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Journal

Spend some time with us here to dig a little deeper into the stories that have led us to where we are today. Here you will find original content from ourselves and our contributors from the Great Lakes and beyond.

Catchin a Cold

Vans Canada and Surf the Greats are joining forces to celebrate the harshness and realness of winter surfing on the Great Lakes. Share your best freshwater winter surf photographs for a chance to win one of the five rad prizes we put together for the competition. How to enter Post your fresh water winter surfing and life­style photographs to Instagram. Must follow and tag @vanscanada and @surfthegreats and use the hashtag #catchinacold. Only photographs taken during the winter on the Great Lakes will be considered. All entries must be submitted by March 31st at 11:59PM EST. Winners will be announced on Friday, April 7th at 12PM EST. We ask that private accounts be made public during the giveaway in order...
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How to protect yourself from Surfer's Ears

When you surf you are at risk of ear infections, swimmer's ear, perforations from impact/ water pressure and cold water surfers are especially prone to surfer's ear.
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Migration Surfboards Interview

Our brand ambassador Andrew Jowett caught up with lake surfer and shaper Tim Folkert from Migration Surf in West Michigan to find out more about their work and passion for surfing. They have been hand shaping surfboards for the Great Lakes and spreading the stoke for the past few years. Read the full interview below and check out their stunning surfboards.
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How To Surf Through Winter Without Freezing To Death?

Lake surfing most months of the year is more or less a simple process: show up, paddle out, surf till you can’t anymore, then call it a day. Winter surfing, on the other hand, is less of an automated practice and can be daunting even to the most hardened veteran. Here are a few tips from the Surf the Greats team to help you stay stoked and to keep all movement in your extremities when it’s below zero and pumping. PROTECT THE MONEY! Often a phrase used by our surf instructors when referring to protecting your head when realigning after a wipeout, this time in a new context. The winter winds can be harsh on the skin and so can the...
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Who Wants to Play Net?

As a Canadian kid growing up playing street hockey, I can clearly remember this tricky moment. playing street hockey growing up. All the kids from the neighbourhood had gathered ready to play, but there was one issue to be settled. It seemed nobody ever wanted to play goalie . . . except for the guy that did. A collective sigh of relief could be heard, and all was right in the world again. Goalies are a bit different than other hockey players. They train and think differently, they use special equipment, and see the game from a unique perspective. Not everybody wants to be a goalie, and not everyone should. There are a select few individuals for whom standing between...
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Help 4 Jaco

November 2015 was an awesome month for me. I traveled to Costa Rica to take a surf instructor course and a lifeguard course, plus travel, wander, and take pictures. The courses were taught on Jacó beach - a fun and busy four-kilometer stretch of beach located on the pacific side of Costa Rica. The lifeguard course was remarkable, difficult, rewarding, and informative all in one. It was a five-day, 40-hour intensive schedule of learning life-saving procedures. Marvin Perez is the head instructor of the course and one of the local lifeguards on Jacó Beach. Marvin, alongside friends and certified watermen Kali Artavia Ureña and Jair Perez Quiros, delivered a tough and educational course. Their love for the ocean and passion...
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A Thursday for the books

Hey y’all, this past Thursday (Oct, 27) was special. Most days out on the lakes are special. But this was reaaally special. You dig? The day began bright (dark) and early at Marie Curtis Park in Mississauga, where our crew met up with a couple of repeat students and a newcomer on the lakes, who had some surfing under her belt in the past and was looking for an entry point to the lakes. The wind was howling strong East all through the night and continued with full gale force that morning. We are talking buckets thrown on the pier. After a quick recon mission we settled on the venue for that morning's lessons and class was in session. Starting with...
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Costa Rican goes on cold freshwater surf trip to Canada

This is Manuel Cespedes, our friend and surf instructor and owner of Young Vision Surf School in Montezuma, Costa Rica. He gave up a few weeks at home in a hot tropical climate to come and try surfing the Great Lakes in Ontario, Canada. He has never put on a wetsuit, let alone surfed in the current Ontario fall temperatures; water - 12°C (53°F); air - 5°C (41°F). He is super stoked and a little nervous, mostly about the cold factor and freshwater's lower density. No extra bounce here. Before the paddle out, Manuel learns to suss out the conditions of high winds and sporadic lake waves with a supportive group of friends, and avid Great Lake surfers. To us, it's a pretty nice day...
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Learn to surf on the Great Lakes

Would you rather enjoy autumn’s fiery foliage driving by in the comfort of your car or from the shoreline of Lake Erie while surfing? At Surf the Greats it’s a no brainer. Sunday funday we were out on Lake Erie passing the torch of stoke to six eager adventurers. In amazing conditions for teaching, a small group of us went through the core fundamentals of surfing including safety, surf stance, the pop up and how to paddle. In beginner lessons the amount of new information to process can be overwhelming but our stoked six pack were attentive at every point and demonstrated that in the water. Highlights of the day were seeing everyone safely paddling into their own waves and returning...
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Surf Lessons in Toronto Surf City

Toronto surf city was in full effect Friday September 30 and what better way to kick off the weekend then learning to surf right in town. In a week where hockey baseball and politics scattered the media headlines, I was lucky enough to coach five stoked adventurers how to surf, with Antonio and the Surf the Greats crew.  Conditions were great for learning and I was pumped to teach with Surf the Greats for the first time. Our guests were bright eyed and at full attention as Antonio and I went through some theory on land, safety procedures and practiced our surfing stance. Once the basics were covered we headed to the water to to get a feel for what...
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