Here’s what you need to know about river surfing in and around Calgary

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 popular belief, you don’t have to live in or visit a coastal town to snag ten. Here in Calgary, all you need to surf this summer is a board, a bit of strength and (most importantly) the know-how!

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


First of all. You need to pack your bags – starting with a wetsuit!

Uncomfortable at first, a wetsuit will greatly increase the time you can spend in the water. You’ll also need gloves (if it’s colder), sunscreen, swimsuit, towel, life jacket, water shoes or boots, and a helmet .

Although you may think this will take the beach cut away from you, it is extremely important to protect your noggin from the many stones and pebbles in the water.

Finally (and most importantly) you will need a surfboard!


If you don’t already have a board in your garage, warehouse 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 you need to successfully surf in and around Calgary.

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

Harvie Passage in Calgary has two passages where those who know what they are doing can successfully board a board – although we recommend that beginners tackle the south and leave the northern channel to the experts.

For more information on flow and forecasts for this area, we recommend visiting the Alberta River Association website.

If, of course, you’re willing to drive a bit further out of town, you can also experience river surfing at Kananaskis.

Again, we recommend only trying this one if you’re well seasoned, The Mountain Wave is loved by pros (and spectators) across the province.


Although we want it to be a year round activity, river surfing can only be done when the ‘flow’ is right.

For up-to-date wave conditions, we 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 previous experience, you should consider sitting or going with someone who Is know what they are doing.

You can always watch the pros! There’s no shame in snacking and enjoying the show, folks!

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

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