There are long stretches of coastline on both the west and east coasts of Canada that house some world class waves.
That doesn’t mean those waves don’t come with obstacles because Canada's bitter winters are not to be messed around with.
If the ocean scares you remember that there are Great Lakes in Canada that can be surfed on the right day.
Regardless if it's freshwater or saltwater, you need to know the spots in Canada we’ll run through some of them.
What’s So Special About Surfing in Canada?
Waves in Canada
Canada has two different coastlines with some difference in waves.
Nova Scotia on the east coast is bitterly cold. Most of the time during the winter it truly is unsurfable because of low water temperatures.
Nova Scotia has quite a few point breaks that are legit rippable waves.
Then on the west coast in British Columbia the conditions are similar to those of the Pacific Northwest but still pretty cold. British Columbia is comprised of mostly beach breaks.
The Surf Culture in Canada
There aren’t many surfers who choose to take on the chilly waves across America’s northern border. In fact, there’s only about 2,000 surfers in the whole country.
So most people who are surfing up in Nova Scotia and British Columbia are surfers from the states that heard about a swell that is hitting Canada nicely.
However, Canada has its locals like any other place and Tofino is considered the capital of surfing in Canada.
Equipment Needed to Surf in Canada
Prepare for some cold temperatures. A 6/5 wetsuit with a hood is highly recommended and very thick booties, something in the 5-7 mm range. Gloves would also be very ideal. These will probably be the coldest temperatures you’ll ever face so wear all the cold water gear you can.
The Best Surf Spots in Canada
Long Beach, Tofino (British Columbia)
A little beach town on the west coast of Canada, Tofino has a variety of beach breaks to choose from and is considered Canada’s surfing capital.
One of those beaches is Long Beach which is one of Canada’s best surfing waves.
Long Beach has a couple of peaks but its best one is probably closest to Loveskin Rock which is a nice A-frame peak that can get pretty steep and fun on the right swell.
Tofino usually receives south and southwest swells the best.
Locals aren’t too bad but can get protective when the waves get big so approach it with respect.
Chesterman Beach, Tofino (British Columbia)
Also in Tofino, Chesterman Beach is a wave on the west coast of Canada that is pretty popular with locals.
It’s a much more powerful beach break and has a lot more to offer than the surrounding breaks. Its main peak can get really good and offers some steep and rippable walls.
It's best to surf here during fall when the south swells start to pick up and water isn’t unbearably cold.
Since this break is pretty popular with the local crowd at Tofino it has the potential to get pretty crowded but most days will be pretty light compared to anywhere in the US.
White Point (Nova Scotia)
On the east coast of Canada in Nova Scotia is a really popular surf spot known as White Point Beach. White Point is a great spot for people of all abilities and it usually catches east and northeast swells the best.
It's a long stretch of beach with multiple peaks to choose from but it's also in front of a resort so it has the potential to get a little crowded.
Since this wave is on the east coast of Canada it gets pretty unsurfable during the winter. Water temperatures are far too low so that usually means fall is the best time for waves.
Lawrencetown (Nova Scotia)
Also in Nova Scotia is Lawrencetown, a beach with a couple of pristine point breaks.
The point breaks here are a little inconsistent and only gets perfect 5 to 10 days out of the year.
When it does get perfect it is a sight for sore eyes. It’s an incredibly challenging wave to surf as it breaks really close to the rocks and gets super hollow.
There are two points but the left point is probably the better of the two.
Then the middle of the beach has a slow rolling beach break that’s better for beginners and longboarders.
The point breaks will be protected by locals on those really perfect days.
This might be the novelty wave of all novelty waves.
Surfing the Great Lakes is truly a special experience and it should definitely be on your surfing bucket list.
Canada can help you check it off. Lake Ontario is probably your best bet for catching surfable waves.
There are actually quite a few places to surf that are close to Toronto.
Obviously the waves aren’t great but with the right wind swell Lake Ontario can get surfable.
It usually needs the perfect storm in order for surfers to attempt to ride the slow lake waves.
Crowds and locals are no problem on Great Lakes so try and cross this spot off your bucket list.
What To Do In Canada When the Waves Are Flat
Canada is a great country and usually surfing isn't the main draw so there is plenty to do in the country when the waves are flat.
It’s worth checking out a couple of the big cities like Toronto or Montreal.
Toronto has a few sports teams that compete with American teams so it's a great opportunity to go to a basketball, baseball, or hockey game.
Then of course the skiing in Canada is also really good.
Sun Peaks Ski Resort in British Columbia is a great option if you’ve been surfing in Tofino.
A good opportunity to get some sightseeing is checking out the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls.
Surfing in Canada
It’s hard to encapsulate an entire country’s surfing in a couple of paragraphs but hopefully you understand Canada’s waves and culture a little better!