Bert Hopkins was a life member of the NSW Canoe Association and, along with his wife, Gwen, was a long time member of River Canoe Club, having joined at the time of its formation by Paddy Pallin in 1935. Bert was active in assisting Scout groups to build canoes and kayaks and began assisting Lilli Pilli Scout Group which went on to form Lilli Pilli Kayak Club. Bert helped with the affiliation of Lilli Pilli with the NSW Canoe Association in 1967/68, helped with the training of paddlers and worked for the club as publicity officer and as race starter and timer until his death in 1977.
The rock that forms the trophy was donated to the Hopkins family by life members of River Canoe Club who were bushwalkers and rock collectors. The Hopkins family approached the Club with a wish of establishing an annual trophy race. At that time the last race on the Club’s winter race series was run over 25km, going from Swallow Rock to the net, South West Arm and back to the net before finishing at Swallow Rock. This race, which was run in early October, was used by club members as a training run for the then premier distance race, the NSWCA Long Distance Race run over 25km at Penrith in early November. The Club committee decided that the Club’s last race of the year would be an appropriate one to become the Bert Hopkins Trophy race.