Never miss a swell

Sign up for our newsletter and get 200 nugs towards rewards as a member of our Wave Rider Tribe. Stay up to date about events, trips, promotions, and anything we only tell our loyal customers. We will never share your e-mail with anyone and promise to keep e-mails to a minimum.

No Thanks

I grew up in East York, right near Woodbine Beach. I have loved being in the water for as long as I can remember, splashing around my grandmother’s cottage on Lake Superior. Swimming is like being home; no matter where I am.

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Aly Ambler

About 2 years ago, I learned to surf on the west coast of Ireland (I was living in Dublin at the time). I instantly loved it and couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of trying it earlier. I continued to surf very often for those two years until I moved back to Toronto this spring. It was so great to be back, but there was just this one thing missing: SURFING.

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Aly Ambler

So I looked around, found some Facebook groups and then stumbled upon She Shreds!

What a great feeling it was to learn that there was just as vibrant (if a little less conspicuous) a surf community here waiting to be discovered right at my doorstep. This whole other world was just down the street from where I grew up!

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Aly Ambler

She Shreds opened with a lovely morning on Cherry Beach doing some gentle, friendly yoga with some other women who were either a part of or, like me, hoping to become a part of Toronto’s surf scene. The yoga was great, with lots of important joint work and even some fun partnering up to do some balance work, which was how I met my first new surf buddy of the weekend!

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Aly Ambler

After yoga, the main socializing began! The vibe was smiley and friendly and it was so great to meet some people and chat. There were people who surfed, people who mainly SUPed and people who had never done either, so it was really a great mix. We chatted over coffee and tea brought in by Brothers Coffee and then started in on the beach cleanup, which was another great opportunity to buddy up and have a good chat. 

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation Brothers Coffee by Aly Ambler

I hadn’t brought my wetsuit or a change of clothes with me because the other events were full, but it looked like there were going to be a couple no-shows, so next up, I raced home on my bicycle and picked up some stuff, then raced back just in time for some SUP yoga, which I’d never done before.

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Aly Ambler

Our instructor, Jenifer, was warm and genuine and really just set up the perfect happy calm for the class. Only having been on a paddleboard 3 times previously, I did better than I thought and really enjoyed it! I even managed to both lose and then rescue my anchoring weight during the course of the class (luckily, I did the class in a wetsuit!). We shared some dreams with one another at the end of the class at Jen’s encouragement and it was an all-around nice end to a great day at the beach!

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Aly Ambler

The next day’s She Shreds activities were at the Surf the Greats shop, to which I’d never been before. It started with a special ‘Animal Flow’ class that Surf the Greats founder Antonio has been developing. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it ended up being a really good class full of helpful strength and balance training, all perfect for surfing! I thoroughly enjoyed the class and Antonio was another sincere and welcoming instructor.

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Stella Grob

Smoothies and tea or coffee from the cafe was flowing throughout the day’s activities and just added to the coziness of relaxing in the shop. I stayed for both the wave forecasting and the board basics seminars, which were both just packed with such amazing and useful information, it was so fantastic!

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Stella Grob

We learned all about the different surf spots nearby, the amount of wind and fetch necessary for waves at those spots, along with where to find that info, and even got the low-down on the little bit of localism that may possibly be encountered at one of the spots. I’m someone who already knew something about wind and fetch and such, but the amount of information we got out of the workshop was really substantial. This seminar, specifically, really spoke to Antonio’s passion for nurturing the surf community here. It was some genuine and welcoming knowledge-sharing that was greatly appreciated.

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Jenn Dumaran

The last activity, a seminar given by the in-house Surf the Greats board shaper Haynes of Whit Surf was also pretty awesome! He was another person exuding passion for what he was doing and I was grateful for the opportunity to go into his studio, look at the board he was working on and even see a few blanks, which I’d never seen before. I’ve been told a lot of odds and ends about surfboards and how they work, but the info provided here was really concise and I feel like I learned a lot about board shaping and how it pertains to specific skills and conditions.

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Stella Grob

Overall, it was really great to be able to meet, chill and chat with this bunch of new people with such a fun thing in common. It really felt like a weekend of sharing and community, which I think was the goal, so good job, guys! All the organizers were so friendly and it was great to be able to ask them all questions as the weekend unfolded. The fact that the weekend was sponsored by MEC Outdoor Nation and Rip Curl didn’t hurt either; we all went home with some pretty sweet swag! It was a great event and the fact that it was geared toward getting more women on board (pun intended) was a welcome bonus!

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Stella Grob

I, for one, can’t wait to continue getting to know and surf with the Toronto surf community on our lovely Great Lakes and I’m sure I’ll see lots of the people I met at She Shreds again soon.

Maybe on the next wave!

She Shreds Surf the Greats Rip Curl MEC Outdoor Nation by Stella Grob

Words by community member and surfer Miranda Binsley.
Photographs by Aly Ambler, Stella Grob and Jenn Dumaran.

1 comment

  • She shreds was honestly the best! My story is similar to Miranda’s in the sense that I tried surfing somewhere else (Maui when I was 14, now 23), fell in love with it and felt like something was missing when I came home. I tried to get into the Toronto surf scene but was intimidated and not sure how to go about it so just settled for surfing on vacation maybe once a year if I was lucky.

    Last year I came across surf the greats on instagram and it changed my life, seriously. I dragged my boyfriend with me to the shop because again I was intimidated to try to get into great lake surfing again but Antonio and everyone at surf the greats are so welcoming and just want to share the stoke with everyone that is passionate about surfing, regardless of skill or experience. I took a surf lesson with them at Woodbine beach in August and it was unreal and I knew then that lake surfing was going to be a part of my life. Since then I’ve rented boards from STG for some great lakes waves and attended She Shreds – yoga, beach clean-up, intro to surfing and wave-forecasting. All were great but my all time favourite was wave-forecasting. Antonio took the time to explain in depth how to predict where and when there are going to be waves which is such a key thing to be able to do, especially on the lakes. I left feeling like I truly have a way better understanding of how to know where and when to go out and try to get some waves! On top of that, She Shreds was an amazing way to meet other like minded women who love the water and surfing, and live in the city. Thank-you STG for being an amazing company and hosting an awesome event.

    aloha,
    lauren :)

    lauren white

Leave a comment

This blog is moderated.