The Surf Grand Montreal association rallied dozens of surfers in Lachine yesterday August 24 to demand a new wave for river surfing in Montreal.
Surfers want waves to be created at Parc des Rapides de Lachine, at the tip of René-Lévesque Park.
River surfing has grown in popularity in recent years, but the existing waves, the wave at Habitat 67 and the wave at Guy in LaSalle, are no longer enough.
“It is no longer a marginal sport”, confident, during the event, a member of the board of directors of the Surf Greater Montreal association, Yuan Legault.
A sport victim of its own success
“We are a victim of our popularity on the wave at Guy,” said the director of the KSF surf club, Hugo Lavictoire.
For Chantal Cauchon, member of the Board of Directors of Surf Grand Montreal, “the enthusiasm for this sport in recent years has meant that the waves are very crowded”.
Indeed, more and more surfers of all ages and all levels are waiting their turn to ride the wave at Guy.
“Surfing is fashionable,” said the KSF director. But he also considers that the pandemic has contributed to the rise in popularity of river surfing in Montreal. “The pandemic accentuated surfing in Montreal because people were going less on trips, less in Maine, on the American coasts,” he added.
For the various organizations, Montreal must raise the bar in terms of facilities for river surfing. Moreover, river surfing tourism already exists. “We are already seeing people who come from elsewhere, from Ottawa, from Gatineau,” said Chantal Cauchon.
“I think Montreal has the potential to become a world capital of river surfing,” launched Hugo Lavictoire.
Lachine, a new home for surfing?
The Surf Grand Montréal association, which represents surfers, has the mission of promoting the practice of this sport in a safe manner, in particular by creating new waves in Montréal.
“I’ve been preaching for this for years and working with Eau vive Québec to eventually create new waves in the natural environment,” explained the director of KSF.
According to the director general of Eau vive Québec, Julie Crépeau-Boisvert, René-Lévesque park “has great potential”.
With the project to repair René-Levesque Park and the new riverside park, the vice-president of the association, Jérémie Gauthier-Lacasse, believes that “it would be a good timing to join forces” with the various authorities, in particular the Borough.
Present at the event, the Mayor of the Borough of Lachine, Maja Vodanovic, said she was ready to help the association to make this dream a reality. Ms. Vodanovic points out that “the water is increasingly good and safe” thanks to investments in water drainage infrastructure.