights of my career were winning the Liffey Descent in 1968, representing GBR in the Sella Descent three times, being ladies LDR champion sometime in the 60's and being part of the Mexico Olympic training squad. I was lucky enough to be the K2 partner of Marianne Tucker (now Wilson of Lendal Paddle fame) but in those days Britain wasn't in the medal league in Sprint and we decided not to go to Mexico.
"I had an old mini-van in which I travelled around the country doing various medical jobs always taking my kayak with me. After a gruelling 96 hour stint "on call" a hard paddle was the perfect "wind down" and ensured a good night's sleep. 40 years later paddling is still my antidote to the stress of modern life - it not only keeps me reasonably physically fit but also serves as an outlet for any frustrations. Increasingly I just want to be on the water - any water, and never cease to marvel at how beautiful even a canal in an urban area can be. Unlike many sports kayaking is not hard on the joints and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and varied levels of fitness. Without a doubt that decision to say "yes" in 1964 was one of the best I ever made. I would encourage anyone interested to give kayaking/canoeing a try."