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FROM 32°F to 32°C 

Since 2006

Females SURFing THE LOWER GREAT LAKES

 

Lake Surfistas is a Canadian grassroots movement that aspires to bring together women of all abilities to celebrate Surf and Standup Paddleboarding (SUP) on the Great Lakes. We aim to build competence and confidence in the women that use the Great Lakes for board sports, and promote education of safety, enjoyment and sustainability of these resources.

 

 

Lake Surfistas - formerly LOTL (Ladies of the Lakes ) started off as an idea to bring together the ever-growing number of females discovering the joy, fun, and community of surfing, stand up paddle boarding (sup), and sup surfing the Lower Great Lakes.

For the last three years,  our yearly event has taken place at the Pleasant Beach Lodge, near Port Colborne, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Erie, thanks to the Wyldewood Surf Club.

The original founders, Lisa Parkes – an artist and surfer from Coburg; and Robin Pacquing – an instructor and established GL surfer; are passionate water keepers.  Their understanding that a female community of surfers, paddlers, and water women can only lead to more awareness, education, and promotion of the waters in which we live around, as well as the sport of surfing on the Great Lakes.

ROBIN PACQUING

How did you first discover The Lakes?  Around the age of 10 years old, My Dad had a small aluminium fishing boat and he would take us on fishing trips to the Trenton River and in Muskoka.  He would also take us kids on after-school and weekend boat rides to the Toronto Islands and Humber Bay in the warmer months.  I appreciated then how big and beautiful our waterways were, even though we were far from the Ocean.  Fast forward to some time in 2005 when I was looking up surf trips in Tofino, and in my research I stumbled upon a group of people who surfed The Great Lakes.  My mind exploded at the thought and since then, I pretty much dedicated as much time, study, exploration, and money as I could to learn more about surfing in-land and make it a part of my everyday life.

What inspires you about the LS community?  The happiness it brings to the lives of so many women.  All women from different socioeconomic backgrounds, places of origin, creeds, shapes and sizes.  They all just want to be in the water because it makes them feel happy, and how being in the water gives them their own personal sense of peace.

Favourite places to surf?  Marie Curtis Park after it’s been blowing hard NE overnight, and then it switches to a light North wind and I’m there with the regulars surfing long, clean, fun lefts.  

What scares you?  The thought that one day I may not be able bodied enough to surf.  

What do you love?  I love my Family and all my friends that I consider to be Family.  I love a good West Coast sunset session.  I love Ben.  I really love sleeping.

Favourite food?  Garlic fried rice with a fried egg.  Tuna Poke (especially after an epic surf session!!).  All the chocolate.

Motto: “Just ride the wave.” – 12 year old Robin

Favourite Quotes:  Youth is wasted on the young” – George Bernard Shaw

SONIA BURROWS

Name:  My name is Sonia and I’m thrilled to be part of this team. Thrilled because it’s such an awesome event and thrilled because I get to hang out my other team members. I love that our planning meetings start off with so much chatter of surf and surf places and our most recent surf experiences. It’s a wonder we get anything accomplished!

How did you first discover The Lakes?  I discovered The Lakes after purchasing my first SUP in 2009. I had just spent some time surfing in Nicaragua and had SUP’d there on flat days. I figured this would be my answer to water time when I was back home in Canada not knowing then you could surf the Great Lakes.  Grant Kennedy took me under his wing so to speak when I first started paddling and from there I met Mike Sandusky. The two of them took me sup’ing and introduced me to lake surfing. They let me tag along on trips to Huron and Erie. Places I had never been before. I have never looked back and will forever be grateful to the two of them.What inspires you about the LOTL community?

Favourite places to surf?  The camaraderie of the LOTL community inspires me. A group of woman doing something is always way more fun than doing it alone. I gather strength from other strong adventurous women.

What scares you?  I am scared of hold downs and sub-sequently am scared of big waves.

What do you love?  I love so many things! I love my family. I love to surf.  I love the ocean.   I love my friends. I love to travel. I love good food.

Favourite food?  My favourite food is thai food.  And chocolate of course

Motto: ‘You can do this’ ( cos I can, I just gotta believe it when theres a big wave swelling up behind me!)

Quote:‘ I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day’. E. B. White.

KRISTEN HANNA

How did you first discover The Lakes?  My parents used to walk me in my stroller from our apartment near Don Mills and Eglinton, all the way down to the beaches. Many of my childhood memories are from the Toronto waterfront; as my parents made it a priority to enjoy that previous resource and they taught me to appreciate it early on- it was our playground. 4 years ago while rollerblading on the waterfront path I saw people on SUPS and that was the spark which ignited my journey to surfing here on the great lakes.

What inspires you about the LS community?  While we do have a pretty awesome community of surfers here on the Great Lakes; there is really nothing that compares to the positivity that a group of stoked women can bring to the lineup. From the very first Ladies of the Lakes event 2 years ago, it was clear that what we had was something quite special and must be shared and celebrated amongst all of us who call the the lakes our home break. Surf or no surf we know how to have a good time and what is important is that we can all get together and make the most of the conditions that the lake has given us.

Favourite places to surf?  My favourite places to surf in Ontario change with the direction of the wind, as that is what creates the miracle for us here. Ashbridges Bay is my home break and is a special place in my heart because of my childhood history. Kincardine has the most epic sunsets and you can sometimes score a warm water wave there, Pleasant Beach on Lake Erie for it’s power and of course, Costa Rica for it’s consistency. Hawaii because it’s where caught my first wave at 17.

What scares you?  I’m most scared of rocks, that’s why I tend to avoid them and stick to beach breaks. It takes a long time for me to scope out a new break and get comfortable. I only just surfed the cove for the first time this winter on a smaller day and mentally the rocks still got to me.

What do you love?  I love making the most of the weather and taking advantage of the conditions with some form of outdoor activity. Whether it’s on cross country or downhill skis, SUP, skateboard, figure skates, surfboard, etc. and I love my cat. If that makes me a crazy cat lady, so what? Whatever you decide to be in this life just own it 

Favourite food?  noodles of any kind and anything frozen.

Favourite quote or motto? Whatever you decide to be in this life just own it  Be yourself because everyone else has already been taken 

SHAZIA MAZHAR

How did you first discover The Lakes?  I fell in love with surfing and SUPing while on vacations in other countries. I came home after a trip to Barbados and bought my first SUP from Surf Ontario in the middle of a snowstorm. Then I spent the summer learning skills with SUPGirlz…and I have loved every moment on our lakes since.

What inspires you about the LOTL community?  The stoke in our community is amazing. I have so much respect for those that have built the community and welcome us newer members. I have also gained a new respect for the lakes as a natural resource to protect.

Favourite places to surf?  I love surfing everywhere! Of course I love the lakes, but I also love to travel and will surf anywhere and everywhere. Nicaragua will always hold a place in my heart as the place I fell in love with surfing.

What scares you?  Overconfidence scares me. I want to continually learn and any moment I though “I’ve got this”, Mother Nature reminded me of her force. I always want to stay humble and in awe of the water.

What do you love?  I love the exhaustion of a great surf session. I also love that moment of adrenaline when you just start to drop in. It makes me smile every time. And the people. Surfing is a community like no other.

Favourite food?  Is wine a food?

Motto or favourite quote?  My personal mantra is “Do it all. Go everywhere” – appropriate for a nomadic mermaid like me.

 
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