Norm Hann is a local SUP legend with a huge passion for the ocean, coastlines and the powerful connection between people and our environment. Norm Hann heads up ‘Norm Hann Expeditions’. Through his company, he shares his love of stand up paddleboarding. His expeditions focus on creating a unique experience for his groups. He offers Paddle Canada Instructor courses and also Paddle Camps.
His British Columbia story starts after a university basketball and high school teaching career in Sudbury, Ontario he made the decision to travel west to enroll; in a wilderness guide training program in Vancouver, British Columbia. Upon completion Norm was hired as an adventure guide in the Great Bear Rainforest on the north coast of B.C. As Norm says “The Great Bear Rainforest is a spectacular and mesmerizing place and my passion for the people and place grew quickly. Sharing the beauty and secrets of the temperate rainforest with guests from around the world was an honor for me. The majestic ancient rain forests, the pristine marine ecosystems and the rich traditional territory of the Gitga’at people were my home for many summers” And so it began…
After working many off seasons in the community of Hartley Bay teaching and coaching basketball, in 2006 Norm was given the ultimate coastal honour of being adopted by Eva Hill into the Raven Clan and given the name T’aam Laan meaning “Steersman of the Canoe.” This carried a great responsibility and let Norm know he was on the right path.
The Start of Norm Hann Expeditions and Protecting the Great Bear Rainforest
Norm discovered the sport of Stand Up Paddle Boarding 2008. He combined his ten years of adventure guiding in The Great Bear rain forest with this new found love of Paddle Boarding and Norm Hann Expeditions was born. With the emergence of his new expedition company , he planned his first Paddle board tour in 2009. It was featured as part of a story in Explore Magazine. He quickly become passionate about the area and wanted to create a connection in people.
Norm’s main passion is the Great Bear Rainforest and the pristine coastlines. He focuses on encouraging everyone to protect the areas for future generations to enjoy. His other pursuits center on environmental protection, teaching, and even stand up paddle boarding races. The real threat of oil tankers traveling through this area began to take shape in the form of the Northern Gateway Project. Norm felt a very strong conviction to do something after the place and its people had given him so much.
He decided, with the support of kayaker Brian Huntington of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, that they would paddle the proposed tanker route. The route was from the Haisla village of Kitimaat at the head of Douglas Channel and the site of the proposed tanker port, 400km south to the Heiltsuk village of Bella Bella. The expedition was called Standup4Greatbear and the goal was to highlight the traditional food harvesting areas of the coastal First Nations and the pristine marine and terrestrial ecosystems of the Great Bear. Norm wanted everyone to know what was at risk. The Standup4Greatbear Society continues to promote the education, awareness, and protection of the Great Bear Rainforest and the Great Bear Sea, through conservation expeditions, featured talks and presentations.
The Great Bear Rainforest Film: Stand
In 2012, Norm was contacted by acclaimed filmmaker Anthony Bonello who had watched the Standup4Greatbear film and had read about their first sup trip to the Great Bear Rainforest with Explore Magazine. They paired up to create a documentary on the Great Bear Rainforest. Leading photographer Nicolas Teichrob worked closely with Norm to depict his 350km trip that ran the coastline of Haida Gwaii. The Heiltsuk students worked to build wooden cedar paddleboards. The film also features Tofino local Raphael Bruhwiler. This is a much watch film that highlights the beauty in both the natural environment and of the people of the area.
Today, Norm’s Standup4GreatBear Society works to educate and protect the Great Bear Rainforest plus the Great Bear Sea. He performs conservation expeditions, presentations, and educational talks in his quest to educate and preserve the natural area.
Local Stand Up Paddle Board Tours and Expeditions
If you are seeking a truly unique nature experience then join Norm Hann for one of his unique and moving expeditions. You can opt to enjoy a day outing or a multi-day adventure. Also, if you find paddleboarding fascinating then why not let Norm teach you various techniques with one of his training session. He has teamed up locally with Tina Currie and created the Coastal Stoke program that offers Stand Up paddle boarding lessons and tours that are mainly based on educating the public on how to enjoy our coast line safely.
Squamish is lucky to have such a passionate activist and adventurer as part of our community. You can check out more of Norm Hanns programs here: https://normhann.com/