While some students might be spending their reading week battling the winter blues, the SAIT Surf Club is off ‘shootin’ the curl’ on the sandy beaches of Tofino.
The club, which was formed early this year, exists to promote the sport of surfing in Calgary and beyond.
Club president Ryan Morstad discovered his love of surfing six years ago and says that the Tofino, B.C. trip is the first one they have organized.
Morstad said that many Calgarians have never tried surfing, and the trip is a great way for people to experience it.
“We want to introduce people to the actual sport of surfing,” said Morstad.
“Our club’s motto is to facilitate access to the sport of surfing and river surfing. This is how we get people easily into it.”
Morstad said the club currently boasts 70 to 80 members, and includes surfers with all levels of experience, including some who have yet to even ride a surfboard.
The club has rented a hostel for reading week, and Morstad said that the trip will accommodate even the most inexperienced surfers.
“There will be a lesson on the first day and then hopefully everyone gets hooked,” said Morstad before the group departed for the West Coast.
“The beaches in Tofino are great because you can get whatever wave you want for your skill level.”
While Morstad rode his first surfboard years ago on the ocean, he said that he only discovered river surfing in Calgary a few years ago.
“It’s still super new, and there’s a small community of people who do it,” said Morstad.
River surfing has slowly been on the rise in Calgary, with many river surfers riding the popular wave below the Louise Bridge on 10th Street in Hillhurst-Sunnyside.
The wave has become a hub for river surfers, and while newcomers to the sport might find it intimidating, Morstad said the river surfing community is very welcoming towards newbies.
“Our focus with river surfing is no localism at all,” said Morstad.
“Everybody wants new people to come in and they want to learn your story and find out what got you into river surfing.”
These days, despite being landlocked, there are even ways to create waves while being hundreds of miles from the ocean.
Surf Anywhere is a company that builds waves for river surfers in Alberta and beyond.
One of the company’s most popular waves exists in Kananaskis, where an annual river surfing competition called “Slam the Kan” takes place each year.
The SAIT Surf Club works hard to create community outreach for the river surfing community, and strives to share the love of the sport with newcomers.
The club won $700 from SAIT’s recent Instagram contest, and will be donating its winnings towards building a new wave for Calgarians to enjoy.
Morstad said that they will also be focusing on offering surf lessons through the summer to newcomers who are interested in riding their first wave.
“When you get on that wave and you catch it, it’s just such a cool feeling,” said Morstad.
“It’s a great workout, super fun, and it’s got a great community.”
Everybody wants new people to come in and they want to learn your story and find out what got you into river surfing. – Ryan Morstad
For more information on joining the SAIT Surf Club and catching waves of your own, check out the club’s Facebook page.