By Marc Woolward:
If you’ve ever found yourself down at Summerleaze on a summertime evening in the past two decades, you’ll have probably noticed a group of kayakers and canoeists ready to take to the water – either paddling up the canal towards Marhamchurch, along the Neet river through town, or playing in the waves of Bude Bay.
These paddlers are members of the Bude Canoe Club who have met every week for the past 20+ years (pandemic allowing), either enjoying the town’s wealth of outdoor waterways and local coastline in the summer or playing polo and developing their skills in the pool during the winter months. The club welcomes families, juniors, and beginners from all backgrounds, provides a supportive environment for everyone to have fun and develop their skills, and provides the springboard for elite development with several national and world champions among the membership and coaching team.
In common with competitors in almost every other surf discipline in the town, Bude Canoe Club has several members in the national team competing at world championship level and at the last World Championships held in Peru Jack Barker, Adam Diffey and Marc Woolward were part of the English Team who placed second in the overall World Championship results.
In addition, junior Adam Diffey placed 2nd in the High Performance junior division and Marc Woolward placed 3rd in the High Performance masters divisions. Over the past few decades, the Canoe Club has also crowned World Champions, including Simon Hammond and Jack Barker.
Success at world championship level requires the ability to execute huge radical moves in challenging conditions, which can seem a long distance from the calm and safety of Summerleaze harbour on a summer’s day where beginners and enthusiastic improvers can play in the waves, explore the coastline, or paddle inland under the expert care and supervision of the Canoe Club’s coaches. The club has equipment to get beginners started, provides sessions to suit every level of paddler, and has the depth of experience to take paddlers from playing in small waves within the bay to world championship finals within a season (as proven recently by our own Adam Diffey).
Not content with travelling across the world for their sport, in 2022 the Canoe Club are also bringing the World Championships of Surf Kayaking to Bude where the event will be held at Black Rock from 29 September to 9 October. This event will bring hundreds of elite athletes from across the globe to Bude, battling for individual and team honours. In keeping with the environmental spirit of the town, the club is also planning to hold an event that is fully carbon neutral and eliminates plastic waste from our environment working with our event sponsors and Bude Friends of the Earth. If you would like to learn more about the exciting plans for Bude’s own world championships please take a look at the website.
If you would like to explore Bude’s beautiful environment from the water, have fun in the waves, or want to check out a World Championships sporting event on your doorstep then please take a look at our Facebook page for more information. All are welcome!