It’s been encouraging to see the growing interest in British Canoeing’s Touring Awards. While initially seen by some as a soft option and in some way inferior to other awards, primarily on account of their applicability to open cockpit kayaks without the need to roll, the 3 Star Touring and 4 Star Touring Leader Awards are being increasingly valued by those paddling with and leading groups on the Thames and similar waterways.
The 4 Star Leader award in particular is unique within the British Canoeing awards portfolio in that holders of the award have been trained and assessed to be competent in leading safely groups of mixed craft. That ability to take groups paddling in both canoes and kayaks is especially welcomed by clubs for whom mixed sessions and trips are often the norm. For many working in the industry too the opportunity to gain a single qualification giving such a wide remit is appreciated. Unlike at 3 Star where the award is certificated separately for canoe and for kayak, the 4 Star Leader is a single award where holders will have shown that they have the experience and judgement to plan for, guide and, if necessary, rescue capsized kayakers from their canoe or canoeists from their kayak.
If you’re looking to progress your personal skills or are ready to take on a leadership role on the water and haven’t already, do take a look at the Touring award syllabi. Increasing numbers of other paddlers are!