St Albans Canoe Club history is rooted in touring and slalom paddling, although we have moved a long away from these early beginnings back in 1970.
St Albans CC was formed from a merger between St Albans Canoe Club and Mid Herts Canoe Club and for a long time was called St Albans and District Canoe Club. The key stakeholders at the start were Ron Vessey, Roger Fox and Richard Scaife.
As St Albans and District Canoe Club grew, members started running successful annual slalom events at Dobbs weir at Hoddesden and Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire. With the focus on slalom several paddlers within the club showed real promise in this discipline and went on to represent GB in world cup races and World Championships, Richard and Rachel Fox, Carl Rouch, Clive Richardson to name a few.
Canoe polo only came about as a substitute for slalom training during pool sessions. Slowly however the sport took off and St Albans and District Canoe Club were founding members of the Herts Polo League.
As St Albans and District Canoe Club started taking canoe polo more seriously, the medals started rolling in. In 1978 the Youth and seniors qualified for the National Championships finals at Crystal Palace. The youths were runners up and went on to win the following season in 1979.
The club grew exponentially through Scout links and as members became more dedicated to polo podium places in the newly formed National League ensued. In 1984 the club won its first of three successive National Youth Championships and National Youth League titles. Then in 1985 the Women achieved the ‘double’ winning both the National Championships and National league. The club continued to be successful for many years after.
Ron Vessey was a driving force behind the creation of the World Championships for Canoe Polo. As well as his heavy involvement in the Club he chaired the BCU polo committee and was a member of the ICF. He was an integral part in instigating common rules between nations so they could play one another. Since the introduction of international canoe polo competition St. Albans had always had representatives from the club in the National teams and we are very proud of our players.
Nowdays we are club which still loves to compete however changing demographic of members mean that we have a fair number of recreational teams. We welcome all paddlers of all abilities as long as they are enthusiastic and want to get stuck in!