As Watersports professionals, we have been delivering activities in the vale of Evesham since 1993 when we set up Aztec Watersports, leading onto setting up and running watersports centres around the world. In 2008 we started teaching paddleboarding on the River Avon as 'Bonkers Activities' and this has now grown into Avon River Activities (ARA).
All of this has led us to where we are today, ready to run your activity session.
This experience is only important as it translates into being able to offer the PERFECT sessions for you. Safe, Fun and Professional.
We have the best venues, the best equipment and the best teaching methods - so you get the best for your money and the best use of your time.
We also understand that everyone has different requirements, so all sessions are tailored to hit your goals and needs. Whilst the activities are at the core, we understand that your 'day out' is valuable to you and we will help make it special (with photos to help build memories if you like too).
Avon River Activities (ARA) is the culmination of a lifetimes work - and leads to your perfect session
Kim, Alex and the team will guarantee to make you feel welcome, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
About the Staff
Genuine Family Business
Kim Bonk - Owner
Avon River Activities
ARA Owner, Manager and British Canoeing Level 3 Paddleboard Coach. Kim is so friendly and down to earth that you will feel relaxed as soon as you arrive for your session and start chatting. She brightens up any room just by being there, and you'll never forget her infectious (or is it dirty?) laugh.
Kim started coaching watersports in 1996, so has a lifetime of experience. ARA is Kim's full time business, and she spends nearly every day on and around the water. Kim makes it all Fun, Friendly and Professional. Kim's brands 'BONK' & 'BONKERS ACTIVITIES' also includes her clothing range (you may remember her Evesham Skate, SUP and clothing store). 12 years ago Kim's ARA / Bonkers Activities were among the first to pioneer the (then) new sport of paddleboarding and are now the established leading specialists in everything SUP
Founder and Head Coach
Alex is a true lifelong watersports industry professional, he holds too many quals to list them all, but they include; BA(Hons) Recreation Management, Post Graduate Cert in Outdoor Education, RYA instructor in Sailing, Windsurfing (Si / Adv+), Powerboating, Inland Waterways and British Canoe Paddleboard and Kayak instructor, Coach and Tutor. Alex has worked as an industry consultant and trained instructors around the world but now concentrates on paddleboarding and inland waterways boating on the River Avon that he loves so much. His passion for the river can be also be seen by the work and fundraising he does for the River's Charity - the Avon Navigation Trust. Alex's coaching style is totally based on the people he is teaching, constantly adapting and improving (that's what he calls it but maybe he's just making it up as he goes along!). But the result are amazing, with everyone getting exactly what is right for them, and what they want from their sessions.
Kai (Bosh) Mellor - Paddleboard Coach (level 3)
Kai has been paddleboarding for over 12 years (1st pic is him on ARA's first plastic SUPs over 12 years ago, when he was little!!) and is now a Level 3 coach with over a decade of experience. Kai specialises in running the sessions for young people and families - so they are always dynamic and fun
Zak Mellor - Evesham Manager - and Dragon Keeper
Zak operates the hire of the Evesham Dragons and Paddlecraft in Abbey Park, May to September. As well as his HND, Zak holds the RYA inland Waterways Helms certificate, First Aid and more...
Bilbo joined the family in August 2022, a 2 year old rescue (with some re-activity issues !). He's a Bull-Dash (a wire haired Dachsund cross with an English Bulldog - so he is quite unique). The great news he loves paddleboarding and boats (and cuddles too). He quite often joins in sessions, jumping from board to board, so you may well meet him on your session.
Bonkers Elite SUP Club - Leaders and instructors
For larger groups you need more instructors. ARA have helped a whole team of people work through their training and certificates to become qualified instructors and coaches. What a great team !!
About H & S
ARA want you to relax and enjoy your sessions knowing that all the safety, insurance and quality controls are all in place.
Insurance - ARA are fully insured for the public liability for all the activities they participate in.
DBS - all ARA instructors have up to date DBS checks in place
Safeguarding - with the history of working with youth organisations, all the necessary safeguarding procedures and policies are in place. In fact, with our links to local youth support networks, we operate above and beyond any other activity orientated organisation
Qualifications and instructor training. As well as relevant NGB qualifications all staff have ongoing training and hold First aid Certificates. All our instructors hold the British Canoe Level 3 Coaching certificates and take place in regular coaching development training.
ARA have all the required detailed operating procedures in place and Risk Assessments.
RIVER LICENCE (commercial). To operate on any piece of inland water you need permission from the people who manage/own that water. For us this means a commercial licence from the Avon Navigation Trust, as well as individual licences for all our boards. ARA have been through the registration process with ANT and hold all the necessary commercial licences and permissions.
National Governing Body - British Canoeing - Official Delivery Partner. ARA were an 'early adopter' when this scheme was launched, helping to support and shape the future of the sport - ensuring standards of instruction, qualifications and operating systems.