Blauwalg alarm: Voorlopig is kajakken in Aalst niet toegestaan. In Denderleeuw geldt een waarschuwing om extra voorzichtig te zijn.

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Practical information

Are you eager to embark on an adventure but do you still have some questions? Find out here what many adventurers still wonder about and what tips we can give them. Do you have any other questions? Then feel free to contact us.

Canoeing and kayaking are often confused with each other. However, there is a difference between the two: canoeing is done in an open boat, using a paddle with a blade on one side and a handle on the other, while kayaking is done in a closed boat, using a paddle with a blade on both sides. 

Another important point in canoeing is the fact that the person sitting behind exerts the most influence on the direction of steering.

There are also a number of rules to bear in mind when canoeing. You may only get on and off the canoe in the places provided. If you do not find a designated place, you should try to find a place where you will cause as little damage as possible to the nature on the bank. In addition, you should preferably speak in a soft tone to not disturb the local fauna or other visitors to the Dender. Finally, you keep your rubbish until the end of the canoe trip and throw it in a rubbish bin on shore.


The canoe has a front (bow) and a back (stern). You can tell this by the direction of the seats and the legroom in the canoe.

When the canoe is on dry land, do not step into it. Do not drag or scrape the canoe on the ground. This may cause a leak in the canoe. Therefore, always carry the canoe. Even if it is heavy. You have a handle on both the stern and the bow to lift the canoe.


A lifejacket helps you to float, but you will still have to swim to get to shore.

It is always compulsory to put on your lifejacket and keep it on when on the water. Do not stand or sit on the life jackets as this makes them less secure. Don't put it too close to the campfire because it could melt.


The paddle has a blade and a handle. Take hold of the handle and adjust the paddle to shoulder width. If you need to push away from the edge. Use the handle on the paddle. The blade is much thinner and can break off more easily. And you are responsible for all your equipment; if it is broken, you have to pay for it.

The standard stroke (forward stroke) consists of 4 phases.

1. The insertion

With as little splashing as possible, you try to put your paddle into the water as far as possible next to the canoe. The shoulder of your pulling arm is turned forwards. You also move your torso slightly forward.

2. The working phase

From your shoulder, push your paddle forward with your upper hand and pull with your other arm at the same time. Use your arm and shoulder, but do not forget your abdominal and back muscles.

3. Cutting out

At the end of your stroke, cut the paddle out of the water. Try to scoop up as little water as possible, this is a loss of energy.

4. Retract

Pull your paddle blade back to the front with the sharp side of the blade facing forward. This gives you minimal air resistance.

It is a continuous cycle, one phase flowing into the next. In the beginning, try to pay attention to each phase. And after an hour, this will flow into each other.

There are also some correction layers, which you can use to quickly adjust your direction. While sailing straight ahead, the bowman makes as much as possible the same forward stroke. If it is really necessary or a big correction has to be made, he or she initiates a manoeuvre with a bow stroke or a pull stroke.

The four most important corrective strokes:

Rudder stroke:

This is an easy and effective stroke. With this stroke, at the end of your working phase, you briefly hold your blade in the water and push it outwards. The disadvantage is that you make use of your speed and thus slow down a little. With this stroke, you always steer towards the side where your paddle is in the water.

The bow stroke:

In this stroke you make a bow during your working phase. The wider your arc is, the greater the effect of your stroke.

Advantage: you can easily keep up with the pace of your bowman and you do not slow down while making this stroke.

With the bow stroke, your canoe moves in the opposite direction from where you have your paddle (as the stern sailor) in the water.

The J-stroke:

Is a convenient and efficient stroke. It is mainly used by the sternman to make smaller corrections.

During the working phase, you stretch the wrist of your button hand and bring your thumb down. This stroke has the same effect as a rudder stroke and will thus steer the canoe to the side where your paddle is in the water.

Advantage: you can keep up with the pace of the bowman and you do not slow the boat down as you do with the stroke.

The pull stroke:

This stroke is used to make large corrections as a bowman.

You put your paddle in the water far alongside you and then pull yourself in that direction.

Remember that you then cut backwards otherwise you will get tangled up with your arms or your paddle will be under your canoe.

Hold the paddle: Balance your paddle on your head and then hold it with both hands, making a 90° angle with the arms.

  • Forward stroke:
    1. Throw in: Throw your paddle into the water as close to the boat as possible. Try to avoid splashing around. The torso and arm move slightly forward in the process. 
    2. Working phase: Pull the paddle backwards with the lower arm. With your upper arm, you actively push the other side of the paddle forward. In this way, you create a leverage effect. This leverage effect is important to save strength.
    3. Cutting out: Take the paddle blade out of the water with the narrow side so that you scoop up as little water as possible.
    4. Retracting: Bring your paddle back to the front. Make sure your paddle moves as close to the water as possible.
    These 4 phases are a continuous cycle. This cycle is repeated alternately left and right. In the beginning try to pay attention to each phase. After an hour, this will flow into each other.

  • Correction strokes:
    1. When you want to change direction slowly you paddle 2 or 3 times on the same side. When you paddle right you will go left and vice versa.
    2. The bow stroke is used when a big turn has to be made. First, bring your body fully forward to stick the paddle as far into the water as possible. Then you make a wide arc in the water far from the boat. You only pull on the lower arm; the upper arm has no pushing effect here. So no leverage is used here.
    3. Counter-steering is used to change direction. When counter-steering, the paddle is brought into the water from the back to the front. When you paddle to the right, your boat will go to the right and vice versa. The disadvantage of this stroke is its great loss of speed. 
It is mainly the person at the back who will have to use these corrective strokes to change direction. This person will also have to be responsible for steering the boat. The person in front can continue to use the forward stroke to gain speed.

Booked a canoe weekend? Then per person (or canoe) a large barrel is provided for all your personal equipment. Don't take too much equipment with you in the canoe. Below is a list of materials that you will need for your weekend:

- Swimming trunks

- 2 pairs of shoes: 1 wet pair for the canoe and 1 dry pair for your sleeping place.

- 2 t-shirts, underwear and socks

- Minimum 1 warm jumper and 1 pair of trousers

- A rain vest

- Sunglasses, sun cream, sun hat or cap

- Torch

- Mosquito spray

- Drinking bottle

- A rope

- Wallet, money, ID card

- Snacks for canoeing

- Sleeping bag, mat and tent if necessary

- Food and drink for the weekend

- Gamblers, cutlery, plates, drinking cup

- Biodegradable washing-up liquid and sponge

- Possibly a camping chair

Would you like to paddle on the river for a few hours? Then it suffices to bring some spare clothes, in case you couldn't avoid a dive in the Dender.

We have 2 person kayaks, where there is room for a child up to 8 years old in between. Or even a dog if you like. Children older than 8 years must take their own place in the kayak.
These are stable 2-person kayaks, suitable for beginning adventurers. They are unsinkable. Each participant is obliged to wear a life jacket.

The water quality of the Dender has improved a lot in recent years. Especially through the efforts of, among others, Aquafin, the Flemish wastewater treatment company. The quality of the water in the Dender is now between acceptable and good.

Officially, swimming in the Dender is not allowed, but it certainly cannot do any harm if you end up in the water anyway. An accident in which your boat or kayak capsizes can sometimes happen faster than expected.

Blue-green algae are not actually algae, but rather bacteria. They occur in waters with little current and are more likely to proliferate in warm weather. You can recognise blue green algae, sometimes reddish brown, and their oily consistency. After coming into contact with these bacteria, you may experience the following symptoms: diarrhoea, vomiting, irritation of the eyes, ears and nose, as well as respiratory complaints.

  • Aalst
  • Train: Erembodegem station (12 min walking distance)
    Parking: The Outsider Aalst (Kapellekensbaan 4, 9320 Aalst)
  • Denderleeuw
  • Train: Liedekerke station (16 min walking distance)
              Denderleeuw station (17 min walking distance)
    Parking: Te Dorp Denderleeuw, follow the lane to the left of the church until you reach the river Dender
  • Overboelare
  • Train: Geraardsbergen station (17 min walking distance)
    Parking: Het Bruggenhuis (Majoor van Lierdelaan 50, 9500 Geraardsbergen)

    Link to NMBS (train service)


If you spend the night in Ninove or if Ninove is your final destination, you can leave your boats in the canoe car park (behind the volleyball courts in the sports hall). Please follow the following instructions:
  1. Take your boat off your canoe trolley.
  2. Put the straps in the barrel.
  3. Put the life jacket in the barrel.
  4. Close the barrel.
  5. Place the barrel and the canoe trolley under the boat.
  6. Put the boat upside down over the canoe cart and the barrel.
  7. Close the door.
See you next time!

If you fall out of your boat, try to hold on to your paddle. If water gets into your boat, bring it to shore and let the water out by tilting the boat. You can also use a small bucket for this. Take your time because it takes a while until all the water is out of the boat.
If you are hypothermic, get out of the water as quickly as possible. Take off your wet clothes and put on dry clothes, drink something warm and take a lukewarm shower that slowly warms you up.
When you see other people in need, you are obliged to help them.
In case of serious accidents call the emergency number 100.

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