All you need to know to get ready for your kayak adventure with us....
What time are you open?
We work round the tide and daylight hours between 0900 and 2100. Kayak hire is seasonal, usually from April to the end of September, depending on weather and demand. Guided canoe trips are available all year.
Do we need to book?
Booking in advance is strongly recommended for rentals, but it is still worth calling if you are thinking of coming on the day. We get very busy in peak season and are often fully booked. At quieter times of year, we don't set up our stand if we don't have any bookings in for the day.
Advanced booking is essential for guided trips.
How do we book?
Ideally, please complete the short booking form here. If booking on the day please call us on 07799 403788.
What if our plans change or we need to cancel?
Please let us know of any changes as soon as possible as there will likely be other bookings to work around. We cannot promise to keep your booking if you are late but we always do our best to accommodate any changes if you call in advance.
How do we contact you at short notice?
Our number - 07799 403788 - also works on WhatsApp in case you are staying somewhere with poor reception but with wifi.
It is never too late in the day to send us a message about the following day.
How do we find you?
Please see this page for directions. This includes information about where to park and parking charges. Allow 15-20 minutes from Paignton or Totnes. If driving through Totnes in peak summer, allow and extra 10-20 minutes. It's a nice place here if you're early!
When should we arrive?
Please arrive at the quay 15 mins prior to start time so we can spend some time explaining where to paddle and get you kitted up. We allow time between bookings to clean the kit and brief the next crew. Arriving 15 minutes before your booking should allow some leeway time and if we're able to get you off early, we will.
How do we pay?
We take card (preferable for the prevention of CV19) or cash payment on the quay when you arrive.
For larger groups we will ask for a deposit of £50 at the time of booking, and we prefer full payment in advance. All advance payments are by BACS. Please email us for our bank details or a formal invoice.
What should we wear and bring?
Please make sure you are dressed in suitable clothing for the time of year. You will get a wet bum so having a change of clothing and towel makes stopping off at the pub or driving home more comfortable. We do not provide paddle clothing so we suggest you come dressed in shorts and non-cotton t-shirt and a sun hat, with sun cream and a bottle of water. If it's looking cooler or wet then we advise jogging bottoms, warm jumper, waterproofs, or a wetsuit. Shoes that are grippy and you don’t mind getting muddy or wet are also essential. Bring water to drink and a packed lunch, or at least a snack. We provide dry bags for you to carry this in,
You must take a mobile phone with you so you can call us if necessary.
We will make a note of your mobile number, and take contact details for someone on the shore, e.g. Next of Kin, when you check in.
Will we get wet?
Your feet and backside will get wet, so bring a change of clothing and towel, and footwear that can handle getting wet, and maybe muddy.
There is no need to fall in the water unless you want to. The kayaks are very stable so unintentional capsizes are very rare, but not unheard of!
Afraid not. The car park is like a park by the creek with a beach culture vibe so its quite normal to be changing by your car. Just bring a nice big towel. There is a toilet available at the end of the cafe.
Where will we go in the kayaks?
We will be able to advise you on best routes for the day, allowing for weather, tides, your crew and what you want to do. We will provide a basic map.
If you have any special requests about where you would like to go, please let us know when you book and we will do our best to book you in over the right tide and advise.
What if the weather is looking a bit dodgy?
We keep a constant eye on the weather forecast. If it looks like your trip is doubtful due to the wind or rain, we will be in touch with you a day or two in advance to discuss options. If we have to cancel the trip we will give you as much notice as possible and try to reschedule you.
Please be aware that we have the right to cancel in certain circumstances. Wind is a very real consideration and we have agreed operating limits with the Dart Harbour Authority who issue our licenses. And we do this for your own safety!
We mainly use Met Office data for weather forecasting (less so the BBC weather app which we find less reliable).
Can we bring children?
Yes! This is a great activity for kids and we offer special family rates to make it easier for you. For young families we would suggest going out over high tide when the tides are the least strong.
As a guide, 5 year olds and younger can go on a double kayak with two adults or responsible paddling teens. There is a small seat for a toddler between the 2 main seats.
Up to 12 years old can share a double with an adult. NB. Younger ones are often adamant that they want a single kayak but change their mind once they're 30minutes in to the trip!
Older than 12 (depending on size) can take a single, if accompanied by an adult.
All under 18s need to be accompanied by an adult.
All paddlers must be competent swimmers and all children must be accompanied by an adult who must be able to swim 50m. Everyone must be comfortable around water.
Can we bring a dog?
Yes. If you know your dog and that is is OK on the water, and not too big. There is more space available for a dog in a double kayak rather than a single. Dogs are not recommended on paddleboards, unless you have been before.
Can we drink alcohol?
Our customers are sensible people and a stop for a drink at one of the riverside pubs is part of the experience for many people. Staying at a pub for a heavy session and then trying to paddle home is not appropriate and is not safe. Neither is taking alcohol out with you in the kayaks, especially spirits. The River Shack in Stoke Gabriel, next to where we operate from, is fully licensed and there are two other pubs in the village, so you can wait until you get back if you need more. Our staff have the right to refuse prospective customers who present themselves in an unseaworthy condition.
Is it hard work? Will I be alright? Is it OK for total novices?
Our kayaks are selected for their stability and suitability for these conditions and paddlers of all abilities, particulary beginners. Most people pick it up easily. This is a good entry-level activity for people new to water sports. We'll give you a good briefing before you go.
If you are not confident, or you're concerned about your fitness, we suggest going out over high tide when the tides are the least strong. Please request this on your booking form or call us. We're always keen to help you have the best time.
If you are a group of 6+ people of mixed abilities, consider booking one of our giant canoes. You'll all be together with a skipper/guide, and the stronger ones can compensate for any non-paddlers. We've taken out elderly people, babies and people with disabilities. No Problem!
Whatever your ability, you will likely be satisfyingly tired by the end of your trip. But in a good way!
Is it safe?
Yes. Our kayaks are very stable. Soon you will be confident to explore the river, even if you’re a complete beginner. You don’t have to be an athlete or have special gear.
We monitor weather and tidal conditions to ensure your safety, and we have a safety boat on standby at all times.
Canoeing counts as an organised outdoor sport so group sizes of 6 or more are permitted under the COVID-19 Tier restrictions, and we have measures in place to avoid contact when checking in and for cleaning gear after use.
We are licensed by the Dart Harbour Authority who inspect our equipment and procedures every year, and who operate daily river patrols. We are insured by the Activities Industry Mutual.