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October 13, 2009

Surf Montreal — Who knew?


"The mission of Surf Montreal is to make surfing more accessible... and to promote the Montreal surfing scene."

Excerpts from Jesse Huffman's July 10, 2009 New York Times story follow.


Behind the striking modular apartment complex known as Habitat 67, a crowd of surfers slipped into wet suits and waxed up their boards, 500 miles from the nearest ocean beach.

They were preparing to surf a standing river wave [above] in the St. Lawrence, where high-velocity water roars over a steep river-bottom depression, pitches back and upward, and creates a waist-to-overhead breaker. Surfers paddle into it or swing out by rope to catch the green-faced wedge, rewarded by a seemingly endless ride.

“Once you’re carving, it’s exactly the same feel as on an ocean wave,” said Chris Dutton, the founder of the Web site surfmtl.com, “except that instead of going straight down the line, you carve a little bit, flip around, carve back, and can go all day.”

Corran Addison, an Olympic kayaker and three-time world freestyle kayak champion, was the first to tackle the Habitat wave with a surfboard, in 2002. Mr. Addison’s river-surfing school, Imagine Surfboards, has taught 3,500 students since 2005, and has expanded to include a surf shop and board line. A second Montreal river-surfing school, KSF, has hosted 1,500 students a year since 2003. From fewer than 10 original surfers, Mr. Addison estimates the current participants to number around 500.

Modern river surfing on standing waves evolved on the Eisbach River in Germany in the mid-1970s. Tidal bores have been ridden for years on the Severn in England; in Bordeaux, France; and on the Amazon. New standing waves are being pioneered almost daily in rivers in places like Colorado, and in Ontario and Alberta in Canada.

October 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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You can surf in the middle of Munich too, though the river is rather narrower than the St. Lawrence.

Posted by: Graeme | Oct 14, 2009 12:36:22 AM

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