How To Guides & Videos

Kayaking Basics

Further technique videos that are well worth watching on YouTube: Day 1 – Foot Drive – Ivan Lawler Kayak Technique Series – YouTube

BA Testing

Transporting Boats

The following videos demonstrate how to load our different boats onto a car and cover : 

  • 1) Attaching V-bars to your car
  • 2) Attaching a K1 to a V bar
  • 3) Transporting a kayak with foam pads
  • 4) Transporting a canoe
  • 5) To follow…attaching a sea kayak to your car

Disclaimer: These videos show a recommended way of tying boats onto a car but you are responsible for tying them on correctly. HCC takes no responsibility for any damaged caused if boats are not tied on properly.  

  • It is your responsibility to safely secure boats and bars onto your car. If you are unsure how to do this you must seek assistance from a club member who is experienced in doing so. 
  • If you are parking your car and going off for a paddle we suggest you detach the V’s from the bar and leave in your car along with the straps.
  • Any damaged boats or lost parts due to your negligence, the club will expect you to repair or replace unless; there are extenuating circumstances.
  • The boats need to be secured tightly with the straps but don’t tie them so tightly that the boat is buckled or damaged. 
  • Once the boats are secured on the V-bars give the boat and the bars a firm shake. The weight of the boats can sometimes loosen the fittings.

Don’t risk a boat flying off the roof of your car just double check everything!  

Contact details for local V-bar provider is: Lawler Engineering School Road Molesey KT8 0DN 

We suggest the 120 degree bars as they work well for our K1s and plastic boats. And possibly a spare set of brackets (though not essential).Take your car with roof bars on on the day so he can give you the right brackets. The V bars come with 2 bungee straps but you will need to buy a set of straps too. These or similar are good: Palm Cam Straps 3.5m 

Also note that he generally only accepts cash and they are £70 a set (there is a cashpoint about 5 minutes away)

Choosing A Paddle
First work out the paddle length based on your height. Paddle length has been written on the blades of the Werner paddles, and on the HCC stickers on the winged paddles. 

Your HeightPaddle Length
Under 5’1”200 cm
5’1” to 5’4”205 cm
5’4” to 6’210cm
6’ and above215 cm

  Second choose a paddle based on your size and strength.  For the winged paddles to work as designed, paddlers need to paddle at a high angle with torso rotation.  The winged Braca club paddles have a variety of blade sizes – generally the smaller you are, the smaller the blade size you should use. Most of the winged paddles have the blade size marked on the back of the blade.  

Paddle TypePaddler
WernerAll paddlers
GremlinSmall women
Braca 4 S-MinSmall women
Braca 3Women, smaller men
Braca 4 MinWomen, smaller men
Braca 4 MaxMen, stronger women
Braca 5Strong men

 To tell if a paddle is left or right handed     If you are interested to know more, below is some more information about the paddle characteristics.  All else being equal, the bigger the blade the more force that is needed to paddle with it.  A teardrop paddle has a stronger catch than a parallel edge paddle. This means that it gets a good hold on the water quickly. The teardrop paddle has a stronger catch because it has more surface area at the end of the blade. You could try them both and see which one you prefer, remembering you need to paddle at a high angle, with rotation, for them to work as designed. From the Nelo website:“Generally speaking, the parallel edged blades have a more constant power application throughout the stroke, and the blade feels more stable in the water with more even behaviour….The tear drop shape start narrow and form a big “tear drop”…These shapes tend to have a smooth catch and exit….You need to have a good grasp of your technique and have perfect co-ordination of hips/legs and blade in the water. In other words, these blades are more effective if you have great technique.”  

Paddle TypePaddlerPaddle StyleBlade ShapeSurface area (cm2)
WernerAll paddlersHigh-angle paddlingAsymmetric608
GremlinSmall womenLow angle paddling  
Braca 4 S-MinSmall womenHigh angle paddling
Strong catch
Tear drop705
Braca 3Women, smaller menHigh-angle paddling
Not as strong a catch
Parallel edge755
Braca 4 MinWomen, smaller menHigh angle paddling
Strong catch
Tear drop735
Braca 4 MaxMen, stronger womenHigh angle paddling
Strong catch
Tear drop765
Braca 5Strong menHigh-angle paddling
Not as strong a catch
Parallel edge810

  Websites of some of the paddle manufacturers are below, if you want to know even more

Stability Ratings of The Boats

How to Use Boats Without Damaging Them

Our boats are expensive and fragile so please look after them

Get help getting the boat out of the racks so that the stern or bow don’t hit the concrete – it’s particularly easy to hit the clubhouse step with one or other end of the boat.

When adjusting the footplate and seat, you can sit next to the boat, on the concrete, to see if the footplate and seat are in approximately the correct position.  The final adjustment can be done in the boat. When getting in our out of a kayak remember to place one hand flat on the pontoon (or the concrete when outside the clubhouse) and one on the front of the cockpit. The cockpit edge cannot take any weight and it is easy to break a boat if any force is applied. Do not use the cockpit edge to lower yourself into a boat or lever yourself out. Never place a boat where the rudder comes into contact with the ground and especially do not sit in a boat unless the rudder and fin are clear of the ground. The rudders are easily bent and damaged if placed directly onto the ground. No other placid water clubs let people get in boats on dry land, as it’s so easy to damage them. If you think a boat is too heavy for you to carry it to the pontoon from the clubhouse by yourself, ask someone to help you. Never adjust the seat or footrest when sitting on the concrete block near the pontoon. It is too easy to sit on something that damages the bottom of the boat. After a capsize always empty most, or all, of the water out of the boat before trying to lift it out of the river. If a boat that is full of water is lifted you can injure yourself and damage the seams around the middle of the boat. Come into the pontoon carefully so the nose of the boat isn’t smashed into it. If you give yourself a bit of distance between your boat and the pontoon it’s a good place to practice draw strokes. If water has splashed into your boat while you were paddling, empty water out of the boat at the pontoon, otherwise the water sloshes around as you carry the boat and the bow or stern can bash down on the ground. If you’re tired at the end of a paddle, ask someone to help you carry the boat from the pontoon to the clubhouse. If you put something into the boat at the start of the paddle make sure it comes out at the end. When putting boats back into the rack be careful not to put them too far in, hitting the bow on the brick wall.  ———- Check that the boats have all of the bolts in the footplates. If they don’t the structural integrity of the boat is reduced and the rudder may not work properly.If a white nut is sitting in the bottom of a Tercel, Cirrus or Hobby it probably fell off the footplate. The Vipers have 4 bolts holding the seats onto the bracket below them, and only 2 bolts are used to adjust the seat slider. If a red bolt is in the bottom of the boat it probably fell off the seat bracket, so put it back onto that. Don’t put 3 or 4 bolts onto the seat slider.


Last but not least, if you notice something wrong with a boat and don’t know how to fix it, write it on the repair log that’s pinned up above the sign-out sheets.