Norm Hann

In 1999 I committed to pursue my passion for the ocean and mountains and enrolled in an adventure tourism program in Vancouver, British Columbia after growing up in Sudbury, Ontario, playing university basketball and becoming a high school teacher. Soon after completing my adventure program I flew into the Great Bear Rainforest and began work for King Pacific Lodge where I started to build my experience as an outdoor guide by connecting people from around the world to the incredible rainforest ecosystems and traditional territories of the Gitga’at people. After working for a number of seasons as a guide at the lodge I began to spend more time in the community of Hartley Bay teaching, coaching basketball and building on my enlightening relationship with the Gitga’at people. It was in 2006 that I was given the great honour of being adopted by Eva Hill into the Raven Clan and given the name T’aam Laan which means “Steersman of the Canoe.”

After being inspired by a dvd of Laird Hamilton and Loch Eggers I began paddle boarding in 2008 and in 2009 with a decade of guiding experience under my belt in the Great Bear Rainforest I organized our first multi day sup expedition through Gitga’at territory with Explore Magazine. I realized quickly that standup paddle boarding was an amazing way to intimately experience the area. As this trip was finishing up and prior to a year teaching in Hartley Bay the real threat of oil tankers traveling through the narrow waterways of the Great Bear began to take on a real and serious threat. I felt a very strong pull to want to do something after the place and its people had given me so much that I decided, with the support of kayaker Brian Huntington of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition that we would paddle the tanker route 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 my 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.  That same year we ran our first commercial sup expedition giving adventurous guests the opportunity to experience the place and people themselves and to see what was at risk. My 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.

In 2012 I was contacted by acclaimed filmmaker Anthony Bonello whose goal it was to bring the story of the proposed oil tankers and the threat to the Great Bear Rainforest to a larger audience. Shortly after recruiting talented photographer Nicolas Teichrob, the Stand film project began, highlighting my 350km expedition along the coast of Haida Gwaii, the Heiltsuk students of Bella Bella building their own wooden cedar paddleboards and the surfing and coastal connection of waterman and Tofino local Raphael Bruhwiler. Stand has gone on to receive numerous awards around the world, inspiring those to standup for what they believe in and can now be seen on Netflix. Stand film is also the foundation for our Take A Stand For Conservation program which brings the message of the wildlife, threats and culture of the Great Bear Rainforest to elementary and high school students across British Columbia.

Although I love teaching and instructing for Paddle Canada as a sup surf, river, and touring instructor trainer my true passion still lies in exploring our coastline and sharing my knowledge and experiences in the Great Bear Rainforest with guests from around the world.

I invite you to come on a journey with me to the Great Bear Rainforest and to experience for yourself the rich culture of the Gitga’at people and the incredible wildlife and pristine ecosystems of the North Coast of British Columbia. You will not be disappointed.

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Recent Posts

My Three Favourite Items for Paddling in Belize

This week I leave for Belize to guide our seven day Coral Islands Stand up Paddleboarding trip with Island Expeditions. The sun is intense and I make sure I have these key pieces of gear to help protect me on the water. 1. SHELTA SUN HAT: Last fall while down at the Pacific Paddle Games [...]

MULTIPLICITY 2016: Norm Hann Stands up for the Great Bear Rainforest.

Big thanks to the crew at Mountain Life for inviting me to speak at Multiplicity this past spring as part of the Telus Ski and Snowboard Festival. It gave me another opportunity to talk about our coastline and to share some stories and pictures. MOUNTAIN LIFE RECENTLY RELEASED THE TALK AND YOU CAN WATCH IT [...]

Creating a World-Class Standup Paddleboard Experience.

I am really excited about our upcoming Coral Islands SUP trip in Belize which is a unique partnership recently formed with Island Expeditions, the leading adventure experts in Belize.  This is a premier paddling adventure as the Coral Island SUP trip is the only multi-day, lodge to lodge sup adventure in Belize. The trip was [...]