Advanced Sea Kayaking Again

I came across an Advanced Sea Kayak Syllabus from 1971 which made interesting reading but I have since come across an even earlier version of the Award. This one is from July 1960 and it is fascinating to see how things have evolved. I particularly liked the requirement to exit the kayak, leaving it upright, swim around it and then climb back in unaided.
What is interesting is how few people actually took the award, only 3 in 1962. The BCU has persevered over the years with the Tests and Awards to produce a comprehensive range of awards in a range of craft and disciplines for kayakers of all levels although at times we must all wonder about a return to a less complicated era.
Andy attempting to climb back into his Nordkapp after having swum around his kayak!

Advanced Test


1. The candidate wishing to take the Advanced Test is either Kayak or Canadian Canoe must have previously passed the Elementary Test in the same type of canoe.

2. He must have a good working knowledge of safety measures on the water, be able to make simple knots and be familiar with their proper use.

3. He must know and be able to demonstrate all the strokes normally used in the canoe that he is using (Kayak or Canadian)

4. The candidate must be able to leave the canoe in midstream without upsetting it, and after swimming round his craft, to re-embark from deep water. He must also, in the case of the Kayak, be able to do an Eskimo roll.

5. He must know the contents of a repair kit appropriate to the canoe he is using, and be able to carry out repairs to his canoe.

6. He must know the international grading system for rapid rivers and be familiar with rapid river techniques needed on rivers up to grade Ⅲ. He must be competent to take his canoe on canals, on coastal waters and estuaries.

7. He must have a general knowledge of matters appertaining to the practice of the sport of canoeing, including the principles of slalom and racing.

8. He must be able to carry out proper routine maintenance of his canoe.

9. He must be able to give a good demonstration of pairs technique with a competent partner.

10. He must have a good general knowledge of the types of canoe in use, essential equipment, and should have made canoe expeditions of an advanced nature.

July 1960

January 1963 Canoeing in Britain stated that 3 people had passed the Advanced Test the year before taking the total number of people who had passed since it was introduced in 1952 to 5.

Some sea kayakers were clearly undertaking major sea kayaking trips, for example, paddlers were regularly crossing the English Channel and it was only a couple of years later that Hamish and Anne Gow paddled out to St Kilda, reflecting the high standard of kayaking at this time in Scotland.
It was some time though before the high standards being achieved by some kayakers filtered through to the BCU Coaching Scheme.