Living in a place where the ocean is at least five to six hours away, surfing every day isn’t exactly easy. But it’s what we “inland surfers” are forced to endure. However, if you live in Montreal, where rivers and lakes are seemingly everywhere, you learn to improvise. This is the story of how I fell in love with river surfing.
Two years ago I was introduced to river surfing. I wanted to improve my surfing skills, but I didn’t quite understand the wave, how it moved, and the right moment to paddle. I was getting extremely frustrated, so I quit. Instead, I decided to take an alternate route. For two years I spent a hefty amount of time and money going back and forth to Costa Rica. It was pretty fun (obviously), but upon returning home I felt a deep void in my life. I missed Costa Rica. I missed surfing.
One day I decide to go back to a river named Vague à Guy. The wave is small, but pretty hard to catch. If you miss it, you need to get out of the water, walk back, and start again. So I decide to go three to four days a week during last spring and summer. I continued to work through the movements and be mindful of the things I could improve on. There was something profoundly different about surfing a river. For starters, it’s a never-ending wave. The wave provided me with the time and ability to really think about my surfing and what I needed to do to improve. Weight distribution, technique, equipment… these are all things that can perhaps be ignored at the mercy of the unpredictable, inconsistent nature of the ocean.
At the end of summer I started surfing with a guy named William Pichet. William brought me to another river wave name H67. At first I was really scared because the rapids and currents are very strong. To my surprise I made it the first time and continued to surf it with him every day. To make a long story short, William and I became a couple. He taught me so much about river surfing, currents, waves, and introduced me to his surfing friends. They taught me that hard work, perseverance, and a receiving a little help goes a long way when taking your surfing to the next level. Through William I met photographer Jeremy Lechatelier. Jeremy took some incredible photos last year at the wave called Habitat 67. His pictures are simply incredible and I thought it would be a sin not to share them.