The History Of Ocean River Sports

The History Of Ocean River Sports

History of Ocean RiverOcean River Sports - first advertisement

At the end of the retro and rockin' 1970s, Brain Henry (the big kahuna) decided that Victoria was in desperate need of a store to supply him and his friends 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 we resided for many years, we bloomed in size and established ourselves as a local hot spot for outdoor activity and outfitting.

In 2001, we moved to 1824 Store St. from being simply a hole-in-the-wall shop. Then, again, in 2017 we moved to 1630 Store Street where we now operate a complete paddle-sports and outdoors centre in downtown Victoria at the new location at the base of Cina Town. Ocean River is 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 specialty stores in North America, we at Ocean River proudly feature some of the best sea kayaks, performance kayaks, canoes, and paddling accessories available anywhere.

The store has been recognized as The Best Kayak Store in Canada and The Best Kayak School in Western Canada by Sea Kayaker magazine’s Reader’s Choice awards. Founder, Brian Henry has been honoured byTourism Victoria with the Life Member Award.


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.



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