May marks the launch of National Watersports Month which has been put in place to encourage people to learn and partake in the many activities available. As we near towards the summer season, there is no better time to learn a new water activity for you to participate in over the warmer months. National Watersports Month is celebrated by watersport organisations across the country who run a series of special events during the month of May.
To encourage more activity and participation out on the water, we have put together a guide to some of the most popular watersports which are available at Tees Barrage, the international white water centre. We have provided some brief information about each activity and the essential equipment you will need to participate featuring a few pieces from our online store, NorthShore Watersports.
Described at a challenging leisure activity that takes place on a bustling river in an inflatable raft, white water rafting provides its passengers with an exhilarating experience. After a briefing and an introduction, you will be released onto the white water rapids with your group where you will rush down the Jubilee course numerous times which will become more advanced with each passing run.
Up to six people can fit into a raft and five rafts can be on the water at one time. All participants must be ages 14 years and above, able to swim 25 metres and weigh no more than 16 stone.
All equipment is provided during the experience however you can take your own if you would prefer. We suggest a good quality helmet like this yellow one by Predator helmet – you’re sure to stand out!
Similar to rafting, white water kayaking takes place on the Diamond course to offer a challenging yet exciting experience on the water. Each participant guides their own kayak down the white water rapids which can create a fun yet competitive atmosphere amongst friends.
Participants must be able to paddle on flat water with basic skills and must have completed a capsize. For moving water kayaking, you must be able to paddle grade 3 water confidently. A parent or guardian must sign a paddler medical consent form and a health and safety and risk declaration form for under 18s.
A kayak that is in working condition is needed so our Dagger Axiom kayak will do the job. With a simple fixed seat and full plate footrest, the Axiom will make the perfect first whitewater kayak.
A more relaxing experience than white water kayaking, flat water canoeing and kayaking takes place over the calmer side of the barrage. Enabling beginners to get to grips with the art of canoeing and kayaking without having to battle through the rapids, paddlers can paddle on the flat water unsupervised if they have basic skills or they can opt for tuition from a qualified instructor.
Anyone who is over the age of 8 and is able to swim 25 metres can partake in flat water canoeing and kayaking. For unsupervised canoeing and kayaking, paddlers must have basic skills and have completed a capsize.
Wetsuits, technical equipment are provided whilst kayaks/canoes can be hired out. However if you are looking to take up canoeing as a hobby, why not invest in this beginners canoe by Mad River?
A bell boat is a twin hulled canoe that can hold 10 children or 8 adults. This activity offers a stable platform for beginners and is especially popular amongst young children and special needs groups who may be nervous about going on the water for the first time. Bell boats are easy to manoeuvre and take little effort to generate a reasonable pace with an inexperienced group of rowers.
Participants must be aged 8 years or above. Bell boating is a popular option for fundraisers, children’s parties and educational trips.
When heading out onto the water buoyancy aids are essential. Finding appropriate life jackets for children can sometimes be a struggle however this one by Palm tick all of the boxes! Available in yellow or red, this buoyancy aid has an easy zip entry, reflective panels and an anti ride-up waist belt.
The above list of activities is not only available during National Watersports Month, but also throughout the year.