Banbridge Kayak and Canoe Club was established in 1996 when a group of locals wanted to paddle on the River Bann, the river which runs through their home town. They soon decided that they wanted to start their own club and so went and got a number of coaching qualifications in water sport, and so Banbridge Canoe and Kayak club was born. Since then the club has been developed and improved upon and as a result covers a lot more. The club has three qualified coaches who have who have over 40 years of combined experience within the sport. The club is in a fantastic location as it has one of the country’s biggest rivers running through its town.
The club does not have an exact location as they do not have a club house. However they usually meet at the Banbridge leisure centre, located next to the River Bann. The club is in an ideal location as it allows it to take advantage of the River Bann which runs through the town, which is extremely accessible from a number of access points down the path of the river.
The club consists of 30 members, having 20 adult and 10 junior members. The club is made up of mostly males having only 4 adult female members and no female junior members although the club are encouraging more females to get involved in the club. Banbridge Canoe and Kayak club only offers adult memberships and doesn’t have a junior membership. Juniors which includes people ages 11-16 just come along and pay session by session. Adult memberships which include people aged 16 years and older cost only £20 per annum. It must be noted that in order to join Banbridge Canoe and Kayak Club, new members must be older than 11 years of age.
New members will not have to purchase any new equipment prior to joining the club as, Banbridge Canoe and Kayak club have ample equipment for members to use. The club also welcomes members who suffer from disabilities. Although the club does not have any specialist equipment, they do welcome all members of the public to come and take part in whatever activities which they can.
Training sessions for both juniors and seniors take place on a Monday night. Junior sessions take place in the pool and run from 8pm-8.40pm at a cost of £5 per person. All junior session take place in the pool until they are over the age of 16 and can then go out on the open water. Adult sessions also take place in the pool during the Winter and run from 8pm-9.20pm and cost members £7.50 per session. However during the summer these sessions change and are rearranged on a Monday evening to 6.40pm-8.30pm and are held on the River Bann. The club however does ask the parents or guardians of members who are junior members (aged 11-16) to remain on the premises while training sessions take place with absolutely no exceptions.
The club will usually have trip away every 2 or 3 months, usually to either Coney island or Salt island. Members who wish to attend these trips will have to make a small payment which will cover fees for equipment etc. usually at a cost of £10 per person.
Banbridge Canoe and Kayak club is a recreational based club offering its members the opportunity to take part in various disciplines of the sport including; surf, flatwater, whitewater and sea kayaking. The club will hosts several events throughout the year in order to bring new members into the club. They host a “Come Try It” day for members of the public to come and take part in various disciplines of kayaking and see whether they would like to get involved in the sport. The club also works with the local council and plays host to a “Get Outdoors” programme and local summer schemes. The club will also allow potential new members to come a long for a few sessions, allowing them to take part and see if they enjoy the sport and want to take it up on a more full time basis before having to pay their membership fee.