Vancouver Outdoor Community Spotlight: EJ Lange of Jericho Beach Kayak

EJ Lange of Jericho Beach Kayak kayaking in Nootka Sound

EJ Lange kayaking in Nootka Sound. Photo: EJ Lange

When you love something as much as EJ Lange loves kayaking, you make it your mission to share it with everyone. We chatted with EJ about how he is creating an inclusive community and getting more people out on the water in his role as the School and Operations Director at Jericho Beach Kayak.

 

“One of the things that I really enjoy about guiding and instructing is the different people we get to meet from all over the world,” EJ says. “I really enjoy sharing kayaking, sharing the outdoors, and introducing people to that. They really love it. Often, people come from their daily life, and they are a little bit stressed. And then once we are on the water you can really see everybody start to smile. By the time we are back, everyone feels so happy and relaxed… Just being able to facilitate that kind of experience, giving people a chance to stop a little bit in their busy lives and just enjoy the outdoors, enjoy the amazing environment and nature we have around here.”

Kaykers on a tour with Jericho Beach Kayak

Kayakers on a tour with Jericho Beach Kayak. Photo: Jericho Beach Kayak

EJ has been passionate about kayaking since his university days when he played kayak polo in Germany. “I just thought it was a fun thing to do to try new sports. I really enjoyed it and then I also started going on overnight trips, which I really enjoyed,” he explains. “[My partner and I] decided to move to Canada and I said that was okay as long as we moved somewhere near the ocean. We ended up moving to Vancouver. BC has some of the world’s best kayaking. We immediately started going kayaking here, going on lots of overnight trips.”

Eventually, EJ realized that he didn’t want to just kayak in his free time. “I had a desk job [and] I was always quite unhappy making my way to work and then sitting behind a desk all day. When I was on my way to work I saw the ocean and mountains and I thought it would be pretty cool to be out there instead of to be behind a desk. I applied to become a kayak instructor. I initially did that part-time and eventually four years ago decided to take the leap and make that full-time my job, which is pretty fun and amazing to be able to be out here kayaking for a living.”

EJ believes that kayaking is for everyone. Since Jericho Beach Kayak takes care of everything on their tours, “it’s completely open for beginners, so everybody is welcome to join,” he says. “It is our goal to make kayaking as inclusive as possible… We also share a lot of local and Indigenous history, so if people are interested in learning more about the history and culture of Vancouver as well as facts about our natural environment, we share all of that in our tours.”

Evening social paddle outing with Jericho Beach Kayak

A group at the Friday evening social paddle. Photo: Jericho Beach Kayak

Under EJ’s leadership, Jericho Beach Kayak has also created a strong community paddling program. Each Friday evening they host a social paddling event. Women on the Water is a weekly Tuesday night event for women and female-identifying folks. Each month they host a BIPOC paddle. And in August they are organizing an LGBTQ2SAI+ event to celebrate Vancouver Pride Week. “We are trying to give folks from different communities a place to connect, to socialize, and to have a safe space to meet others from marginalized communities,” EJ explains.

EJ also loves showing both locals and visitors a different way to see Vancouver on Jericho Beach Kayak’s signature sunset kayaking tours or unique glow-in-the-dark tours. “[Out on the water] the views of the skyline and mountains are amazing. We get to see seals and birds… One of the things that we are really fortunate about here at Jericho is that we have fantastic sunsets because we see the sunset basically in the ocean or behind Vancouver Island so we get the longest amount of sunshine in the city. We have those amazing sunsets with the sky glowing up and all the colours.” For the glow-in-the-dark tours they “equip the kayaks with colourful fairy lights and then head out on the water as it starts to get dark,” EJ says. “You’re a lot more in touch with your senses [at night], which is really nice. Those lit-up kayaks look pretty as well.”

Sunset paddle with Jericho Beach Kayak

Paddlers on a sunset tour. Photo: EJ Lange/Jericho Beach Kayak

EJ and his partner have three kids, so making kayaking accessible for families is also important to him. “We offer family tours… specifically targeted for families with kids of any age who want to go out on the water and try it as a fun family activity,” EJ explains. “Kids under 8 are free on those tours. Older kids are heavily discounted too. We also run summer camps all summer long. [We get] lots of locals but we also have lots of kids who are just visiting Vancouver who join us for a week-long camp, which is pretty fun and a great way for kids visiting the city to experience kayaking.”

 

Learn More About Jericho Beach Kayak

Jericho Beach Kayak is a locally owned kayak company located at Jericho Sailing Centre. They offer kayak rentals, guided tours, lessons, summer camps for kids, and community-oriented social paddling evenings. Visit their website to learn more or took book a rental or tour.

 

EJ’s Vancouver Favourites

We also asked EJ to give us his recommendations for outdoor adventures around Vancouver.

EJ’s Favourite Vancouver Outdoor Destination: “I would have to say hiking through Pacific Spirit Park down to Spanish Banks and along Jericho Beach because we get the entire combination of amazing rainforest right within the city as well as the beaches with the amazing views of the mountain and city skyline.”

EJ’s Favourite Spot for Apres:The Galley, which is here at Jericho Beach, [is my pick] because right after kayaking you can continue watching the sunset on the patio. They have great nachos and the view of the skyline and the mountains is really nice.”

EJ’s Outdoor Advice for Beginners: “I feel have this responsibility to say ‘Be prepared and be safe’. But I also want to be very inclusive and say ‘Have fun, try it out, enjoy it and it will be fantastic no matter what you do in Vancouver in terms of outdoors.”

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