River Surfers Sébastien Chartrand

Published on January 9th, 2016 | by PhilB

Photo by Sébastien Chartrand |  0

Women in River Surfing: Annie Carrier, Montreal (Québec)

Annie is a sponsored Montreal local who really knows how to celebrate the positive spirit that makes river surfing so special. Last summer, she invited more than 15 of her girlfriends to river surf with her for the first time. Read how the girls liked it, learn how Annie started river surfing at the tender age of 12 and find out what she has to say about the surf community in Montreal.

Full name: Annie Carrier
Age: 26
Years river surfing: 2 years
Homebreak: Montréal
Favourite board: My 5’6 Alanie model from Boréal Surfboards
Favourite trick: roundhouse cutback
Sponsors: Boréal Surfboards, June Swimwear, Rip Curl, Kiteforce, Best Kiteboarding

So you’re from Montreal Annie … there is a really vibrant surf community at the St. Lawrence River and most of the surfers are men, right? Are you one of the few women surfing in Montreal?

I mean there are more men than women in the water but I’m “fighting” against that movement. I’ve taken at least 15 of my girlfriends this summer in the river for the first time. I’m also seeing more girls taking lessons and I am really proud of that. But the boys are super nice to us, they don’t see us as women, they see us as surfers and that’s my goal too.

Are there other girls that you’ve been surfing with consistently? Who are your favourite female river surf-buddies?

My best friend, Audrey Frégeau. We learned together last year and we just can’t get enough now. The second we are out of work, we are in the river. We sometimes go surfing before dinner with friends or before meetings. We always try to make room on weekends for the river. It’s funny because I traveled with Audrey to many cool places to surf in the ocean. We got back to Montréal and we were like: let’s go surfing in the river. We couldn’t figure out how to surf in there and it was really frustrating because we knew how to surf in the ocean. So we encouraged each other and at the same time, we caught the wave and surfed it like never before. It was the best moment. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle; once you have figure it out it’s priceless.

Photo: Sébastien Chartrand

Which waves do you surf in Montreal and which one is your favourite wave?

I surf the wave in the St Lawrence river behind Habitat 67. It’s awesome when it becomes all green. It’s sometimes all foamy but I still surf it anyway because I like to paddle out and get wet. The community is also super friendly and fun to hang out with.

Is “Shore Wave” still on, or is the wave gone at the moment?

Unfortunately Shore Wave at Habitat 67 is dead ☹ It happened last winter. We don’t really know what happened but it doesn’t break like it used to. At the moment, the wave is not surfable at all.

What is the surf culture at your home break in Montreal?

The community in Montréal is super tight and friendly. I’ve brought out a lot of girls this summer and everyone wants to help. Everyone is happy to have new surfers in the community. We saw how tight our community was when the city of Montréal wanted to dump raw sewage. There are also private groups on Facebook that are made for organizing surf trips, wave report (we post ONLY when the wave is bad) :P, sell stuff, etc.

Photo: Sébastien Chartrand

What was the reaction of the local river surfing community on the city’s plan to dump raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River?

We were outraged. We couldn’t believe that it was the only solution in 2015. We decided to do petitions, organise a paddle out.

Think of the first time you went river surfing … How did you get into it?

I first went river surfing when I was about 12 years old. I was into my “Blue Crush” mode and begged my dad to bring me to the river. We didn’t really know what we were getting into. I had a surfboard that wasn’t appropriate at all. I bought it online and it was a gun from Hawaii. My dad also told me to wear my bike helmet in case something happened. I asked few surfers how to get to the wave. Turns out I took the wrong current and I was going “offshore”. I ended up crying because I could see everyone at the shore yelling me things and doing signs and I didn’t know what to do. I took a long break after that horrible session and went back 12 years later!

 What’s your advice for other women who want to give river surfing a try?

Don’t be scared. It looks more intimidating than it actually is. It’s also really important to take lessons before going on your own. Or go with someone you really trust if you have been surfing before. It also helps if you work out your upper body. It can get tiring for someone who is not used to paddling.

Photo: Sébastien Chartrand

What makes river surfing so special for you?

What makes it so special is that I can go to work during the day and go surfing at night, in the city. I’ve always been used to choose surfing or working because the closest surf spot from Montréal is 5 hours away. I could never do both in one day and I thought it was super hard to choose. Now that I have discovered river surfing, I can enjoy having both in one day and that makes me so happy. I can also enjoy it with all my friends from the city. It’s like all my life I had to choose between working, having my family/friends around or head to the USA to get my surf fix.

Tell us about one of your river surfing highlights

One of the highlights I have in mind was a sunset party wave with 2 of my best friends. We just couldn’t stop laughing. We couldn’t even stand up because it was too funny. I am also super proud of one article I did about river surfing with my buddy Pascale Marcotte for the magazine Elle.

Have you been surfing river waves outside Montreal too? If so, what was your best river surf tip you ever did?

Nope! I usually travel to surf in the ocean.

Have you won any contests that you’re really proud of? Tell us about them!

I have never done a river surf contest but if I hear of one in Montréal, I’m more than keen to participate!

Photo: Sébastien Chartrand

 What are some of your “high hopes” for the future of river surfing?

I really hope that our water in Montréal stays “clean” (it could be much more cleaner). I also hope that more and more ladies will get into the sport. I love it when we are more girls than boys at the wave. Makes me feel proud of us!

Besides river surfing, what hobbies do you find the most pleasure in? 

Surfing of course! I also really enjoy kiteboarding, skateboarding, karate, snowboarding, skiing. Any sport that sleds haha!

3 people who inspire you the most?

Ronda Rousey for her determination and focus; Lakey Peterson for her perseverance and talent; My boyfriend/coach/shaper for his patience and perfectionism.

Anything else you want to pass on to our readers?

Show me the river waves you surf and I’ll show you ours!! ☺ I want to live the search.

Fill in the blanks

  • I’ve always wanted to ___ surf everyday.
  • You’re not really a river surfer unless ___ you don’t get sick because of the cleanliness of the water! Hahaha
  • My favourite river surf buddies are ___ Audrey Frégeau, Pascale Marcotte and my brother, Benoît Carrier.
  • Happiness is ___ surfing. I know it’s cheesy but it’s true!

Thank you Annie for your time and keep spreading positive vibes in Montreal!

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Phil is a passionate riversurfer based in the capital of urban hydro power, Graz / Austria. He graduated from the International University for Riversurfing (IUR) in 2008 before he got married (to PhilK) in 2009. Instead of children, they gave birth to the probably most awesome riversurfing magazine on the planet: Riverbreak.

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