Folding Concepts

Announcements -
Latest News

04/05/19 - More used folding kayaks added
Includes Kleppers, a Pouch RZ85, and a rare LFB Stern WZ60 complete with original sail rig

04/05/19 - More vintage paddles added. Original two piece wooden vintage paddles in various conditions here

20/03/19 - Incredible find! A rare UNUSED 1960's Klepper Aerius II for sale !
Found during a recent house clearance sale - in mint condition. See here - SOLD

19/11/17 - new 'kid on the block' - Neris SMART Series of kayaks. Unique hybrids that can either be paddled as a canoe with bench seats or as a kayak with inflatable floor seats. A cross between a folding kayak and an inflatable kayak. Starting with SMART-2 here

17/11/17 - new range of Greenland paddles added - Gram Kajak paddles. In 2-3 piece in both wood and carbon versions. Appearing on the 'New Paddles' page here

02/03/17 - Product Videos page added. Videos of some of the listed folding kayaks ... see here

Exclusive UK dealer for the following brands:-

We are a specialist team that previously was an exclusive folding kayak brand dealer in the UK with several years experience. We now have added a multi-brand on line store to better serve a growing UK market with a wider range of foldable small craft - from "Klepper" type of kayaks, to lightweight canoes plus related accessories.

Gram Paddles - wood and carbon Greenland paddles

NERIS - foldable alu framed kayaks

WaveDesign - carbon paddles including Greenlands

Wayland Folding Kayaks - traditional foldable wood framed kayaks

ZelGear - inflatable kayaks and catarafts (catamaran rafts)

We also specialise in Klepper spares and rebuilds as well as other brands


Can we paddle anywhere?
In the UK, you need a license to paddle in most of the waterways, rivers, lakes, etc.
BCU membership (Canoe England, Canoe Wales, Scotland Canoe Association and the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland) includes a license to paddle on 5000km of Britain's waterways and canals.

Not all inland water is open to canoeists, some are privately owned or is bounded by land which is private, so do check beforehand. See Useful Websites page.


1948 - 2019
Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon Folding Boat Trophy (Folding kayaks sub-class)
125 miles and 77 portages - "The best way to spend Easter"

Next race - Easter weekend 10 - 13th April 2020

Sol Sollerer (L) and Coleman Ruiz (R) powering to a win in a Longhaul - Devizes to Westminster Race 2013 in 25:11:21 - the quickest time since 1996.

Devizes to Westminster 2017

Boat 406 - Klepper
(1st Place)

Boat 433 - NATO Klepper Aerius II
(2nd Place)

Boat 407 - NATO Klepper Aerius II
(3rd Place)

Boat 397 - Neris Valkure-2
(4th Place)

Boat 428 - Neris Valkure-2
(5th Place)

Please note that the official DW site is at

The purpose of this page is to create a greater awareness of the existence of and general information about folding kayaks in the history of the DW. We have listed the brand / model boat that we know was used for a particular race - any unlisted boats were most likely to have been Tyne SD17 (up to around the 1970's) or the heavier military issued NATO Klepper Aerius II (520).

The Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race starts in Devizes, Wiltshire, finishing just downstream of Westminster Bridge in central London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The race has been held annually over the Easter Weekend since 1948.

The race is 125 miles long and has 77 portages. The first 52 miles are along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Reading, the next 55 miles are on the River Thames to Teddington. The final 17 mile section is on the tidal portion of the Thames.

Within the Senior Doubles (non-stop straight through) category of the Devizes to Westminster kayak / canoe marathon, there are several sub-classes of trophies that are awarded to specific classes of paddlers - EG Army, Navy, RAF, University, Scouts, Civilian, etc. A sub-class called the Tyne was officially started in 1951 and this class covered folding kayaks. This Tyne Trophy continued until 1970 when the trophy unfortunately went missing / lost. The DW committee at that time decided not to replace the trophy and this sub-class times then became un-official from that time onwards. After 1970, some kayak crews still continued to race in folding kayaks as they could still win in other classes - EG Army.

Most of the crews participating in the folding boat Tyne Class over the years were from units such as the Royal Marines Reserve and the Artists Rifles, with the un-official record set by Richard Spinks / G Ridgley of the Artist Rifles, in 1994 with a time of 22:26:34 in a Klepper Aquilus.

The original Tyne Trophy was donated by the Tyne Folding Boat Ltd, an England based company that produced folding kayaks between 1935 and 1975. Tyne kayaks were used to cross the English Channel as early as 1937 and the the military version kayaks (EG Cockleshells) were also used during WWII, worldwide. A 1965 Tyne catalogue states that the double seater Tyne Sports 17ft model kayak won the DW race 12 times between 1951 and 1965. The DW race was not mentioned in subsequent Tyne catalogues so it is not certain which make of folding kayak won races since then - unfortunately the DW race results do not list actual kayak models used, however it is well known that after 1965, that various Klepper model kayaks took part, mostly the NATO military issue version Klepper Aerius II.

The DW Committee decided to officially re-instate the folding boat class, starting with the 2013 DW race. A new replacement Folding Boat trophy was kindly donated in time for this 2013 race, by the Artist Rifles Association.

There is a separate Junior Class - double seaters over 4 days, for those who do not want to do or cannot do the non-stop Seniors Class. A Royal Marines Trophy for the fastest folding boat in the Junior Class was available and has not been awarded since 1967.
The Endeavour class is a non-competitive doubles class held over 4 days - it is not known if any folding kayaks has successfully completed in this class.

Folding Boat Trophy
Presented by the Artist's Rifles Association
This lovely trophy has its own cabinet, shown in the background. The trophy's cabinet has a plaque listing the previous winners of the Folding Boat class.

Historic DW Race results and other tidbits in respect of folding kayaks
The below historic information was extracted from the site. Please let us know of any omissions, errors, etc.

It must be remembered that comparison between years is subject to different race conditions. Over the years not only have there been a variety of river and weather conditions but also the race rules have changed from a position of no support being allowed to the present concerns for health and safety and risk analysis. In addition the course itself has changed in both routes over portages as well as canal depth and upkeep. Please remember that these tables do not provide a judgment on ability.

One of the biggest challenges with this race is choosing the best starting time so that the tidal Thames section is paddled during the receeding high tide. Over a 5 year period (2012-6), only one leading boat did not have to wait at Teddington (4th placed 401 in 2016). Most of the top finishing boats would have got far better times if the crews if they had not missed the tide window. Finally, in 2017 the leading boat passed through Teddington 1 hour after high tide followed by 4 boats, two of which had just beat the tide cut-off only to be forced off the river to walk the rest of the way! (cannot paddle against the strong incoming tide).

Results of each race since 2012 in the Folding Kayak Class

Number Position Time Name Club Trophy
(Boat sub-class)
435 1  25:23:35 Maynard, Chris Royal Marines Folding Boat
      Maynard, Joe Royal Marines  
437 2  27:28:06 Mukungunugwa, Believe RE CC  
      Cheeseman, Guy RE CC  
342 3  32:18:53 Adams, Matt Royal Marines  
      Jesson, Chris Royal Marines  
441 4  36:21:09 Willis, Rod RE CC  
      Lay-Agc, Chris RE CC  
381 5  37:40:12 Todd, James Independant  
      Grewcock, Danny Independant  
2018     - Race was cancelled during the event due to high water levels
301     Fry, Wilton Independent  
      Hedger, Andrew Independent  
369     Adams, Matt Royal Marines  
      Jesson, Chris Royal Marines  
378     Elliott, Tom Windermere Boyz Club  
      Price, Robin Windermere Boyz Club  
388     James, Rob Artists Rifles CC  
      Howard, George Artists Rifles CC  
395     Handley, Simon Wey KC  
      Hemming, Charles Wey KC  
405     Hicks, Oliver MOD Leighton House  
      Hislop, Simon MOD Leighton House  
413     Sebley, Ben Artists Rifles CC  
      Fearon, Daniel Artists Rifles CC  
429     Mukungunugwa, Believe RECC  
      Tonkin, Steve RECC  
406 1  27:39:36 Ellis, Andrew Artists Rifles CC Folding Boat
      Spinks, Alexander Artists Rifles CC  
433 2 29:25:50 Batchelor, James Royal Marines CC  
      Lutas, Neil Royal Marines CC  
407 3 29:48:41 James, Rob Artists Rifles CC  
      Lynch, Rory Artists Rifles CC  
397 4 32:06:21 Sykes, Ben "Cockleshell Endeavour"  
      Walters, David "Cockleshell Endeavour"  
428 5 32:28:12 Adams, Matt Royal Marines CC  
      Jesson, Chris Royal Marines CC  
408 6 35:06:24 Hicks, Olly Artists Rifles CC  
      Howard, George Artists Rifles CC  
338 7 37:16:01 Wallace, Stuart Independent  
      Bridger, Brian Independent  
399 8 37:47:56 Fletcher, James Artists Rifles CC  
      Hurley, Carl Artists Rifles CC  
409 9 38:00:13 Hellin, Darren Artists Rifles CC  
      McLeod, Greg Artists Rifles CC  
395 10 39:14:36 Marshall, Neil "Cockleshell Endeavour"  
      Mukungunugwa, Believe "Cockleshell Endeavour"  
420 Retired   Thorn, Adrian Royal Marines CC  
      Smail, John Royal Marines CC  
429 Retired   Clow, Tom Royal Marines CC  
      Jensen, Finn Adam Royal Marines CC  
405 Retired   Trollope, Andrew "Cockleshell Endeavour"  
      Dunstone, Gareth "Cockleshell Endeavour"  
385 1  29:48:46 Ellis, Andrew Artists Rifles CC Folding Boat
      Spinks, Alexander Artists Rifles CC  
402 2 30:08:05 Ellis, James Artists Rifles CC  
      James, Robert Artists Rifles CC  
400 3 30:45:55 Aslan Trevor Artists Rifles CC  
      Woolf, Craig Artists Rifles CC  
401 4 32:22:28 Howard, George Artists Rifles CC  
      D'Arcy, Michael Artists Rifles CC  
312 Retired   Fry, Wilton Independent  
  (Injury)   Webster, David Independent  
403 1 28:56:58 Greensmith Ben Independent Folding Boat
      O'Brien, Simon Independent  
369 2 32:54:24 Dawson Mick Martlet  
      Grenham Steve Martlet  
454 3 36:14:43 Aslan Trevor Artists Rifles CC  
      Steel Gareth Artists Rifles CC  
413 4 38:05:50 Glass Vincent Royal Marines Reserve  
      Hernaman Michael Royal Marines Reserve  
493 1 28:22:25 Hellin Darren Artists Rifles CC Folding Boat
      Spinks Alexander Artists Rifles CC  
492 2 29:31:34 Aslan Trevor Artists Rifles CC  
      Williams Ed Artists Rifles CC  
458 3 37:46:19 Limbu Ganga Army Canoe Union  
      Martell Charles Army Canoe Union  
307 1 25:11:21 Sollerer Sol Independent Folding Boat
      Ruiz Coleman Independent  
469 2 26:08:59 Martell Charles Army Canoe Union  
      Ives Tim Army Canoe Union  
 399 1 31:10:16 Bridger Andrew Independent Tyne (Un-official)
      Skilton Mark Independent  
 314 2 35:25:47 Patch David Army Canoe Union  
      Pearce Nic Poole Harbour  
 420 3 36:12:57 Taylor Robert Artists Rifles CC  
      Hellin Darren Artists Rifles CC  

Course record in a Folding Kayak
Name Club Trophy
(Boat sub-class)
Poxon W & Howell A 22 Tyne - Official
Spinks R H & Ridgley G Artists Rifles Tyne - Unofficial

Course record in a Folding Kayak (Junior - raced over 4 days)
Name Club Trophy
(Boat sub-class)
Francis M & March C RM Junior Wing  

Paddlers who have won at least three times in the Folding Kayak Class
Spinks R H - Artist Rifles - 6 times. 1984, 88, 89, 91, 92, & 94.
Stamper J - Artist Rifles - 3 times. 1988, 89, 91
Spinks A - Artist Rifles - 3 times. 2014, 16, 17

Paddlers who have completed at least three times in the Folding Kayak Class
Spinks R H - Artist Rifles - 8 times - 1984, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 97 & 2003 (1000 Mile Club)
Schoen N - Artist Rifles - 4 times - 1995, 96, 97, & 2003
Webster B - Artist Rifles - 4 times - 1991, 92, 93, 94
Spinks A - Artist Rifles - 4 times - 2003, 2014, 2016, 2017

Childs CJ - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 1988, 89, 97
Filller A - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 1989, 90, 91
Hayley KJ - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 1994, 95, 96
Payne M - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 1995, 2003, 2009
Pedley R - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 1993, 94, 97
Skipworth PH - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 1993, 94, 96
Stamper J - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 1988, 89, 91
Aslan T - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 2014, 2015, 2016
Hellin D - Artist Rifles - 3 times - 2012, 2014, 2017

Winners of the Tyne / Folding Kayak class Trophy
by year

Name Club Kayak used Trophy
(Boat sub-class)
Dansie Oliver & Dry R (Bert) 21 (Artists) Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Hayim J H & Terry M 21 (Artists) Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Junor Neville K & Marchant Edward C 21 (Artists) Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Wright Robert E & Belcher K RNAS Gosport Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Howe G R & Clark J P Royal Marines Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Macpherson W A & Marriot R 21 (Artists) Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Harrington R & Miller P Royal Marines Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Carless R & Polli G Royal Marines Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
White Peter & Sharp B UK Comcan Signal Regt   Tyne
White K M & Tapscott M C REME Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Poxon W & Howell A 22 Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Reynolds O & Marlin R 2 Para Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Malin R & Reynolds O 16 Para Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Dunning F & Hague G Royal Marines Poole Tyne Sports Double 17 Tyne
Lane J E & Ashdown J J Royal Marines   Tyne
Casey M J & Broughton D G RMA Sandhurst   Tyne
Peyton T & Trotter J ATURM Poole   Tyne
Weaver D T & Marafono K V 22   Tyne
Ketels M & Comblez V Para-Commando Belgium   Tyne
Proudfoot K G & Richmond R 21 (Artists)   Tyne (Un-official)
Spinks R H & Spinks J 21 (Artists)   Tyne (Un-official)
Spinks R H & Stamper J Independent   Tyne (Un-official)
Spinks R H & Stamper J Artists Rifles   Tyne (Un-official)
Filler A & Ryan A Artists Rifles   Tyne (Un-official)
Spinks R H & Stamper J Artists Rifles Klepper Aquilus Tyne (Un-official)
Spinks R H & Smith T Artists Rifles   Tyne (Un-official)
Roberts R & Skipworth P H Artists Rifles   Tyne (Un-official)
Spinks R H & Ridgley G C Artists Rifles Klepper Aquilus Tyne (Un-official)
Fleming A I & Payne Mark Artists Rifles   Tyne (Un-official)
Skipworth P H & Briggs J M Artists Rifles   Reserve Forces,Tyne (Un-official)
Seymour A P & Schoen Norbert Artists Rifles   Tyne (Un-official)
Coulson G & Abrutat D J Royal Marines Reserve   Tyne (Un-official)
Abrutat D J & Hyde D Royal Marines Reserve - London   Tyne (Un-official)
Grant Lee & Johnson Gordon Royal Marines Reserve - Tyne   Tyne (Un-official)
Wilson Andrew & Hibbert Chris Artists Rifles Klepper Aerius II (NATO) Tyne (Un-official)
Smith Richard & Penny James Royal Marines Reserve   Tyne (Un-official)
Billings Paul & Hellier Chris RMA Sandhurst   Tyne (Un-official)
Payne Mark & Mew Stephen Artists Rifles Klepper Aerius II (NATO) Tyne (Un-official)
Wiesbauer Clive & Owen Robert Independent   Tyne (Un-official)
Bridger Andrew & Skilton Mark Independent Klepper Aerius II (NATO) Tyne (Un-official)
Sollerer Rapheal (Sol) & Ruiz Coleman Independent LongHaul Folding Boat
Hellin Darren & Spinks Alexander Artists Rifles Klepper T12 Folding Boat
Greensmith Ben & O'Brien, Simon Independent Klepper Aerius II? Folding Boat
Ellis, Andrew & Spinks, Alexander Artists Rifles Klepper TS2 Folding Boat
 27:39:36 Ellis, Andrew & Spinks, Alexander Artists Rifles Klepper TS2 Folding Boat
2018 - Race cancelled during event due to high water levels
 25:23:35 Maynard, Joe & Maynard, Chris Royal Marines Neris Valkure-2 Folding Boat

A liitle background about the DW Folding Boat Class and the new trophy

The New Folding Boat Trophy - by Arthur J Ince (2013)

A folding boat trophy was first claimed to have been awarded in 1951. Although more commonly known as folding boats they were also described as rubber collapsible canoes in some early years. An advertisement by Tyne Folding Boats of Twickenham placed in 1961 claims their Sports 2 seater won the subclass in 10 of the 11 races from 1951 to 1961 and so it was that the Tyne company offered the Tyne Challenge Cup. A folding boat was only to be the outright winner of the event in two years, in 1951 and 1953, but it was a folding boat crewed by Dansie & Dry representing the 21st Special Air Service that led the field in 1951 and who with several other crews turned the event into a 24 hour non stop race taking over 10 hours off the record. It was not until 1959 that their time of 24 hours 7 minutes was bettered although it should be noted that the was in full flood and during the night one crew is reported to have strayed off course and paddled through the goal posts of a football field before finding the main course of the river again. Many felt the event should not become a race. In 1954 Canoe Camper reported that racing boats were to be banned from the event. In the end it was the folding boats that were dropped from the order of battle when in 1970 the trophy was lost and the subclass was eliminated.

As happens from time to time a group of competitors refused to let the class die and continued to use folding boats in the event to the present day. While there is no record of a folding boat between 1970 and 1984, 53 folding boats have completed the event since 1984 with 9 boats in 1997 alone. While it seems unlikely that many competitors would be interested in these heavy boats weighing about 30 kg many of the DW subclasses have few competitors. Perhaps the most endearing feature of DW is an ability to welcome all comers and let the occasional paddler have a go with the best in the world. Over the years the race has attracted several Olympic medal winners but they seem to have faired no better than the occasional paddlers in this, the most taxing of endurance events. One might ask why make a difficult task harder than it needs to be and use a slow heavy boat. However one intrepid competitor, Richard Spinks of the Artist's Rifles, entered the 1000 mile club (for those who have completed the race 8 times) using a Klepper and with G C Ridgley is the present unofficial class record holder with a time of 22:26:24 set in 1994 with a good flow of about 140 cubic meters/second. The original record having been set in 1961 by W Poxon and A Howell of 22 SAS in a time of 23:26. Of the 78 crews recorded as having completed the event in a folding boat only 3 have ever finished in less than 24 hours. The time set by Dansie and Dry in 1951 has only been bettered by those three crews despite rule changes which have permitted bank support for over 40 years and a restored canal.

So it is that the paddlers of folding boats, who with others in 1951, turned a camping trip into a non stop race over half a century ago have now accepted an offer to present a new trophy for folding boats. The new trophy, kindly donated by the Artist's Rifles Association, shows an Operational Canoe Team made famous by Blondie Hasler with his partner Bill Sparks in Operation Frankton; the raid by Royal Marines on Bordeaux which took place in December 1942 and which inspired the film the Cockleshell Heroes. Paddlers will be aware that the BCU Hasler Race Series is named after the leader of the raid and the Bill Sparks Trophy is awarded to the highest placed veteran K2 at the Halser Final.

A Royal Marines Trophy for the fastest folding boat in the Junior Class was also available in the early years of the event but only appears in results in 4 years and has not been awarded since 1967. As with the original Tyne Trophy the restored Folding Boat Trophy is open to competitors in the Senior Class

Article written in 2013


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Page last updated 04-Sep-2019