Surf the Greats
Surf the Greats aims to get Torontonians to do just that: surf on the Great Lakes.
A combination retail store, education centre, and coffee shop, surfing workshops and classes are run out of this space for everyone from beginners to seasoned surfers.
Located in a large industrial space, this mecca for everything surfing quickly goes from feeling like a store to your coolest friend’s loft, complete with a couch, books and a TV in a corner lounge-like area.
Boards are available to buy starting around $500 for “soft top” models, or rent starting around $65 for a day. They’re so focused on getting people into surfing here, if you decide to buy a board within 24 hours of using it they’ll deduct the rental cost from the price.
They also rent out wetsuits, starting at $40 for the day and booties and gloves for $10 day, as well as stand-up paddleboards starting at $45. They have paddleboard classes too in addition to their introductory surfing, local surfing and forecasting workshops and guided surf sessions.
There’s even a house surfboard shaper; small company Whit Surf is located right in the shop, so surfers can consult with a pro and get a custom board made.
Warm gear like coats ($160) and fleeces ($95.95) from the Quebec City company is absolutely necessary for Canadian surfing, especially on the Great Lakes where waves are all provided by windswell rather than tides, meaning winter months are actually best for surfing here.
Toques for around $39.95 from Surf the Greats’ own brand keep that noggin warm too, and there are also caps ($34.95).
Regular bathing suits hover around $30 - $60, offering something to wear under your wetsuit as well.
Vans (around $120 for new pairs) are part of a stock of brands popular with the deeply interconnected skate and surf communities.
In fact, Carver “surfskates” (around $300) are even designed to help surfers practice their technique on dry land.
Rareform duffels ($79.95) are actually handmade in California from repurposed billboard vinyl, making these accessories truly one-of-a-kind.
Lattes ($4.25) are made with beans provided by Brothers’ small batch coffee roasters, partially because they’re locally based in Oakville and partially because the roaster is a surfer himself, using surfing references to name roasts like Dawn Patrol and Endless Winter.
Centring around a sleek Victoria Arduino espresso machine, the cafe also serves light fare like acai bowls and smoothies (both $9).
Surf the Greats is out to prove lake surfing is possible with the right equipment, and advancing technology is making that more accessible all the time. It turns out that with a resource like this, Toronto and surfing might go together better than expected.