Growing quickly, with many interested students coming to the first couple meets, the SAIT Surf Club has many knowledgeable surfers looking to expand the sport here in Calgary.
“We are running beginner events and getting people excited about surfing,” said Ryan Morstad, the founder of the SAIT club.
Morstad and his cousin, who founded a similar club at Mount Royal University, are working together to help anyone interested get started, with over 40 members in the SAIT group and 150 at MRU.
“We had 80 people show up for our first event,” said Morstad, excited by the participation and interest of his fellow students.
The main focus of the group is helping people learn and having an atmosphere of mentorship. You can come see what’s what in a safe environment with people who know the sport and can provide some gear and expertise.
“There are only about 50 core surfers right now, but we are looking to grow that at a sustainable rate,” said Morstad.
The current scene is primarily focused on the 10th Street wave, located below the Louise Crossing Bridge into downtown, as it is the best, if not the only, reliable break within city limits.
Morstad has been surfing for six years and spent a number of years in B.C. learning the craft. He now wants to bring the sport home to the Prairies.
Morstad mentioned that outside the city on the Kananaskis River there is a much better, but harder, wave that has the potential for some more impressive surfing with space to carve.
Two waves exist in Kananaskis, the smaller one near Canoe Meadows just off Highway 40. The other larger wave is located below the Kananaskis Country Visitor Centre.
“The Kananaskis centre wave was built by river surfers in Calgary,” said Morstad, speaking about how the local culture started and is primarily driven by the core group of dedicated surfers.
Surf Anywhere is a locally based group that grew out of this scene and really pushed the creation of the wave in Kananaskis and continues to look into the future of the sport.
A project in recent years saw the weir on the Bow River in the city changed to form a white-water playground for boaters and surfers alike.
However, the floods of 2013 wipied out much of this project. Reconstruction was necessary with a hopeful partial completion in 2017.
“We are hoping to get our waves in by 2020,” said Morstad.
Eager to get a group together by spring reading week, Morstad looks to not just have people stoked to river surf, but also help expose students to surfing on the coast somewhere like Tofino, B.C. for some world class surfing.