The Royal Canoe Club in Teddington, the oldest canoe club in the world, has elected its first female commodore this year.
The club has an illustrious 155-year history of royals, regattas, racing and social paddling.
When canoeing was first introduced in the Berlin 1936 Olympics, Britain’s team was drawn from the club and it had at least one member at every summer Olympic Games since before this year.
New commodore Amanda Hunt said: “The first commodore was King Edward VII so it is quite an honour. There is a history there of Olympians and excellent paddlers and then there’s me!”
The Royal is not just for racing and sprinting competitions or Olympic hopefuls, but puts an emphasis on social paddling with volunteer-run taster sessions for juniors and seniors offering something for everyone, from ages nine to 90, even if you have no experience with water sports.
The club will also launch stand-up paddleboarding at the end of the month, where you can come down to Trowlock Island near Teddington lock and have a taster session with a coach, and then as a member you can come and use those paddleboards whenever you like.
Hunt revealed that over the last year, while the club has not been able to put on competitive or social events as normal, they got creative and introduced the Isolation Games.
When members could not meet up to paddle in strict lockdowns, they canoed, ran or cycled and recorded their times and routes on Strava, with an ongoing leaderboard to keep the sense of community going and encourage everyone to get outside and stay fit.
Now things have reopened as of Monday, the club is looking forward to hosting new and old members at social events and competitions.
The much-loved pub quiz nights and Wednesday meals can now resume and a Covid-safe Royal Marathon event will happen on 13 June.
The World VA’A Championships will be taking place right on the Royal Canoe Club’s doorstep at the London Olympics venue Eton Dorney next year, which will be an experience for participants and spectators alike to watch world sprint events.