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3 Winter Surfing Destinations Across Canada

Experience the delight of winter surfing at these top destinations

A person standing at the edge of a body of water wearing a black wetsuit and holding a surfboard. On the beach they're standing on, there is snow covering the sand, and in the background the sun is setting.

Courtesy of Mike Palmer

Antonio Lennert was destined for the sea. After a childhood spent surfing the beaches of his native Brazil, he moved to California, where he found a cool camaraderie with fellow surf enthusiasts. Even a move northward to Canada couldn’t keep him from the waves for long. 

Lennert co-founded Surf the Greats, a surf and coffee shop in Toronto that aims to cultivate community among surfers—experienced and beginner alike—and promote the joys of surfing on the Great Lakes and beyond. Canada certainly has an abundance of exciting surf spots and, perhaps best of all, many can be enjoyed year-round—even in winter. 

Here, Lennert shares his recommendations for the best winter-surfing spots across Canada.

Woodbine Beach

Lake Ontario, Toronto

“Situated along Lake Ontario’s shores, Woodbine Beach offers relatively smaller waves along its sandy bottom shoreline, making it a reliable location for winter surfing. And there’s a striking juxtaposition of Toronto’s skyline against the vast expanse of Lake Ontario.” 

Best for beginners: “The often-gentler wave patterns make it particularly suitable for beginners. Here, novice surfers can learn the ropes without being overwhelmed, and there are always other surfers around.” 

Visit nearby: “After a surf session, pop by our shop in Leslieville. Woodbine Beach offers one of Toronto’s most captivating sunrises.”

Cox Bay Beach

Tofino, Vancouver Island, B.C. 

“The area offers consistent swells, especially during the winter months. This Pacific Northwest paradise is an amalgamation of dense rainforests, rugged coastlines and misty shores. The mist hanging over the towering cedars as waves crash onto the rocky shores presents an ethereal winter wonderland for surfers.” 

Best for intermediate surfers: “The waves at Cox Bay Beach can go from very chill to powerful, depending on the swell, making it an ideal spot for intermediate surfers.” 

Visit nearby: “Check out Storm Surf Shop for all your local surfing needs. Post-surf, head to Tacofino for the best tacos in town and grab a pint at the Tofino Brewery.”

Lawrencetown Beach 

Nova Scotia 

“Lawrencetown Beach is exposed to the open Atlantic, ensuring powerful swells and challenging wave conditions, especially during hurricane season and the winter, when the North Atlantic storms roll in. The raw power of the Atlantic is palpable here, with the waves crashing against the rocks and creating a mesmerizing spectacle.” 

Best for advanced surfers: “The challenging wave conditions demand a certain level of expertise, making Lawrencetown Beach a haven for more advanced surfers.” 

Visit nearby: “After an unforgettable surf session, head to one of the quaint towns nearby for some classic Maritime hospitality. The picturesque landscapes surrounding the area, especially during sunrise, provide photographers with countless opportunities to capture Nova Scotia’s raw beauty.”

Ready to catch some waves?

Cold-water surfing requires proper equipment and instruction to ensure safety. Visit the blog at surfthegreats.org for videos and other content.

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