Surfing and kitesurfing in and around Toronto is more popular than you might think. In fact, it's easier than ever to achieve the surfer lifestyle close to home. Boasting a wide variety of options for both surfing and kitesurfing, Toronto is the perfect place to hang loose, build your bod, and go with the (tidal) flow.
Here is my list of the top places to get gear, lessons, and to surf in Toronto.
In the business of boarding since 1971, Boardsports offers a wide selection of products for all of your surfing and kitesurfing needs. Prefer to surf at your own pace? The store boasts a variety of accessories for stand-up-paddleboarding (SUP-ing), including boards, leashes, fins, and bags. They also host weekly product demos, allowing you to test before you buy.
With plenty of surfboards, kiteboards, wetsuits, and accessories to choose from, this Thornhill establishment has everything a savvy surfer needs for success in the water - minus actual wind or waves, of course.
Surfdreams Canada Offering a diverse selection of surfboards, skateboards, SUP-boards, and accessories, Surfdreams Canada is a one-stop shop for the all-season surfer. With wetsuits warm enough to withstand even the chilliest temperatures, you're guaranteed a good time year round. As a bonus, Surfdreams also provides repair services.
Jack n Jills Surfshop Carrying a variety of surfing and kitesurfing boards and accessories, Jack n Jills' Sauble Beach location provides almost immediate access to the wind and waves. The staff are surf enthusiasts themselves, providing valuable insight to help select the right product to fit your specific needs and skill level.
The Canadian Kitesurfing Society
A sort of ground-zero for kite surfing and snowkiting in the region, the Canadian Kite Surfing Society provides forecasts of kitesurfing conditions all over Ontario and Quebec. With lesson locations at Cherry Beach, Woodbine, Wasaga, Sauble, Long Point, and more, the Society boasts a well-connected network of kiters eager to expand the sport. Membership is an advantageous way to score expert advice, deals on gear, and discounted lessons, which start at $249 and are available for any skill level.
Toronto Kite Club
Specializing in safe and professional kitesurfing lessons for both beginners and advanced water sport enthusiasts, the Toronto Kite Club focuses on providing quality instruction and great gear. The Club represents several professional kiting brands, and offers lessons in Toronto (the Island, Woodbine Beach, and Bluffer's Park), Wasaga, Sauble, and Lake Simcoe.
Surf Ontario Surf Shop
Earning the title of best surf coach in the province, Surf Ontario's founder, Mike Sandusky, has truly brought the experience of ocean surfing to Ontario's Great Lakes. Offering lessons (starting at $89) in Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie, Surf Ontario is a testament to the fact that you don't need an ocean to ride great waves. Their online booking procedure also ensures that you'll get the best conditions for your lesson - just make sure you check your email 24 hours prior.
Always wanted the surfer bod, but don't like the feel of a wetsuit? Dying for gnarly abs, minus the gnarly waves? If this is you, Surfset Toronto is your salvation. Offering a surfer-inspired workout to maximize total body fitness and core strength, Surfset promises to deliver lean, muscular results that draw from the real movements of surfing, without the water. Working on land-locked surfboards, lessons start at $22 for a drop-in - no bathing suit required.
Great Lake Surfers
Welcoming surf-enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels, Great Lake Surfers operates out of the Bruce Peninsula, with surfing locations at Sauble Beach and Owen Sound. Offering lessons in stand up paddleboarding (SUP), windsurfing, and surfing in its purest form, "the family" at Great Lake Surfers offers expert advice, friendly service, and the chance to experience life in nature's very own fast lane.
Toronto Windsurfing Club
Offering lessons for both adults and children, the Toronto Windsurfing Club helps students develop their skills while meeting new people. Instruction is provided at three skill levels (Beginner, Next Step, and Skill Builder), and run from June to September on weekends and weekday evenings.
Cherry Beach, Lake Ontario
This Toronto hotspot also happens to be an ideal location for intermediate and advanced kiters. However, its proximity to the city and shallow water entry also makes Cherry Beach a great place for would-be kitesurfers seeking lessons.
Long Point, Lake Erie
Boasting a consistent surf and exposed beach break, Long Point is an excellent location for both intermediate surfers and those looking to develop their skill with lessons. At just over 3 hours from the city, Long Point is the perfect place for a weekend getaway.
Sauble Beach, Lake Huron
Known for its Caribbean-clear water, Sauble Beach is a bit of a hike from the city, especially on summer weekends when traffic gets heavy. However, with some planning and foresight, you'll be rewarded with a long stretch of surf-able waves, enough wind to pick up a kite, and three great spots to start: Main Beach, The Lookout, and Grove's Point. Watch out for riptides and vicious crosswinds - this beach is best suited for intermediates or lesson-takers.
Wasaga Beach, Georgian Bay
This popular summer destination is perfect for beginner surfers and kiters looking to improve their skills, take a lesson, and have fun in the sun while keeping (relatively) close to the city.
What did I miss? Add more surfing and kitesurfing tips to the comments. Photo by Simon Carr in the blogTO Flickr pool.
by Simone Garcia via blogTO