Winter surfing anyone?

November 2017

Ah, the great surf beaches of the world…Bondi Beach, Bundoran, Malibu…Thunder Bay? Believe it, says local outdoorsman Will Gregorash.

“Surfing in Thunder Bay has been popular for years, it is probably one of the most unconventional sports in this area, where winter is actually the best time to get out. The colder and more miserable, the better. With a full body wetsuit, a board and a few friends you can be out on the lake in places like Terrace Bay and Grand Marais”, says Gregorash.

Chris Dube is a self-proclaimed ‘savage lover of the outdoors’ who got into surfing after he accepted a job teaching in Terrace Bay. “I heard rumours that the waves were great here. So naturally my first purchase was a surf set-up from Jaakko Natri who sells surf gear in the region. That was about a dozen years ago”.

According to Dube, lake surfing is very different from ocean surfing. “Everything from the time between waves and water density affect the way you surf and when you can actually catch waves. Not to mention water temperature and the wet suit you’re wearing. The technology is phenomenal – you’re toasty warm with gloves booties, hood and a suit. There are about four main surf areas in the area. The wind direction you should be looking for is a south, south-east or southwest with a wind speed of 25 km/h for at least 5 hours”, says Dube.

Conor McFarlane is also an avid local surfer who caught the bug for surfing from an ex-girlfriend. “I was quite skeptical at first but when I discovered you could do it here I was hooked. Depending on the weather forecast I now take spur of the moment drives on a chance of strong wind melts. The experience alone of taking that deep breath and going for the wave is honestly my biggest passion”, says Conor.

When describing this additional outdoor discovery, it makes Gregorash grateful to live here. “It’s important we enjoy what’s around us, and appreciate how truly beautiful this place is – now we have another reason to enjoy our great lake”.

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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