Located in Victoria, British Columbia on beautiful Vancouver Island, Ocean River is one of the premier speciality kayak and adventure companies in North America. Brian Henry, the founder & current owner, has been running Ocean River since 1981, and Ocean River continues to be recognised as one of the most significant outdoor/paddlesports instructional & tours provider in North America.
“Friendliest guide ever!”
5 of 5 stars – Reviewed “ No Guide Mentioned”
My boyfriend and I took a stand-up paddle boarding lesson for my birthday. We booked at the last minute and Ocean River Sports accommodated us, even though they don’t usually do same-day bookings. We couldn’t have asked for a better guide – he was patient, encouraging and made easygoing, good conversation the whole way. His coaching was so good that we’re happy to note neither of us took an accidental swim!
“SUP 3-hour learning session – so fun!”
5 of 5 stars – Reviewed “Greg”
We went out in a group of 3 women and 3 teens on a cloudy rainy day. I expected to get a good technical lesson on using a SUP safely but we got so much more! it was a super fun and informative afternoon, rain be damned. Thanks to our instructor, Greg, we had a very custom session and traveled much farther than I would have expected. All 3 of us adults were sure we’d fall at least once but we didn’t. The kids fell in and swam, but all by choice and design. The Gorge had surprisingly gorgeous warm water. Definitely good value and even better than expected.
I did a SUP course with my 12 year old daughter this morning with Mark as our instructor. He was wonderful! We had such a great time and learned a lot. He was very patient and helpful with my daughter and we both left feeling ready and confident to get back out on the water by ourselves!
Thank you so much!
“SUP the easy way”
I have wanted to try SUP for a couple of years and when I found a friend who wanted to take a lesson too, we knew Ocean River Sports was who we needed to book with. Rob was our guide and he was great. He was encouraging, and gave us great instructions and tips. We had a great time paddling around and are now hooked. Everyone we met or spoke to at Ocean River Sports was helpful and we can’t wait to go back and rent boards again. We highly recommend booking a lesson or a rental with them.
Arrive at Ocean River Sports approximately 15 minutes early for your tour to meet your guide(s) and other participants. Our safety-conscience guides are among the most highly trained and versatile on the coast—what is more, they really know Victoria.
On the water, groups larger than 6 are led by two guides. Our paddling area encompasses the scenic 7 km stretch of calm protected water known locally as the Gorge, as well as the world’s most photographed harbour, Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Your tour experience:
After meeting and greeting all, you will be provided with a paddling orientation, which will include the features of the SUP, personal paddling equipment, group safety protocol, and the strokes that will make paddling and maneuvering more enjoyable. The tour will make several stops at fascinating landmarks, with the guide detailing the storied history of each stop.
Full Itinerary – PDF: Itinerary for Stand Up Paddling (SUP) Instructional Tour
- Equipment List
Please read the following equipment list carefully, as it indicates what you will need to bring with you to help ensure you enjoy a comfortable tour.
Ocean River Sports stocks many of the items listed below. If you need advice or would like to purchase gear, please visit us or check out our online store!
Cotton keeps you cold when it’s wet, and takes a long time to dry. If possible, bring clothing designed for outdoor wear and made from Merino (wool), silk, or synthetic materials, such as polyester, polypropylene, or nylon.
- Eyeglass retainer strap if you wear glasses
- Sunglasses, sunscreen
- A broad-brimmed sun/rain hat
- Clothing like you might wear for a short hike (dress in appropriate layers depending, on the weather). Bring a light rain jacket on days when there is a chance of rain. If you don’t have one, we can provide you with a waterproof paddling jacket.
- Low-heeled shoes
- Water and snack (optional)
- A watertight plastic bag for electronics (optional)
- A camera (optional)
We cannot be responsible for damage to or loss of your items, so please ensure valuables are stored securely in watertight plastic bags or dry bags. Secure storage is available for personal items you choose not to take on the water!
- Waiver/Medical Forms
Please review the following form prior to your program. Please sign/initial the form in the presence of your instructor/guide, who will act as your witness.