As the days get longer and the sun warmer, the snow and ice that has accumulated over the past couple of months turns into water and trickles down the watershed to fill the Ottawa River. When most of us see this as hope that warmer summer days are around the corner, our fellow paddlers and surfers closely watch water levels to make sure not to miss the perfect wave when it comes in. I, myself have been relentlessly checking the gauge and the wave, being way too excited to try the new SurfTech USA ThumbDrive 6’0″.

And there it was, enough water flowing downstream to make the wave stand up and to allow us all to surf the river. The thing about river surfing in Ottawa, is that spring is the best, and for the most part, the only time we get to surf. This means dealing with cold water, often sitting just above the freezing mark. It also means dodging ice flows coming down the river that can ding up your board, or even worse, yourself. Surfing in Ottawa seems to be only for the most dedicated of landlocked surfers. The frigid temperatures call for 5 or 6mm wetsuits, 8mm booties and the thickest neoprene mitts you can get your hands on, or into. On a morning session last week, Tracy decided to tag along to enjoy the fresh air of the morning and take some photos. We were lucky enough to get a beautiful sunrise with some fog so it looks like a fairy tale.

John Rathwell surfs the Ottawa River at sunrise. Photo: Tracy Guenard

John Rathwell surfs the Ottawa River at sunrise. Photo: Tracy Guenard

After you see that image, I think you will agree that Tracy’s photos do more justice to this blog than my words, so enough with the words, enjoy the photos!

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