Surf in Montréal: How to catch a wave

Leisure activities Outdoor Pôle des Rapides Sport activities
Surfing Lachine Rapids - Saint-Lawrence river
Daniel Baylis

Daniel Baylis

First things first: yes, there is surfing in Montréal. You might be wondering, “How can an inland city have a legitimate surf scene?” While the city isn’t located oceanside, it is, actually, an island. Its surfable wave just happens to be in a river. So pack your wetsuit and join in.

Surfer on the river

Surfing the St. Lawrence

River surfing on standing waves was popularized in the early-1970s and has become a form of urban surfing in many cities across the world. While the technique is similar to ocean surfing, river surfing is its own unique skill – largely because the wave just doesn’t end. In Montréal, the rapids of the St. Lawrence River provide a couple of options for stationary surfing.


Catch a break with KSF

Founded in 1995, KSF offers a selection of river-based excursions, and surf lessons are one of the most popular activities. Participants start at the KSF office in Montréal’s LaSalle neighbourhood. Limited to six people per group, the day kicks off with an on-land review of safety and technique, and continues with a short practice in the St. Lawrence River.

When ready, you’ll walk a few minutes upstream to one of the first rapids: la vague à Guy (translation: Guy’s wave). The coach heads into the rapids and offers assistance to each student as you’ll take turns. The wave is stationary, so once you’re in the rapids, you can stay indefinitely – an ideal way to practice navigating a wave.

For the second part of the excursion, the group will head down river to a section of rapids behind the architectural landmark Habitat 67. You’ll encounter a slightly bigger wave here for a next-level challenge. But don’t worry, the KSF coach will be right there with you to give one-on-one assistance and provides all sorts of tips on technique.

Surfing Lachine Rapids - Saint-Lawrence river

Alt aquatic pursuits

KSF also offer stand-up paddleboarding, aka SUP. You can choose from a selection of excursions, including yoga classes on SUP boards. KSF also specializes in kayaking lessons and rentals (both white water or touring), plus they put on great team-building activities.

To try your hand (or foot) with a pedal-boat on the historic Lachine Canal, reach out to H2O Adventures.

WetSet MTL offers guided jet-ski tours that let you explore the beauty of Montréal from a whole new perspective.

For indoor surf options, Oasis Surf in Brossard offers a sportier version of “surf and turf” (indoor surfing with an onsite restaurant) and Maeva Surf in Laval offers “flowboarding.”


See you in the water!

Daniel Baylis

Daniel Baylis

Daniel Baylis is a writer, poet, and musician. Several years ago he moved to Montréal to chase silly bohemian dreams. And he’s still at it. 

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