Albertans may not be able to lounge under a palm tree or build castles in the soft white sand – but we can catch a wave! Contrary to what many believe – you don’t need to live or visit a coastal town to hang ten. Here in Calgary, all that you need to surf this summer is a board, some core strength and (most importantly) the know-how!

Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s your complete guide to taking on the Bow or Kananaskis River.



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First things first. You need to pack your bags – starting with a wetsuit!

Uncomfortable at first, a wetsuit will greatly increase the amount of time that you’ll be able to spend in the water. You’ll also need gloves (if it’s colder), sunscreen, a bathing suit, towel, life jacket, water shoes or boots and a helmet.

While you might think this will take away from the beach-bum fit, it is incredibly important to save your noggin’ from the many stones and pebbles in the water.

Lastly (and most importantly) you’ll need a surfboard!



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If you don’t already have a board in your garage, storage unit or closet, you can rent or buy one in Calgary.

From SUPs, kayaks and more, Bow Valley Sup and Surf in Canmore has almost everything that you need to successfully surf in and around Calgary.

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In Alberta, there are two popular spots for those looking to river surf.

Harvie Passage in Calgary has two passages where those who know what they’re doing can successfully get up on a board – though we’d recommend that beginners take on the South and leave the North Channel to experts.

For more information about the flow and forecast of this area, we’d recommend heading over to the Alberta River Association website.

If, of course, you’re willing to drive a little further out of the city, you can also check out the river surf in Kananaskis.

While again, we’d recommend that you only attempt this one if you’re well seasoned, The Mountain Wave is beloved by pros (and onlookers) all over the province.



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Though we wish this was a year-round activity, river surfer can only be done when the ‘flow’ is right.

For up-to-date wave conditions, we’d recommend checking the Alberta River Surfing website here. 

One last thing – be very careful if you choose to go out. River surfing is not easy, and without prior experience, you should consider sitting this one out or going with someone who does know what they’re doing.

You can always just watch the pros! There’s no shame in grabbing some snacks and just enjoying the show, folks!

Catch us on the shore, with our cooler and a lawn chair. We’ll see you out there!