Riding the waves in Ontario Parks
Four of the five Great Lakes border Ontario, one of Canada’s best places for kiteboarders, windsurfers and yes, even surfers. Popular “rider” places include many Ontario Parks especially in the fall when winds get stronger, the waves are bigger and the parks are a lot quieter. Here are a few favourites. Be sure to check with park authorities on where you can safely ride and remember, vehicle permits are required.
Sandbanks Provincial Park is considered one of Ontario’s best for wave riding in fall. This You Tube video shows why. Recently, Sandbanks added a new gate for Outlet beach to provide windsurfers and kitesurfers with easier access to the beach after the park officially closes for the season (Canadian Thanksgiving, the second Monday in October). The gate stays open until December. A walking path to Sandbanks beach has also been improved to provide better access to it post-Thanksgiving. Two types of roofed accommodation operated by the park stay open all year. Jacques Cottage has a 180 degree view of Lake Ontario and sleeps six comfortably. It comes with a fully equipped kitchen, satellite TV, wood fireplace, and gas barbecue. Bedding and towels are also supplied. Sandbanks’ beaches are close by and so is the park’s other roofed accommodation, a four-bedroom Victorian farmhouse known as the Maple Rest Heritage House .
People love to sit on shore and watch and photograph kiteboarders. Local resident Gary McPherson shared his photos with us of ‘riders’ at Presqu’ile Provincial Park . This Lake Ontario park is about 40 minutes west of Sandbanks. The first time McPherson saw a rider at Presqu’ile he was on his dock which is close to the park. Recognizing a good photo op, he grabbed his park pass and camera and headed over to Presqu’ile. These are a couple of his tips for photographing this extreme sport: “I set my camera at a high shutter speed to stop the motion. I set the ISO to my normal 400 or less for good picture quality and I use the aperture to control my light so I can use F8 or more for a good depth of field. The sun is behind me so it doesn’t wash out my picture or put the boarders in a shadow. Now my camera and its 100mm to 400mm lens are set to go.” The Canadian Kiteboarding Society has this to say about Presqu’ile. In 2015 new roofed accommodation will open for the first time in the park. Watch for details of it in a future Park Blog post.
We found this You Tube video of kiteboarders and windsurfers ‘skimming’ Rondeau Bay in late fall near Rondeau Provincial Park , south of Chatham, Ontario. Winds were a brisk 30-40 kilometres that day. This web site gives real time wind & weather for the Bay
Wave riding Lake Superior is the last frontier in Ontario. Huge swells and very cold waters require rider expertise along with thick wetsuits or dry suits. This YouTube video shows a couple of kiters exploring Lake Superior’s shoreline. . Riders talk about the Terrace Bay area on the north shore of Lake Superior. Numerous beaches are here. One of the nicest is in Neys Provincial Park . The park’s operating season is from mid-May to mid-September.