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Bowen Island Sea Kayaking: New Owners at the Helm

There will be some new faces - human and canine - in charge of the kayak shop when it opens next month
Kayak owners
Meet Nola, the new dog at Bowen Island Sea Kayaking. She is accompanied by incoming owners, Josie and Steve Mather and former owner Brent O’Malley (right).

Starting this week, Steve Mather and his wife Josie will be running the island’s busy kayak tour and rental shop on the Pier, which has been in operation since 1996.

After eight years at the helm, Brent O’Malley acknowledged that “running the shop has been one of the most satisfying endeavors I have undertaken.” Admitting that “it is with mixed emotions that I will be moving on,” he said that among the best things about owning the business since 2014 was providing jobs and mentoring to many Bowen youth.

Last year’s COVID advisories didn’t seem to deter tourists and student groups who were looking for a safe, outdoor adventure on the water. Surprisingly, BISK’s 2021 season was its most successful financially. According to O’Malley, BISK’s 25-years of success is in large part due to the strong foundation laid by his predecessor, Martin Clarke.

The Mathers are no strangers to Howe Sound having moved to Horseshoe Bay in 2011. Steve has been paddling the waters of Átl’ka7tsem, since he first arrived, as an antidote to his job in global banking. After a 30-year career behind a desk, Steve decided it was time to follow his dream of running his own business, doing something he loves. Josie has worked with children for many years and also has office management experience. She looks forward to helping with the marketing and administrative side of the business.

With two children who have graduated from Rockridge School, the whole family has friends on Bowen Island. They cannot wait to deepen their connections to the community.

And, while change is afoot, you can expect popular programs like Summer Kayak Camp and Full Moon Tours to continue. In fact, if you have an outstanding gift certificate, that’s a great excuse to come in and meet Steve and Josie in person.

As in years past, BISK’s season officially opens Saturday, April 2, 2022. Until then, the shop door may be locked but you can still book online at

Also, there will likely be a few openings for dock hands, a great first job for high school students who enjoy teamwork and being outside.

As for O’Malley, he will be around during the transition helping as a part-time instructor and guide. But there is also a summer holiday on his calendar, something he had almost forgotten existed.