By Juilen Fillion, photos by Vincent Bergeron
Montreal might be known for its welcoming French Canadian community, the beautiful women and the famous Poutine—French fries topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds—but it’s also known for a standing river wave called Habitat 67. This endless wave located on the center shore of Montreal Island was informally named for the adjacent Habitat 67 housing complex. It has become a popular destination for whitewater kayakers and river surfers.
The wave is created by fast-moving water hitting underwater boulders and can reach a height of two meters. One of my best friends and river mentors, Corran Addison—an Olympic kayaker and three-time world freestyle kayak champion—was the first to surf the Habitat wave in 2002. It quickly became crowded due to its accessibility so a search began for other more remote river waves. This search led to the discovery of the Holy Grail of river surfing about 10 kilometers upstream on the Saint Lawrence River. But don’t get me wrong, this is not a typical place or a typical wave in a typical environment.