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Pursuit: Hydro Bay “the bathtub for angels,” says Chris Dube

Chris Dube reflects on Ontario's great surf spot.
Terrace Bay Beach (11)
Terrace Bay Beach

TERRACE BAY - Chris Dube, a recreational teacher with Superior North High School and founder of the Waasaashkaa: The Gathering of the Great Lakes Surfers, sets his sights on a new year of catching waves and enjoying the vast beauty of Ontario’s Great Lakes.

However, it’s April, after all. Rain, snow, and surfing do not seem to go hand in hand during stormy weather. But for dense freshwater surfers like Chris Dube, the chilly Lake Superior east wind makes for high sandy waves.

Living five minutes away from Chris’s, Hydro Bay is one of the most famous beaches for surfing in Terrace Bay.  

Having “access to the best wave in all of the Great Lakes at our doorstep in Terrace Bay,” says Dube, “Hydro Bay collects the southeast wind making for some primo waves.”

Dube mentions how the teardrop shape of Hydro Bay captures the wind at its base, which allows a perfect sandy wave to move outwards toward the beach.

Dube explains, “For us to surf, there has to be a storm, different from other places, especially when you go to the ocean. Typically, sometimes you have storms, but typically, you have these fair-weather days. Right. But for us, using the south winds brings ice pellets, freezing rain, or heavy snow. We take a snow machine to the surf spot, or I just borrowed from a friend some awesome shoes and snowshoe to the surf spot.”

For Dube, the spot is perfect. Hydro Lake sits in a magnificent place surrounded by forest and a great view of Slate Island.

“It is still super preserved around here, and we’re fortunate to have all these beautiful beaches just within arm’s length of our community,” Dube stated.

However, last year a developer bought 16 lakefront properties on the former Terrace Bay Mill site. These properties are located within the city limits and along the waterfront, where the developer plans to build a bar and a boat launch.

Yet, despite the new developer’s reluctance to keep the lakefront public, Dube took an active interest in keeping the area public for those who wanted access to the beach and a great surf spot.

“So, basically what I ended up doing was researching provincial zoning laws," Dube said, “and it turns out that whenever a developer developed an area, five per cent of that area has to go back to the municipality as both cash instead of property or five per cent of the property goes solely to the public.”

Next, he petitioned the local government to look into the zoning laws to keep the waterfront public.

A year later, there is nothing decided by the town council and the developer on the properties. 

Nevertheless, Dube stands firm in his convictions to keep the waterfront public. He is hard at work organizing the sixth year of the Waasaashkaa: The Gathering of the Great Lakes Surfers. In previous years, the one-day event brought people from around the region to celebrate the beauty of our Great Lake.

“We had about five hundred people last year that showed up to our gathering, we have the brand-new pavilion on the main beach, we were able to host four different musical acts, and we had the Voyager canoe,” Dube said.

Chris looks to improve the gathering by keeping the music act and vendor diverse. Still, he also wants to maintain a policy that Waasaashkaa has a dry vent so that the event can be family-friendly.

For more information on Waasaashkaa: The Gathering of the Great Lakes, follow his page on Facebook.

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