Getting Started (Step-by-Step)

This article is aimed at people that are interested in starting paddling and want to how and what to do to get into the sport. The latter part of the article applies more to those wishing to race (as opposed to social paddlers).

Steps to Follow:

  1. Contact General Manager at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 011 486 0979.
  2. Come to the Open Beginner classes. This class will give you a basic introduction to the sport.
  3. At this point you should be in a position to start practicing on the dam on your own, building up stability, technique and fitness.
  4. Now it’s decision time. If you want to get into racing, please read further. If not – and all you want to do is social paddling around the dam – then the text below does not apply to you.
  5. You will definitely need to join Dabulamanzi as a racing member. Please go to this link and read through the article to see what is costs, how to register and so forth.
  6. You will need to download the CSA (Canoeing South Africa) Safety Booklet. You can get it from the CSA Website.
  7. Study the booklet, as its content will form the theoretical background to your Basic Proficiency Test (BPT)
  8. Book your BPT appointment. This will cost you R100. There is a theoretical and a practical component to this.
  9. Assuming you pass your BPT, you will need to complete 3 Flat Water races or 3 Time Trials (in under 70minutes) as part of your buildup to doing River Proficiency. In the case of Time Trials, please make sure that the timekeeper gets your time and notes it.
  10. Do River training – Go tripping rivers with the club and / or mates. Apply the theory you learned in your BPT. Make sure that you are safe while doing this and improve in balance, confidence and boat handling during the process. Keep doing this until you feel comfortable in a C-grade river.
  11. Complete a River Proficiency test. To find out when these are happening, subscribe to the Dabs and GPKayak electronic newsgroups. Dabulamanzi, as a club, also hosts Wilge Tripping Weekends, which are held about twice a year. These are a fantastic way to practice in a river, complete your Basic River Proficiency and have a lot of fun with fellow club mates and more experienced paddlers. Being around more experienced paddlers is the fastest way to accelerate your river learning.
  12. Assuming that you pass your River Proficiency, you will then need to complete 6 C-grade or 3 C-grade and 3 B-grade rivers to become A-Rated. See the following article qualifying article.
  13. You can now do Fish, Dusi etc. (A Grade)
  14. Once you have completed 3 A-grade Races, you are now in a position to compete in A+ races (Umko, Lowveld Croc).