Paddle Destinations: Quebec City, Canada

We are Downwind Quebec

By Nicolas Boudreau, Contributor

Let me introduce you to our paddle community in Quebec City. Quebec is located in eastern Canada and has a huge variety of water playgrounds, with plenty of lakes and rivers to paddle in. The climate here can be very harsh, especially during winter, however we can still manage to paddle 8 to 9 months per year even though the temperature can be well under the freezing point. The end of the season for us is when all rivers are frozen which usually happens in late December. 

SUP is still relatively new to most of the population here but it has gained a lot of popularity since the beginning of the pandemic 2 years ago. Although most paddlers here are looking for mainly flat-water lakes to have a nice sunset easy ride with friends during summer, there is also a small (but expanding quickly) community of flat-water racers. There are about 4 to 5 flat water races each season between June and September in the entire province of Quebec, like the famous “Classique de canot”, which is a 38 km long SUP race.

 

Downwinding the St. Lawrence

All that being said, a few of us are more extreme and prefer to explore the big waves of the St. Lawrence River rather than flat water. This river can offer exceptional swell when all conditions are met and this is why the “Downwind Quebec” community started last year. 

We have several nice spots to choose on the river, depending on the conditions. The best spots are on a beautiful island called “Ile d’Orléan”, but we also have a few other places nearby on the north or south shore of the city. Depending on a mix of the tides and the wind, we can go for either upwind/downwind loop sessions or longer 10 to 20 km full downwind runs in 2 to 6-foot waves. The best conditions are either in spring or fall, but we can still get outstanding swell right through the middle of the summer. 

Downwind Quebec was created by Maxime Poulin, an ex-canoe athlete, and Sebastien Ouellet, a long-time rafting athlete and pioneer of SUP downwinding on our river. The purpose of the community is mainly to get this more extreme paddle sport better known to the population. For facilitate that, Downwind Quebec has formed its own training club where the more experienced paddlers coach and help those less experienced. The main goal of this club is to have fun and improve both fitness and skills so we call all have even more fun in the waves.

Downwind Quebec also holds its annual championship in mid-October, when the wind and the swell are known to be at their best. We held the first edition of the competition last year, sponsored by SIC, and it was a massive success. For this season, if the conditions are met, we are hoping to do a 10 KM downwind competition, which would be a first in the province of Quebec. We are hoping to get more participants this year and we invite all international participants.

Welcoming and Historic

Getting back to Quebec City, we are a very historic and tourist friendly city which offers the best hybrid of European and American culture that can be found.  We have several tourist areas (Château Frontenac), have terrific restaurants and have phenomenal breweries, most of them are located in the downtown city but are also on the island where we actually downwind.  This island is also well-known for the best fruits pick-ups (apple, berries, pumpkins, squash, …). We also have a few surf and SUP shops where you can buy or rent any kind of boards (all around, touring and even racing).

For me, the best thing about paddling in Quebec City would be that we have so many lakes and rivers available that we always have a place to paddle, whatever the weather, season, or the kind of training we want to do.

The SUP community is getting bigger every year here and we would be very happy to introduce you to our beautiful city, especially our favorite playground: The St-Lawrence river.

 

 

Downwind Quebec : https://www.facebook.com/DWQuebec

Downwind Championship 2022 : https://www.facebook.com/events/417042819894918

 

Are you proud of where you paddle? Want to share the stoke with other paddlers? Send us a short description of your paddle town, with attached .jpg photos! Be sure to include your favorite paddle spots, what the weather and conditions are like, best time to visit, fun races or events and the best place for after paddle beverages and food, and any other reason why your paddle town is great!

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