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Surfing the Petitcodiac River: Next Steps

July 31, 2013

MONCTON – Last week’s super tidal bores attracted some of the world’s top surfers, as well as enticed an unprecedented number of spectators to the shores of the Petitcodiac River. “The enthusiasm during last week has clearly inspired a renewed source of pride in our river”, said Mayor George LeBlanc.  “This is a terrific opportunity for the City to explore the potential of the river as a redefined tourist draw, to safely accommodate thrill seekers and attract those who love to observe the excitement", continued Mayor LeBlanc.

Ben Champoux, Director of Tourism Moncton, says, “In recent decades, the Petitcodiac River had been deemed unnavigable and unsafe.  The Petitcodiac is still not a recreational river accessible to just anyone.  However, experienced surfers -- Antony Colas, JJ Wessels, Colin Whitbread, Yassine Ouhilal and Fred Hamilton -- have clearly shown that the Petitcodiac has tremendous potential. We’re now working with them to gather as much intelligence on the river as possible. One of the key roles of the City of Moncton and of Tourism Moncton is to create awareness for both citizens and visitors on the dos and don’ts on the river.”

“Tourism Moncton remains in constant communication with the surfers and their technical team to better understand which sections of the river are safer than others, which spots are ideal to catch the wave and, most importantly, what measures need to be considered to make any adventure on the river as safe as possible,” said Mr. Champoux.

Since the removal of the causeway gates three years ago, the river is restoring its natural course and, as a result, the Tidal Bore phenomenon will become increasingly spectacular. As such, there is no doubt that the Petitcodiac River and its improved Tidal Bore phenomenon have the potential to become a major tourist attraction for Moncton and the province of New Brunswick.  

The Petitcodiac River surfing ‘event’, by the numbers:

  • 30,000: the number of viewers estimated along the river last week, from Belliveau Village to Riverview
  • 29:  The number of kilometres surfed from Belliveau Village to Riverview by Pro Surfers Wessels and Whitbread, setting up a new North American record
  • 8: The number of kilometres of the previous North American record, set in Alaska in 2011
  • 150: The number of minutes it took pro surfers Wessels and Whitbread to surf from Belliveau Village to Riverview
  • 152: The number of times the media (throughout Canada) covered our ‘Surfers story’ last week
  • 22,513,284:  The number of Canadians that have seen, heard or read the ‘Surfers story’ last week
  • 44.6:  The number of feet of the highest tide last week at Hopewell Rocks (Wednesday, July 24)
  • 6,000: direct tourism jobs in Greater Moncton (a $400-million industry for the region)

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Ben Champoux
Director, Tourism Moncton

Nicole O. Melanson
Communications, City of Moncton
506-853-3593 / Nicole.melanson@moncton.ca