History of Ocean RiverOcean River Sports - first advertisement

At the end of the retro and rockin’ 1970s, Brian Henry (the big kahuna) decided that Victoria was in desperate need of a store to supply his friends and himself with the gear they needed for their sport of choice: Kayaking.

Ocean River Sports opened its doors in 1981 out of a tiny 250 square foot space in the northeast corner of Victoria’s Market Square. The retail store, and the founding of Current Designs Kayaks, helped mark the beginning of a Vancouver Island paddling community and culture that is still growing today. After moving to a larger space in Market Square, where they resided for many years, Ocean River bloomed in size and established themselves as a local hot spot for outdoor activity and outfitting.

In 2001, they moved again to the current location on the water at 1824 Store St. From being simply a hole-in-the-wall shop Ocean River now operates a complete paddle-sports and outdoors centre in downtown Victoria, encompassing an outstanding retail store, kayak school, kayak touring centre, multiple rental facilities and docks, workshop, boat storage facility and performance paddling club. A pioneer in the paddle-sports industry and one of the most significant kayak speciality stores in North America, the team at Ocean River proudly features some of the best sea kayaks, performance kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards and paddling accessories available anywhere.

The store has been recognised as The Best Kayak Store in Canada and The Best Kayak School in Western Canada by Sea Kayaker magazine’s Reader’s Choice awards .


To create an extraordinary experience for all those that connect with Ocean River while protecting our natural environment and providing the enjoyment of nature at its most intimate level.