River surfing in the Rocky Mountains of Canada is possible and incredible!
The Alberta River Surf Association tirelessly raised money and hand built the Mountain Wave in the Kananaskis River for public enjoyment. Become a member of the association and keep in the loop for new waves, how to donate and all things that are happening in the river surf community. https://albertariversurfing.com
So, how do you get started?
Unfortunately there is no one permitted or qualified to offer instruction on surf boards in Alberta. With that being said, any surfer at the Mountain Wave would be more than happy to show newbies the ropes. Go out with a positive attitude, smile, ask questions and have fun.
Rental surf boards and wetsuits that are perfect for surfing on the Mountain Wave are available for pickup at our shop in Canmore. https://www.bowvalleysup.ca/rentals
The Mountain Wave on the Kananaskis River is the most accessible place to surf in the area and totally free! However, we do encourage you to become an Alberta River Surf Association member to support building of more waves and community events. https://albertariversurfing.com. The 10th Street wave in Calgary is another great beginner spot.
Safety and Etiquette
The Mountain Wave is a great place to learn to surf but does have it’s fair share of challenges and hazards. Please ask other surfers the hazards and surf etiquette before attempting to surf at the Mountain Wave. Please read about safety and etiquette here: https://albertariversurfing.com/safety
Having proper equipment is the most important aspect of getting started. You can expect to pay between $600-$1200 for equipment to get into the sport. After you make the investment on gear, surfing is free! Buy gear that will last, provide warmth and make you comforatable. It goes a long way in your overall experience and enjoyment. Make sure you check off all of the following to ensure a safe, fun and enjoyable outing on the wave.
Helmet- the Mountain Wave is shallow and has many rocks below the surface. We recommend a helmet for everyone while surfing on the Mountain Wave.
Surf board- we recommend a high volume board to start. The 5’7” Softech Flash https://supsurfshop.ca/collections/river-surf-boards/products/softech-flash-5-7 is the board we recommend to all beginners. The more float and volume, the better the chance of you getting up and surfing. After progressing, you will want a speedier board that turns and maneuvers quickly. Libtech make some of the toughest, and most progressive boards on the market. https://supsurfshop.ca/collections/river-surf-boards/products/copy-of-libtech-puddle-jumper-53
Wax- keeps your grip on the board while surfing. Use a cold water wax for the best traction.
Fins- Like the tires on your car, fins provide traction, control and stability. A three fin setup is ideal for the river. It is best to start with a flexible fin in the river as the likelihood of hitting bottom and rocks is high.
Booties- should be worn to not only keep your feet warm, but to protect against rocks and walking on the river bottom. https://supsurfshop.ca/collections/surf-accessories-1/products/solite-5mm-custom-pro-2-0
Gloves- keep your hands toasty while surfing. They also protect you hands from hitting rocks and cuts. https://supsurfshop.ca/collections/surf-accessories-1/products/solite-3-2-gauntlet-glove
PFD- a tight fitting PFD should be worn to help with buoyancy and flotation.
Wetsuit- Generally, a 5mm wetsuit is sufficient to keep warm and protected from the frigid waters. XCEL makes some of the best suits available. https://supsurfshop.ca/collections/featured-collection/products/mens-xcel-drylock-hooded-5-4mm-fullsuit
Always feel free to shoot us a text at 403-707-7202 for more info or email at firstname.lastname@example.org