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Paddlers from qathet region strike gold at world championships

Powell River Outrigger Canoe Society members help Canada post record haul of medals at International Va’a Federation event

Eight paddlers from the qathet region successfully represented Canada last week at the 2022 International Va’a Federation (IVF) World Outrigger Sprint Championships in Windsor, United Kingdom.

Helen Robinson, Brenda Allan, Sarah Bacon, Jim Underwood, George Smith, Bruce Layzell, Richard Scott and Michael Matthews were part of a Salish Sea squad that won two gold and two silver medals out of a total Canadian haul of 12 gold, 13 silver and four bronze, a record number for the country. Overall, Canada finished in third place on the medal table behind New Zealand and Hawaii.

The championships scheduled for Hilo, Hawaii, were cancelled in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the 2022 event presented the first opportunity for the local paddlers to follow up on the success of the crew who participated in Tahiti in 2018. That year, local athletes came home with two gold medals and a silver, and broke a world record in the process.

Prior to training at home for the 2022 championships, Matthews, who also serves as coach and racing coordinator for Powell River Outrigger Canoe Society (PROCS), took the four Salish Sea crews for a training camp in his old stomping grounds of Durham, England.

For more information about PROCS, go to