How It All Started
In the fall of
1998 Staff Sgt Ed Hill of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police contacted
Western Canoeing and Kayaking about putting on a 'canoe event' in the
town of Gibsons, British Columbia. Hill had been heavily involved in
the 'Vision Quest' paddling event, down the coast of British Columbia
in First Nations traveling canoes the year before. This was a very successful
spiritual healing and fund raising event between the RCMP and the various
First Nations' bands up and down the B.C. Coast. Sgt Hill wanted to
bring the excitement and feeling of community that he knew team-paddling
could bring, to his town. The Howe Sound Outrigger Iron race was born.
Since that time, Gibsons has started their own paddle club that is now
over 200 members strong. We've hosted this event annually since 1999
and the town of Gibsons comes alive with all the excitement of the race
Great weekend, great race.
Hugh Fisher, Olympic Kayak Champion, Pemberton, B.C.
I've been enthusiastically promoting your race to all the clubs down
here... I've been describing it as a 'Canadian kona'sort of vibe. I
think the coolest thing was the kids seeking autographs myself! I can't
tell them enough how enjoyable a trip that was... thanks again! see
ya in 2K!!
Randy Nichols, Hui Wa'a OC&K Redwood City, CA
As an RCMP co-sponsored event, we are proud of our community and impressed
with the Outrigger Paddlers that visited us this past summer. The event
was first class on all fronts. Our red serge members will always be
proud to serve at the awards ceremony.
Staff Sergeant Ed Hill, NCO I/C GIBSONS RCMP Detachment
Gibsons did an awesome job organizing this event. Absolutely beautiful
course that was really challenging.
Don Irvine, PADDLER Comox, B.C.
The Legend of the Chatiyay Necklace
Ch atiyay (Squamish
for Devils Club)
A Spiny shrub related to ginseng: considered to be one of the most important
medicinal plants and protective agents for the aboriginal peoples of
the BC Coast. In its protective guise Devils Club is said to provide
protection, strength and endurance to paddlers while on the open seas.
This is what our Devil's Club necklace is meant to provide.
The tradition came to Gibsons Paddle Club through RCMP Staff Sargent
Ed Hill after he participated in the Vision Quest canoe journey down
the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1997. The Spiritual Elder who
originally presented the Devils Club to the Vision Quest paddlers gave
specific instructions. Her story states that the necklaces are to be
worn when paddlers are involved in any functions pertaining to ventures
on the water. On the weekend of the Iron Race the tradition combines
the spirit of giving and the wish that our outrigger visitors will also
benefit from the protection of the Devils Club, each Gibsons paddler
will meet someone from off the Coast and pass their necklace and the
tradition on. The symbolism of the colors of the beads: four races,
four seasons, four directions, the significance of the Devils Club
and the spirit of giving.