Kayak and canoe club by Kew Bridge organises Pride Paddle

Image above: Edge Progressive Paddling members stand with the progressive pride flag by Kew Bridge

Event highlights rowing group are “tolerant and accepting”

Edge Progressive Paddling, who promote themselves as a friendly and active kayak and canoe club based in Brentford, celebrated their second annual Pride Paddle event on Wednesday (21 June) along the River Thames.

A group of 17 paddlers paddled upstream to Isleworth at 6.30pm from Kew Bridge, where they posed for pictures before setting off against the tide, before returning to the riverbank and celebrating with a drink in a local pub.

Speaking to The Chiswick Calendar, Alex Whittaker, a senior volunteer at Edge Progressive Paddling, shared the history and significance of the Pride Paddle event.

“We started it last year to just say to the world that we are a tolerant and accepting club, which would encourage people to come along and join,” Alex explained. The event serves as a platform for members to champion diversity and showcase the club’s commitment to creating an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ people.

The club appear to be the first group of  local river users to hold such an event, so I asked Alex what difference he thought it made to fostering inclusivity and diversity within the paddling and river users community.

“I would recommend other groups to do the same because it’s just so easy,” he said, “All we are saying is look, we have these values, and there’s nothing more than that.”

Image above: Paddlers set sail onto the River Thames while flying the progressive pride flag

Sign up for paddling at Brentford Canal Festival

Looking ahead, Edge Progressive Paddling is considering introducing new activities to enhance the experience for participants. One of the upcoming events is the Brentford Canal Festival, where they will be taking part on Saturday 24 June.

Edge Progressive Paddling offers a range of activities and benefits for its members. From April to September, members can enjoy free Wednesday evening club paddles, where they explore the river in various directions. The club also organises regular pool sessions from September to March, providing opportunities for newcomers to learn kayaking skills and experienced paddlers to refine their techniques.

For an annual fee of £130, adults gain access to discounted rates on Edge weekend Meet-up Paddles, BCU courses and assessments, and FSRT courses. Members at the independent paddler level organise their own paddling trips with fellow members. Additionally, the club hosts an active sea kayaking programme during the summer months and a white water program throughout the winter months.

For more information about Edge Progressive Paddling and membership details, visit their website at edgepaddling.com or contact the Membership Secretary at membership@edgepaddling.com.