Surfing in the Kananaskis River was made possible by the tireless efforts of the Alberta River Surfing Association. The members of the association raised money through various fundraising efforts and after many long years were granted government approval to build the Mountain Wave in the Kananaskis River.
The Mountain Wave is all inclusive with a strong community and support of the Alberta Government. You won’t find many egos, or negative vibes on the wave. However, respect for the environment, safety and etiquette should all be considered before surfing the wave. Hit us up at Bow Valley Surf for all the information you need before you head out.
- always look up river for rafts, kayaks, canoes and other river users before advancing into the wave
- surfers should take turns between surfers left and surfers right. Generally a head nod or eye contact is made with the surfers on opposite side of the wave to acknowledge who goes next.
- be fully suited up for the conditions. We recommend 5/4mm wetsuit, gloves and booties all year long to ensure proper protection from the cold water.
- never wear a leash! This is a point of contention within the community. We recommend no leashes as they can become entangled with rocks. If rock entanglement with a leash does occur, there is a serious potential for drowning as it is very difficult to release an entangled leash. The risk is not worth it, in our opinion.
- always fall flat in the deepest part of the wave. Behind the Mountain Wave is a very shallow, rocky section that can be easily avoided by falling flat, in the deep section of the wave. Never land feet first as entanglement, sprains, etc could occur.
- Respect the environment. Pack out what your bring in to the wave, clean up after your self and leave the area better than how you arrived.
- Bring a smile and willingness to learn. If you respect the surfers and the area, you will be respected in return.
- Surfing the river is difficult and intimidating to start so you want to set yourself up for success. A high volume board that will provide ample stability is the first thing your going to need. We recommend a foam top board as they can handle the abuse that a river will throw at it. A top quality warm wetsuit with booties and gloves will provide the comfort to allow you to stay in the water longer.
- 10th street wave in YYC is a great place to start. The wave is mellow, the locals are willing to help and there are few rocks that can damage your board and body.
Advancing your skills
- When you're standing, doing some turns and ready to take your skills to the next level, you will probably want to check out a more aggressive wave. The Kananaskis is home to the Mountain Wave. This wave is steep, fast and aggressive. But totally shreddable! The wave was built by The Alberta River Surfing Association and is maintained by locals and the community.
- Epoxy/Fiberglas board. You will likely be tired of your big, foam board and will want to get onto a board that will provide speed, manoeuvrability, and agility. Libtech makes some of the toughest boards out there with great shapes and sizes. Local surfers Jason Macquade, of Waveslayer Surfboards, and Tristan Gaudet, of Tag Surfboards, make some top quality handmade decks as well.
- always feel free to call or text us at: 403-707-7202 and we will be happy to chat and pass on our knowledge of the river. Ask for Brandon. Stoked and happy shredding!