Derek Smith

How long you have been canoeing/coaching/involved in the club:

I started paddling at Elmbridge Canoe Club about 12 years ago and have been training and racing at the club ever since.

I have been coaching for about the last six years.

I am also currently the Vice Chairman of the Canoe Club, a member of the committee and am responsible for the general maintenance of the clubhouse.


At what level do you compete/coach with achievements.

Learning to paddle late in life I knew I would never be an Olympic or World Champion, but I have always been competitive and have enjoyed the challenge of learning a new sport.

I prefer marathon racing to sprints and have competed in the National Hasler League over 4, 8 and 12mile distances, progressing from Div 9 all the way up to Div 3 and have won 3 Gold medals at the Hasler Finals.

I did my level 1 coaching qualification in 2012 and have been coaching at the club ever since.

I started coaching the adult beginner’s group but am also now doing the kid’s beginner courses as well as Elmbridge Borough Council’s Shout scheme during the summer holidays.


Coaching qualifications.

British Canoe Union Level 1 Paddlesport Coach

British Canoeing Core Coaching Award

British Canoeing Discipline Specific Race Coaching Award

International Surfing Association Stand Up Paddleboard Flat Water Coaching Award


Why you do it?

I have always enjoyed sports and as I’ve got older find that canoeing provides a full body and cardio workout as well as being less damaging to the body. It is also a great stress reliever as well as a source of fresh air and exercise.

I am particularly lucky to have a fabulous stretch of the Thames on my doorstep and try to paddle several times a week throughout the year.

I am particularly keen to allow other adults the opportunity to experience the benefits and enjoyment of the sport that I have received.