Skip to content

Annual Hilbre Island Sea Kayak Event

Poster for the event……

It is with regret that Liverpool Canoe Club feels that it can no longer organise the Hilbre Island Race and event and will offer a shorter and lower-key event specifically for its members in Liverpool Dock.

We are therefore withdrawing this year’s event from the calendar.  It was scheduled to be on Sunday 17th September 2023.   We would like to continue to support our sponsors of Dee Sailing Club and Go Kayaking and are looking at ways in which we can continue to work together in the future.   I would like to stress that this a purely to do with Liverpool Canoe Club and its aims and objectives and nothing to do with the fabulous support given in the past by Dee Sailing Club and Go Kayaking.

Hilbre Island is the largest of a group of three islands at the mouth of the estuary of the River Dee, and lies about 1.6 km from Red Rocks, the nearest part of the mainland on the Wirral Peninsula.

START / FINISH Dee Sailing Club, Station Road, Thurstaston
Wirral, CH61 0HN

Changing rooms, showers and bar / BBQ all available at the clubhouse.
HW Liverpool   9.0m at 13:14 BST

HW Hilbre        8.8m at 12:57 BST
Registration and Bib issue 10:30 – 11:30
Safety boat briefing 10:30
Race briefing 11:30
RACE START TIME 12:00 Midday
The start and finish will be a buoy on the water in line with the causeway.

Hilbre Island Race – craft placed on the beach for safety inspection

Andy Lees presenting prizes

Results and Prizes 15:00 (approximately) Certificates are available for competitors, please email after the race to request one.

Hilbre Island Race 13km
(Sea Kayaks, teams of 3 sea kayaks (Should paddle and finish together), Racing Surf Skis & Performance Sea Kayaks.
Paddle from the start line past the causeway and then offshore of the Little Eye and Middle Eye and clockwise ROUND Hilbre Island and back to the finish line.

Little Eye Race 9km
(Fast touring boats, Doubles and Racing Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs)

Paddle from the start line past the causeway and then clockwise around the Little Eye and back to the finish line.

West Kirby Race 4km
(Any class of craft, novice paddlers and Juniors (under 16), Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs)

Paddle from the start line past the causeway and then along the shore to West Kirby and around the turn buoy by the slipway and return.

Breaking waves on Hilbre Island

Conditions can be very rough on the northern end of Hilbre and anyone entering the Hilbre Island Race needs to be sure that they can cope with the conditions on the day.

If conditions are too rough then modified courses may be used. We have a number of safety craft covering the race. Several kayak rescue teams will also be positioned on the end of Hilbre Island, Little Eye and along the route. We also have several rescue boats in attendance.

Safety Requirements.
The route around Hilbre Island is 13 Km down the Dee Estuary past the Little Eye and Middle Eye (Little Hilbre Island), and clockwise around the end of Hilbre Island. The Island has a rocky coastline and seas break on off-lying reefs when there is a swell. There are overfalls on the north end on the flood tide. You are advised not to go too close to the island in these conditions. Tidal streams are not extreme, but do cause some disturbed water in places when running at their fastest. Experience of paddling in these conditions is essential.

Racer near the finish

All competitors must wear approved buoyancy aids/lifejackets (with whistles). All boats must have maximum buoyancy, and end loops / toggles. (Elite racing skis will not have these and elite paddlers will paddle at their own risk knowing that safety boats may not be able to tow or rescue their craft)

Boats deemed not to be seaworthy for the prevailing conditions will not be allowed to compete. If weather/sea conditions are unfavourable, changes will be made to the course.

Safety Cover
There will be a number of safety boats in attendance. These will concentrate on the tail end of both races and on the North end of Hilbre where seas will be roughest.

West Kirby Race juniors receiving their trophies

All participants should be confident of their ability to stay upright in the prevailing conditions; they should be suitably dressed to survive a prolonged immersion; they should be experienced in deep water rescue rescues. If you see other competitors in trouble and no rescue boat is in attendance please give assistance. If you have any doubts – bearing in mind the conditions on the day – please join the Little Eye Event, which will be more closely supervised. Little Eye paddlers can also opt to join the West Kirby short course around the blue buoy.

Although we will do our best to take care of all competitors, it is ultimately YOUR responsibility to compete on the day. If you grossly overestimate your ability, you could risk other lives as well as your own.

All competitors are issued with bibs which are checked out and back. All bibs must be handed back in to confirm safe return of the competitor. If for any reason you abandon the race, return the bib to event control asap.

Supported by Dee Sailing Club and
Go Kayaking North West Marina Village, Murdishaw, Preston Brook, Runcorn WA7 3DW Tel 01928 710770