Vic to Van covered in UBC’s Trek Alumni Magazine

A Memorable Paddle

by Trek Magazine
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Photo: Dawn-Marie Barreira via UBC’s Trek Magazine

While some of us worked on our tans over the summer, Sean McBeath, BASc’13, Dion Maxwell and Liam Fisher were busy preparing for a memorable journey. On July 20, 2013, the trio kayaked from Victoria to False Creek to honor Sean’s late friend, and mentor, Tyler Lewis, and raise funds for the foundation created in his memory. Tyler – a UBC engineering PhD candidate, gifted researcher and avid outdoorsman – died in a skiing accident in 2012.

Training for the voyage was rigorous. On‑water training typically lasted two to three hours, with longer sessions running six to nine hours. Dry‑land training included gym sessions three to four times per week, running, cycling, yoga and swimming multiple times a week.

The non‑stop, arduous expedition had its challenges – the 135‑km distance, paddling in the dark, nutrition maintenance, and strong tidal currents. “There was a point where we were paddling as hard as we could, and just barely creeping forward,” says Sean. The team prevailed, making the crossing in 16 hours and 46 minutes, raising more than $17,000 for the Tyler Lewis Clean Energy Research Foundation.

What’s next for the team? “We don’t want to give too much away, but there’s been talk of circumnavigating Vancouver Island,” says Sean. For more information about the foundation, visit