Did you even know surfing was possible in Canada? Or did you think like most that Canada is a winter wonderland or a Siberian plain? Canada actually has the climate for many sports. Let’s talk about those 4 months of summer that we have from June to September; the climate is hot from east to west in the Canadian Provinces. There are many water sports you can try, and yes, you can surf!
What is actually worth talking about, since fewer people know about it, is river, rapid or lake surfing. Maybe river surfing sounds odd to you so let’s picture it out. If your river has strong currents, with a large volume of water flowing over its rocks then there will be a continuous wave. That means you surf without actually going anywhere as the water flows underneath you and you remain in the same position. It is completely different than ocean surfing. Instead of a slow catch of the wave, you get in the middle of a half-pipe and you stay there. Most of the time, epoxy boards or foam boards are recommended over fibreglass as they are generally tougher and won’t get damaged so fast.
East Coast Surfing
The most eastern side of the province of Quebe, plunges right ino the Atlantic Ocean and offers some small to medium waves. Try Newport or Gaspesie in Quebec for the best surfing in the eastern provinces. If the waves are not as big as you wish, go for KiteSurfing, it adds speed and challenge! All the Maritime Provinces are bordered by the ocean and there are a lot of great surf spot you can find. Nova Scotia has a couple good of spots aswell. From what my knowledge, the waves are not continuous in Nova Scotia but they do come quite big at sometimes. But remember not to have high expectations; it’s not Hawaii or J-Bay!
There is one famous river surfing spot in Montréal that is worth trying: Habitat 67 is famous for new surfers that want to learn as well as for intrepid white water kayakers! I am sure there are, or will be, many more spots like that in Quebec.
What about lake surfing now? On the north shore of Lake Ontario, waves can big surprisingly big! Depending on the weather, they can reach 10 to 12ft. Not bad at all for a lake? Wet suits are recommended. I am sure there are other lakes where you can lake surf but Lake Ontario is the most famous on the east coast.
West Coast Surfing: World Class Surf
If you ever heard of surfing in Canada before now, it has to be because of Tofino. Located on Vancouver Island, this little surfer town is magical. There are many spots over the 35km surfable coastline for all levels of surfing. Wetsuit & booties are highly recommended all year round. I was there in July and still the ocean water was cold. In Tofino you will find a lot of surf schools and surf camps you can sign up for. Don’t forget to look around, go visit the First Nations’s places, go have a drink at Nanaimo Bar or a sweet treat in Nanaimo and go for a walk in the Canadian Rain Forest
The last but not the least Kananaskis County rapid surfing! Located in Alberta, near Calgary, The Green Tongue and Santa Claus are 2 big surf spots along the Kananaskis River’s flow. It is very important here to have a good wetsuit. Alberta’s river flow comes mostly from the glacier so, needless to say that the water is very cold! Also booties are recommended, ideally with rubber soles so you get a good grip on the rocks. Gloves and a hood are highly recommended as well. For safety if it is your first time get a hard helmet! The proper equipment will allow you to stay in the water longer and prevent freezing. After your ride, you can count on Alberta’s hot sun to warm you up!
Surf up your life!