Welcome to our Club


(Sponsored by the St. Charles Park District)

This is your gateway of opportunity to talk to and learn from some of the most experienced paddlers Illinois has produced or to just have a social paddle with one of Illinois friendliest clubs. We do our best to cater to all abilities from the beginning fledgling canoeist to the seasoned professional paddler. Just give us call or e-mail ahead of time and pop down to one of our Wednesday practices and plan a first timer paddling session with some of our expert trainers.

The Club Commodore Talks

Welcome to the St. Charles Canoe Club Web site. If your interests lie in canoe or kayaking read on and see what we are all about.

We are a club of about 40 members consisting of individuals and families who do quite a large variety of paddling. We largely consist of calm water marathon racers with amatur and professional ranks. In past years we've had half the members of the US Olympic Flatwater Team, Top five finishers in the Pro World Championships(Schiwigan) and consistently a large contingent of National Marathon Champions over the years. The club has hosted the the United States Canoe Association (USCA) National Championships in 1978 and 1996, as well as the ACA National Sprint Championships in 1987. We also like to think of ourselves as a well rounded club with a good schedule of pleasure cursers, but this varies form year to year depending on intrest. Whatever your intrest, remember, whether your trying to become a member of the Olympic team or just trying to get across the lake to your favorite fishing spot, we can teach you how to get there with proper technique and efficiency. So come along and enjoy whatever aspect of canoe and kayaking we can offer you.

The club publishes an activities and race schedule every year with planned events at least twice a week. Our annual club fund raiser the "Current Buster"  Canoe and Kayak Race held on the first weekend in May on the fox river in St. Charles and "Fall Classic"  Canoe and Kayak Race held on the last weekend in September also on the fox river in St. Charles. A monthly news letter along with this web site and Facebook is published/updated to keep members up to date on various club activities.

Meetings for the club are held on the third Wednesday of each month. During the winter, the meetings are held indoors and include a speaker or demonstration of some kind. The summer meetings are held outdoors normally on or near the Fox River after practice near Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles.

Our training starts as soon as we feel it safe to be on the water. Around the beginning of April we start practicing although some members try to paddle all year long when the water is not hard. We meet weekly during training season for Wednesday Night Practice at Ferson Creek Park. We try to launch boats for our practices at 5:30pm sharp. The seasoned paddlers travel upstream 7 to 9 miles during a workout practicing wake riding, starts, proper technique and generally building a strong base of endurance. While our newcommers will either stay right in front of the launch site or begin to travel upstream with a veteran team at their side.

We believe that the camaraderie of our club, with the group practices is often what creates a great athletes, not to mention great friends!!!

Weekends usually mean a road to a nearby river race or a little longer trip to the pro races.

Whatever your preference, just give it a go.

What We Do

Paddling is perhaps the most encompassing and attainable sport out there. Our races vary from 3 mile sprints down winding rivers to 3 1/2 hours of marathon racing which may include up and down stream routes with buoy turns and possible one or more portages at times. Paddling is a low impact sport similar to sports like swimming and cross country skiing. Although the races offer age groups the fastest times can come from any class on a given day. Participants can make paddling whatever they choose.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Canoes

As mentioned above, the Midwest has various racing classes based on hull length and design. Recreational classes are divided into true recreational canoes and modified varying length hulls. The racing canoes have specifications they must meet based on maximum length and minimum width. They can be made from wood, fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber. Choice of boat depends on expertise, proposed use and available resources. Before choosing your own boat it is important to paddle in several boats to find the one most comfortable for you and practical for the races you plan to do.

Where you purchase a boat depends on what class you plan to enter. We have many good manufacturers of recreational canoes, for example Old Town Canoes Inc., Mad River Canoes and Wenonah Canoes Inc.. Racing canoes are somewhat less available. The major manufacturers are Wenonah, Corbin and Savage River. For these boats talk to our members for more information. Marathon paddlers are not confined to the use of solo and tandem boats. Our stroke method is used to race larger boats such as Outriggers, Voyager, Dragon and possibly Olympic Hull boats.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Clubs

Around the Midwest there are various formal and informal groups of paddlers who meet to practice and enjoy each other's company. We ourselves have club member in many of the surrounding towns near and far from our river's home base of St. Charles. If you would like to find paddlers in your area don't hesitate to contact one of our club officers.

Marathon Canoe Racing - The Races

If you scan around the individual race pages your will find the courses vary from narrow winding rivers to open lakes. Some include portages. We marathoners typically do not paddle white water in our race courses but currents and eddies will vary with water levels ( rainfall ) to an often interesting excitement usually in the spring,


This page is meant to supply as much information as possible to the best of our knowlege. Please be sure to verify all the activities you plan to attend because they change throughout the summer and we don't always get the updates in a timely fashion!  Feel free to contact us for more information or corections at web manager.