5 REASONS TO TAKE UP TRADITIONAL THAMES WATER SPORTS From Dittons Skiff and Punting Club
Skiffing and punting are traditional Thames water sports that are being kept alive by a handful of enthusiastic clubs. The wooden punts and skiffs are beautifully handcrafted by skilled boatbuilders along the Thames using ancient techniques.
Punts are narrow and light, for racing. A skiff is a wooden Thames rowing boat with fixed seats, and skiffing is really sculling (rowing), with two blades, or oars, rather than one. It is a sport almost entirely unique to the non-tidal stretches of the Thames.
Both sports are physically demanding, technically difficult and mentally challenging. Regular skiffing and punting builds a strong core, balance and full-body strength. Being on the water is great for mental relaxation and wellbeing.
Skiffing and punting are very accessible sports, with no need for previous experience at either. Many take up these water sports in their 40s to maintain fitness when they move on from previous sports.
Regattas (races) take place throughout the year, between the handful of skiffing and punting clubs. Those who like to compete can take part in long distance and sprint races on the Thames. There is also the chance to be part of major events such as the spectacular Great River Race through the heart of London.
Based in Thames Ditton since it was founded in 1923, Dittons Skiff and Punting Club has been keeping the traditional water sports of skiffing and punting alive on the Thames for the last one hundred years. It makes the most of the iconic stretch of the river between the bridges of Hampton Court and Kingston, with a full calendar of events including year-round races, time trials and technical coaching, as well as leisure outings.
Dittons Skiff and Punting Club is running Taster Sessions every Thursday evening at 6.30pm from 25 May to 24 August, to encourage more people to have a go at these sports.