Club History

The Club history from 1979

The Club was established in the winter of 1979/80 largely due to the efforts of John Drew who had been running canoeing night classes at Springfield School, Drayton from 1975. A small group of paddlers, graduates from these night classes, started canoeing activities and as word of these spread more people wanted to join in. The aim was to provide a friendly, welcoming environment whilst offering regular paddling opportunities and keeping safety of paramount importance.

The Club encouraged (and continues to do so) all types of canoeing and kayaking. However, the Portsmouth area with easy access to such a range of sea conditions, proved an ideal training area and Club members soon found themselves at the cutting edge of sea kayaking.

Club newsletters of the time report of adventurous expeditions amongst the Scottish islands and further a field. Kayak trips were made through infamous tide races such as Corryvrecken and Grey Dogs, by the Club's pioneers.

After 37 years, Portsmouth Canoe Club still strives to meet that same aim today - why not come and join us.

Picture taken in May 1980 on the first Club attempt to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight. This picture was taken Cowes, near the sailing centre, where these intrepid paddlers had spent the night. Sadly the circumnavigation attempt could not be completed because of Beaufort Force 4-5 headwinds.

"The group was helped by Roger and Sandy Irwin who ran a canoeing centre at Ryde. The night was spent at their house and then I paddled back to Southsea Castle in my first F6."

Dave Rawlinson (still a member today).

Participants (L to R):

Back row: Dec Dempster, Gerry Morris, Dave Rawlinson

Second row: Andy Bailey, unknown

Front row: Dick Faulder, John Drew

Steve Earl in K1 training in Hilsea Moat 1985