This is a paddle that has a design deep in story, history and coastal legend and is a partnership between Norm Hann Expeditions and Blackfish Paddles. These paddles can only be purchased through Norm Hann Expeditions and showcases the incredible artwork of Cash Bo Smith and Roy Henry Vickers in combination with industry leading construction and design from Blackfish Paddles. Ten dollars from the sale of each paddle goes to the Standup4Greatbear Society for the awareness and protection of the Great Bear Rainforest. These paddle are shipped in their own nylon paddle bag, a company wide initiative by Blackfish Paddles, instead of using plastic for wrapping.
Prior to the Steersman collaboration with Blackfish Paddles I had been using the Nootka 52o Fish Skin Adjustable for the last two years for all of our expeditions, tours, surf courses and river courses. It has been tested extensively. I have to stay that I think it is one of the best adjustable paddles on the market. The Nootka comes in a fixed length, 2 piece and 3 piece travel paddle. The combination of durability, performance, lightness and bomber adjustability make this a blade every sup paddler should have in their quiver. It made sense when I was looking at collaborating on a paddle for Norm Hann Expeditions that we would use the Nootka as the canvas for the Steersman. The result is beautiful and practical and the design will you inspire you with it’s message.
Technically the Blackfish Nootka 520 is one of the best all around paddles on the market. The 520 is the ideal blade shape for touring, surfing, river paddling and pretty much anything on the water. With a teardrop shape, the dihedral design allows for clean water entry, a stable catch phase and a clean exit with its eight degree angle. The paddle has a carbon shaft which contributes to its lightness and allows for effective power transmission. The blade is constructed with Blackfish’s unique Fishskin technology making it incredibly durable and long lasting. The shaft adjustment is proprietary to Blackfish Paddles and provides an easy and secure adjustment with a grooved, measured top piece making up and down adjustment a breeze.
The circular design was created for Norm Hann Expeditions by Gitxsan artist Cash Bo Smith. Bo Smith’s traditional name is Git Wil Tim Gibuu which means “warrior wolf.” Through his art Bo Smith is ultimately connecting with his Gisgega’as ancestors, the historic village of Gisgega’as – Place of Raven.
Bo’s design is represented by a Raven on the left, Bear on the right and Traditional Canoe Paddle in the middle. This logo represents Norm story and the British Columbia coastline. The Raven has special meaning to Norm as he is adopted into the Raven clan of the Gitga’at people by Eva Hill. The Raven, according to First Nations legend is the creator of man and woman and also brought light to the world. He is known as the trickster and has the ability to change forms. The Bear represents the Great Bear Rainforest and the coast. Bear traditionally represents strength, family, vitality, courage and health. Known as the Protector of the animal kingdom the Bear is the most powerful coastal animal. The traditional canoe paddle in the middle of the design represents Norm’s traditional name, T’aam L’aan, the Steersman of the canoe, given to him by the Gitga’at peop;e and also represents the ocean and standup paddleboarding.
The design behind the logo with eyes looking forward is the Standup4Greatbear logo created by renowned artist and friend Roy Henry Vickers. Norm’s Standup4Greatbear Expedition was a standup paddleboard journey Norm and Brian Huntington of Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition took along the proposed north coast oil tanker route. Norm wanted to bring awareness to the threat of oil tankers to the pristine marine environment, wildlife and traditional harvesting areas of the coastal First Nations from Kitimaat to Bella Bella, a 400km journey.
“The face in the center represents those who are willing to make a stand for our mother earth. A gray mist on the seas face and a gray dawn breaking, is the reason for the choice of gray. The circle represents the cycle of life and the overlapping circles that continue through our lives. The spirit bear represents the natural world and reminds us that what we do to this world affects all life in this world. The tree represents life and the forest that depends on our actions. The bear tracks remind us of a life’s journey and, in the grand scheme of things, it is short. What we do makes a difference in the world, the tracks we leave can lead others to stand up for truth, beauty, and strength of our ancestors. This creation is inspired by Norman Hann and his choice to stand up for truth, strength and beauty.”
– Roy Henry Vickers
Canadian artist Roy Henry Vickers is best known around the world for his limited edition prints. He is also an accomplished carver, design advisor of prestigious public spaces, a sought-after keynote speaker, and publisher and author of several successful books.
The Steersman comes in a 2 piece or 3 piece travel paddle and can be purchased exclusively through Norm Hann Expeditions on the shop page.