In Memory of Jim Mossman, One of the Balmy Beach Greats
Excerpt from 2001 Balmy Beach Canoe Club Regatta Program, written by Russ Dunn:
On June 2, 2001, Jim turned 80. Happy birthday Jim.
65 of those years have been with Balmy Beach. Jim joined the Club in 1963 and was a keen competitor until 1941 at which time the RCAF took him to England where he served as a Flying Officer in Bomber Command. After the War, Jim returned to paddling not as an active competitor but as the Club's Head Coach, a position he held for the next 26 years. In 1945 he piloted the Senior Crew to a second place finish and in 1947 to its first win in the Mile since 1973. In that crew there was a nucleus that would hold the crew together for first place finishes the next five year with 2 One Mile and 5 Half Mile Championships.
As happens every year, a few veterans hang up their paddles and replacements have to be found. In 1951 Beach won everything, including the coveted burgee for the first time since 1929 and most of the crew felt that they had had enough. The next two years with a fairly green crew, Beach was second and in 1954 the crew felt that it was going places. It was a perfect combination of young strong newcomers, a few seasoned veterans and a coxswain who knew the shortest way to the finish line. For the next four years, Beach dominated the Senior crew events, winning both the Mile and the ½ Mile and in 1955 Beach won the Burgee again. Jim's last big win was in the Junior War Canoe in 1962 where his crew set a record that stood for more than 25 years.
Jim's efforts and success as a coach earned him the position of Olympic Coach for the Canadian Canoe/Kayak team for the '60 (Rome), '64 (Tokyo), '68 (Mexico) and as Assistant Coach for the '72 (Munich) and '76 (Montreal) games. He was recipient of the prestiges R. Edgar Gilbert Award as Coach (The Canadian Canoe Associations highest Award.) The first Director General of Canoe Canada with offices in Ottawa; a Founding Director of the Coaching Association of Canada; a member of the CNE Sports Committee; a member of COJO coordinating Committee for Olympic Canoeing and a member of International symposium on the Art & Science of Coaching.
This certainly looked like a very busy and fulfilling life for anyone, especially when you consider that Jim had a job at Imperial Oil, served as a Commodore of the Club (1954 - 1957) was married, helping wife Wilma raise their son Gary and daughter Susan with a large house to maintain.
Just when he thought he had enough, now retired, enjoying his sailboat at Bluffers Park, going to regatta's and just loading around, he got a call from Bill Collins. They needed help running the Canoe/Kayak part of the First World Masters Games that were to be held in Toronto in 1985? Sure. Why not? Well Bill was busy and didn't really have the time so Jim called on Ken Lane to act as Treasurer and the two of them went to work. They not only ran one of the most successful venues of the games but also actually came out ahead with money in the bank. This paved the way for the present Canadian Masters Championships (CanMas) that great from 96 paddlers in the first Championships in '86 to over 500 last years. He was call upon to be Commodore again in 90-91. Again Happy Birthday Jim.
Jim was a true legend in the Canoe Kayak Community, who dedicated over 60 years to the sport.
Jim Mossman was Head Coach of Balmy Beach Canoe Club for over 25 years. Jim was selected to coach Canada’s National Canoe Team at the 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympics.
Jim was also once BBCC's war canoe coxswain and Commodore at Beach, founding director of the Coaching Association of Canada, Technical Coordinator of CCA, organizer of the first World Masters Games, and recipient in 1983 of the R. Edgar Gilbert Award Coach Category.
May the memories and stories of Jim Mossman at the club live on forever. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.