You are here


The club represents the University in several disciplines, including canoe polo, slalom, freestyle, wild water racing and marathon racing. The main competitions are BUCS Wild Water Race, BUCS Slalom, the National Student Rodeo and BUCS Polo.

We also have an annual Varsity competition, in which Cambridge paddlers compete against Oxford in four events: wild water racing, canoe polo, freestyle and marathon. You can find past varsity results and reports here and a summary of our Blues criteria here


The disciplines we compete in are briefly explained below. More details can be found about these and others on the BCU website. If you're interested in competiting in any of these disciplines please contact the captain.


Polo is one of the most active areas in the club. There are regular training sessions during term time, details of which can be found on the calendar. There are men's and women's teams and all levels from beginner to GB standard are welcome. Please contact the polo secretary for more details.


Slalom races consist of timed runs through a series of gates (two poles) suspended above various levels of whitewater. Gates are negotiated in either the downstream or upstream direction, with penalties added to your time for touching or missing gates. Courses take about 2 minutes to complete, with the difficulty level increasing as you progress through the ranking system. The current categories are men's and women's K1 (kayak, sitting with a double ended paddle), men's and women's C1 (canoe, kneeling with a single ended paddle) and C2 (same as C1 but with 2 paddlers in the same boat). One of two Olympic disciplines.


Marathon races are held on rivers or lakes and involve completing a set course in the fastest possible time. Races usually last around an hour but there are exceptions, such as the 125 mile Devises Westminster race. A divisional system is in place to group paddlers according to their ability.


Similar to marathon but over shorter distances (200m, 500m, 1,000m and 6,000m) on regatta lakes. There are categories for 1, 2 and 4 person kayaks (sitting with a double ended paddle), and 1 and 2 person canoes (kneelling with a single ended paddle). One of two Olympic disciplines.

Wild Water Racing

Similar to marathon but on white water. A standard race lasts around 10 minutes, and a sprint race about 2 minutes.


Freestyle competitions take place at large waves on white water, on which the paddlers perform a routine of tricks (with names such as space godzilla…) for a set time. Judges give points based on the difficulty of the trick and how well it is completed. The short, plastic boats used are durable and easy to transport so are often used for recreational paddling too.