Paddlers International was founded in 1975 as the Long River Canoeist Club, the river in question being the Rhine, marker posts being set up by the club at each end of the river for those wishing to record timed descents. Founder Peter Salisbury established a network of paddlers around the world to offer accommodation to other paddlers on overseas trips.
Apart from publishing, Paddlers International's main activity these days is addressing concerns of inland paddlers in Britain. First among these is the access situation in England and Wales, which has seen no significant improvement in decades. It has been shown (caffynonrivers.co.uk) that the right of navigation has never been withdrawn yet Defra claim that 98% of inland rivers in England and Wales have no right of access. When he was Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon told us that he had no plans to find out what the law says. (Scotland has modern legislation in the Land Reform Act of 2003, allowing use of all rivers at all times, subject to reasonable behaviour by all parties.) Paddlers International has also supplied the Canal & River Trust with a long list of suggestions of issues to be addressed.
International Sea Kayak Association
The International Sea Kayak Association name replaced that of the Advanced Sea Kayak Club, which was thought to appear too exclusive. The club was developed by John Ramwell for most of its existence with trips and symposia as particular interests.
The International Sea Kayak Association now acts as a marine equivalent to Paddlers International. A leading concern of late has been work which has been undertaken on the establishment of Marine Conservation Zones and the more severe Reference Areas by Defra, the groups planning them being disbanded before the resulting implications for users of the sea are revealed to the public.
Neither PI or ISKA were able to find anyone willing to take over their management in the early 2000s so Canoeist stepped in, incorporating their magazines into Canoeist. Neither body is affiliated to any other organization. All work is undertaken voluntarily and unfunded.
© 2020 Stuart Fisher