Transcript: Riding the Great Lakes | Jan 10, 2020

Jeyan sits in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and striped beige tie.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario Hubs: Riding the Great Lakes. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. @theagenda."

Jeyan says PEOPLE ACROSS
ONTARIO RELY ON THE GREAT LAKES
FOR MANY THINGS.
DID YOU KNOW THAT INCLUDES, FOR
SOME, SURFING?
YES, I SAID SURFING.
HERE TO EXPLAIN, ANTONIO
LENNERT, FOUNDER AND CEO OF...
AND CAFE SUR SIDE.

Antonio is in his thirties, with short-cropped brown hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a patterned white shirt.

Jeyan continues THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Jeyan says MARY BAXTER
INTERVIEWED ANTONIO ON
TVO.org.
I HAVE A FEW QUESTIONS.
THE FIRST IS: HOW DID YOU
DISCOVER LAKE SURFING.

A screenshot from the TVO website pops up showing an article. It reads "tvo.org/OntarioHubs. Southwestern. Why this Ontario surfer wants you to hang 10 on the Great Lakes. By Mary Baxter."

The caption changes to "Antonio Lennert. Surfing the Greats."

Antonio says IT'S A BIT OF A LONG STORY.
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SURFING THE
GREAT LAKES SINCE THE '60s.
IT'S NOTHING NEW BUT IT'S
GROWING IN POPULARITY OVER THE
LAST TEN YEARS.
I MOVED TO CANADA VIA CALIFORNIA
ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO.
I WAS BORN IN BRAZIL.
AND FOR MY FIRST THREE YEARS IN
TORONTO, I HAD NO IDEA YOU COULD
SURF HERE.
IT WAS ACTUALLY FUNNY, BECAUSE
AS A SURFER, I'VE ALWAYS LOVED
SURFING.
I WOULD TRAVEL TO PLACES JUST TO
SURF.
AND I LOVE TORONTO BUT I WOULD
GO TO THE LAKE AND STARE INTO
THE HORIZON AND I WOULD TELL
MYSELF, OH, MY GOD, IF ONLY
THERE WERE WAVES HERE, THIS
WOULD BE A PERFECT CITY TO LIVE
IN.
AND IT WAS ACTUALLY ON A FAMILY
VACATION THAT I WENT WITH MY
PARTNER TO THE BAHAMAS THAT I
MET A SURFER SURFING ONE OF THE
OUTER ISLANDS AND IT TURNED OUT
THAT HE WAS FROM TORONTO AND HE
WAS THE ONE WHO TOLD ME THAT I
COULD SURF BACK HOME.

Jeyan says THAT'S VERY
INTERESTING.
I WANT TO PULL UP THIS PHOTO
RIGHT HERE.
YOU HAVE A CONVINCING JOB TO DO.
THIS IS NOT A LAKE.
THIS CANNOT BE A LAKE.

A black and white picture shows two surfers riding a large wave.

Antonio says IT IS IN FACT A LAKE.

Jeyan says WHERE?

Antonio says SO WE ARE AT SCARBOROUGH
BLUFFS.

Jeyan says OH, WOW.

Antonio says SO THIS IS A SPOT RIGHT IN
FRONT OF THE BLUFFS, BEAUTIFUL
SPOT.
IT'S ONE OF THE BIGGEST WAVES
THAT WE HAVE AROUND HERE IN
TORONTO.
IT DOESN'T WORK AS OFTEN, BUT
WHEN IT DOES, IT'S JUST AS
POWERFUL AS THE OCEAN.

The caption changes to "Ocean versus lake waves."

Jeyan says NOW, YOU HAD
MENTIONED, YOU WERE BORN AND
RAISED IN BRAZIL, MOVED TO
CALIFORNIA.
YOU'VE SEEN THE OCEAN.
YOU'VE NOW, YOU KNOW, SURFED ON
THE LAKES.
WHAT'S THE MAIN DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN LAKE AND OCEAN SURFING?

The caption changes to "Antonio Lennert, @antoniolennert."

Antonio says YEAH.
THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION,
ACTUALLY.
SO THE MAIN DIFFERENCE IS THE
LACK OF SALT.
SO SINCE IT'S FRESHWATER, THAT
EFFECTS OUR BUOYANCY, SO YOU
NEED TO COMPENSATE WITH A BOARD
THAT HAS A LITTLE BIT MORE
FLOATATION, AND ANOTHER
DIFFERENCE IS JUST THE WAY THAT
THE WAVES ARE FORMED.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE OCEAN,
THEY'RE FORMED, YOU KNOW, ON THE
OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.
SO BY THE TIME THEY REACH THEIR
DESTINATION, THEY'RE THEIR OWN
BEING.
THEY HAVE A LOT OF POWER.
THEY'RE ORGANIZED.
HERE ON THE GREAT LAKES, WE TEND
TO SURF IN THE EYE OF THE STORM.
SO WHEN THE WAVES ARE RIDING IN
TORONTO, ORIGINATING IN HAMILTON
OR SOMETIMES IN PRINCE EDWARD
COUNTY, IT TENDS TO BE A LOT
MESSIER AND THE WAVES COME AT
YOU A LOT FASTER AND FROM MANY
DIRECTIONS.
THOSE ARE THE TWO MAIN
DIFFERENCES.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Jeyan says THERE'S A LITTLE
PREDICTABILITY IN THE OCEAN
VERSUS THE LAKE, PERHAPS.

Antonio says ABSOLUTELY.
IN THE OCEAN, YOU OFTEN HAVE
MORE TIME TO LOOK AT THOSE WAVES
COMING AT YOU, AND GET READY.
HERE ON THE LAKES, IT'S KIND OF
LIKE THEY KEEP COMING AND YOU
HAVE TO BE READY TO GO AT ANY
TIME.

Jeyan says I WANT TO LOOK AT
SOME PHOTOS OF WINTER
CONDITIONS.
YOU GUYS KIND OF SURF ALL YEAR
ROUND.

A colour picture shows Antonio smiling as he emerges from icy water in a wet suit, holding onto a small surfboard.
In another picture, Antonio stands in shallow water looking into the horizon as a tree covered in frost in the forefront frames him.

Antonio says WE DO.
SO THE BEST SEASON IS FALL
THROUGH SPRING.
SO SUMMERTIME, IT GETS A LITTLE
BIT QUIETER, BUT THERE ARE STILL
SOME WAVES ON LIKE GEORGIAN BAY,
LAKE HURON, LAKE ERIE.

Jeyan says THERE'S SOME ICE.
THAT'S LIKE...

In a picture three surfers in wet suits walk on snow towards a bay.

Antonio says EXACTLY.
SO WINTER IS OUR BEST SEASON
HERE IN TORONTO.
ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS IS, IT
DOESN'T TAKE A LOT OF WIND FOR
US TO GET WAVES.
AND ALSO DUE TO HOW WARM THE
CITY IS, IT TENDS TO KEEP OUR
SHORELINES OPEN HERE.
SO WE KEEP GETTING WAVES IN
TORONTO THROUGHOUT THE WINTER
MONTHS.

Jeyan says NOW, IF STORM
CONDITIONS ARE NEEDED FOR LAKE
SURFING, HOW DO YOU STAY SAFE?

The caption changes to "Stormwater risks."

Antonio says YEAH.
SO IT'S... YOU KNOW, YOU'VE GOT
TO BE A DECENT SURFER.
THERE ARE DEFINITELY WAYS TO
START HERE.
YOU KNOW, YOU CAN BE A BEGINNER
HERE.
THAT'S NOT A PROBLEM.
THERE ARE PLACES THAT ARE
SUITABLE FOR BEGINNERS AND
PLACES THAT ARE SUITABLE FOR
INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED
PEOPLE.
BUT WHEN YOU SURF IN THE WINTER,
YOU'VE JUST GOT TO HAVE A
STRATEGY PLAN, ONE IS YOU NEED
THE RIGHT GEAR, AND BEFORE YOU
GET INTO THE WATER, YOU JUST
NEED TO KNOW YOUR LIMITS AND YOU
NEED TO HAVE EVERYTHING TO WARM
UP IN YOUR CAR WHEN YOU COME
BACK.

Jeyan says WOULD YOU SAY IT'S
EASIER TO START ON A LAKE VERSUS
AN OCEAN, OR WHAT WOULD YOU
RECOMMEND FOR SOMEONE?

Antonio says NO, I WOULD SAY IT'S
DEFINITELY EASIER TO START IN
THE OCEAN.
IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO START
HERE.
I KNOW A LOT OF SURFERS WHO HAVE
STARTED SURFING ON THE GREAT
LAKES AND THEY'RE GREAT SURFERS
NOW AND OUR COMMUNITY KEEPS
GROWING.
BUT THE OCEAN IS JUST A LITTLE
BIT MORE CONSISTENT TO HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO GO AWAY FOR A
WEEK AND, YOU KNOW, TAKE A SURF
CAMP, LEARN THERE, AND COME BACK
AND KEEP PRACTISING, IT'S A
LITTLE BIT EASIER.

Jeyan says I HAD MENTIONED WHEN
WE WERE OFF CAMERA, A LOT OF
PEOPLE MIGHT BE HESITANT
THINKING ABOUT THE GREAT LAKES
SURFING AND THE GREAT LAKES
SWIMMING, IT'S PROBABLY NOT EVEN
A THOUGHT.
THERE ARE OTHER RISKS WHEN WE
TALK ABOUT POLLUTION, ALGAE
BLOOM.
THERE ARE OTHER THINGS YOU'RE
NAVIGATING IN THE WATER.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Antonio says ABSOLUTELY.
THE WATER QUALITY ALL OVER THE
GREAT LAKES HAS IMPROVED
DRAMATICALLY SINCE I MOVED HERE.
THERE ARE MANY GREAT
ORGANIZATIONS DOING A TREMENDOUS
AMOUNT OF WORK TO CLEAN THE
WATER AND TO PROMOTE SAFER WATER
FOR EVERYONE.
EACH LAKE HAS THEIR OWN ISSUES
IN TERMS OF ALGAE BLOOMS AND
NUCLEAR WASTE AND PIPELINES.
HERE IN TORONTO AND HAMILTON,
LAKE ONTARIO, ONE OF OUR BIGGEST
ISSUES IS POLLUTION.
SO THE LAKE IS GOOD I WOULD SAY
95 percent OF THE TIME.
WHENEVER THERE IS HEAVY
RAINSTORMS THAT OVERFLOWS FOR
SEWAGE CAPACITY, THAT'S WHEN RAW
SEWAGE WASHES INTO THE LAKE.
LUCKILY THESE DAYS, THE CITY
TELLS THE POPULATION WHEN
THEY'RE BYPASSING SEWAGE SO WE
KNOW WHEN THE WATER HAS BEEN
COMPROMISED.
BUT, YEAH, POLLUTION, YOU KNOW,
JUST LIKE ANY OTHER BIG CITY
AROUND THE WORLD, IS AN ISSUE
FOR OUR WATERWAYS.

Jeyan says ALL RIGHT.
I WANT TO LOOK AT ANOTHER PHOTO.

Antonio says SURE.

A picture shows Antonio sitting inside a car drinking from a metal cup.

Jeyan says IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE
WARMING UP IN YOUR CAR.
IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE QUITE COLD
OR YOU'RE READY TO GET IN THE
ZONE.
YOU'RE IN THE ZONE, IS WHAT IT
LOOKS LIKE.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE KIND
OF A GOOD EXIT STRATEGY?
WHAT DOES A GOOD EXIT STRATEGY
LOOK LIKE?

Antonio says THAT'S CRUCIAL.
SO IF YOU'RE GOING TO SURF IN
THE WINTER, AT THE MOMENT IT
DROPS BELOW FREEZING, YOU JUST
NEED TO HAVE AN EXIT PLAN.
YOU KNOW, IF YOU ARE ON A SURF
TRIP, IF IT'S WARM, THERE'S
ALWAYS LIKE ONE MORE WAVE, ONE
MORE WAVE, AND THE NEXT THING
IT'S BEEN HALF AN HOUR AND
YOU'VE CAUGHT TEN WAVES AND
YOU'RE STILL THERE.
HERE, ONCE YOU LOSE YOUR
CAPACITY TO STAY WARM, SO
MOVING, GENERATING HEAT, YOU
KIND OF JUST HAVE TO LEAVE THE
WATER AND GET OUT TO YOUR CAR.
BECAUSE FROM THE MOMENT YOU
START GETTING COLD TO THE MOMENT
YOU START WARMING UP, THERE IS
LIKE 20 TO 30 MINUTES' GAP
THERE.
AND IF IT'S BEEN SNOWING, THERE
WILL BE SNOW UP TO YOUR KNEES,
YOU MIGHT HAVE TO, YOU KNOW,
HIKE 10 MINUTES, 15 MINUTES BACK
TO YOUR CAR.
SO I ALWAYS LIKE TO MAKE SURE
THAT I HAVE EVERYTHING LAID OUT
IN MY CAR.
YOU KNOW, I HAVE MY TOWEL, I
HAVE A THERMOS WITH HOT WATER OR
TEA.
THE MOMENT I GET THERE, I THROW
MY BOARD UNDER MY CAR, OPEN THE
CAR, HOP IN, TURN THE CAR ON,
TURN ON THE HEAT, PUT SOME
MUSIC, START HAVING SOME TEA,
AND I HAD JUST RETURN TO MY CAR
AND I WAS WARMING UP AND JUST
WAITING FOR THE HEATER TO KICK
IN, AND ONCE YOU START TO, YOU
KNOW, FEEL WARM AGAIN, THEN YOU
CAN GET RID OF YOUR MITTENS, DRY
YOUR HANDS, PUT ON DRY GLOVES,
THEN YOU CAN GO DEAL WITH YOUR
BOARD OR WHATEVER.
BUT REALLY HAVING A STRATEGY,
LIKE AN EXIT PLAN SO YOU STAY
SAFE.

Jeyan says IT SEEMS LIKE YOU
OBVIOUSLY HAVE AN AMAZING
PHOTOGRAPHER FOLLOWING YOU.
IS IT ALWAYS GOOD TO SURF WITH A
GROUP OF PEOPLE OR DO YOU
USUALLY GO ON SOLO TRIPS?

Antonio says YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
SO I THINK SURFING IS MORE FUN
WITH FRIENDS.
WE ALWAYS RECOMMEND PEOPLE TO
HAVE, YOU KNOW, ALWAYS SURF WITH
A BUDDY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THERE
ARE NO LIFE GUARDS AROUND HERE,
RIGHT?
THE LIFE GUARDS ARE JUST HERE
DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS.
SO DURING THE TIME THAT YOU'RE
OUT ON THE WATER, WE SURFERS ARE
RESPONSIBLE FOR EACH OTHER'S
SAFETY.
SO IF YOU HAVE OTHER PEOPLE
SURFING WITH YOU, WE ARE KEEPING
AN EYE ON EACH OTHER.
I DO SURF ALONE SOMETIMES.
WHENEVER I GO ALONE, I ALWAYS
LET SOMEONE KNOW, HEY, THIS IS
WHERE I'M PADDLING OUT, THIS IS
THE TIME.
I'LL LEAVE A NOTE ON MY CAR: OUT
SURFING.
THIS IS MY LOCATION, GOING OUT
AT THIS TIME.
SO IF SOMETHING HAPPENS, MAYBE
SOMEONE MAY SEE THAT NOTE.

Jeyan says SAY I'M INTERESTED
IN SURFING AND I WANT TO TAG
ALONG WITH YOU.
WHAT TYPE OF GEAR WOULD I NEED
FOR COLDER TEMPERATURES?

The caption changes to "Gear and training."

Antonio says WE SURF WITH WETSUITS.
SOME PEOPLE THINK WE SURF WITH
DRY SUITS.
THEY'RE NOT SUITABLE FOR
SURFING.
THEY'RE REALLY BULKY SO IT'S
HARD TO PADDLE AND DO THE
MOVEMENTS.
SO REALLY THICK WETSUITS.
THEY'RE 5, 6 MILLIMETRES.
WE WEAR MITTENS THAT KEEP ALL
THE FINGERS TOGETHER.
WE WEAR 7-MILLIMETRE BOOTIES.

Jeyan says OH, WOW.

Antonio says IT'S REALLY THICK RUBBER.
IT'S INCREDIBLE.
THE TECHNOLOGY HAS COME TO A
PLACE WHERE WE CAN SURF FOR
THREE OR FOUR HOURS WHEN IT'S
-20 OUT.
THAT'S THE BASIC PACKAGE THAT
YOU NEED.
ONCE YOU HAVE THAT, THE WAVES
ARE FREE.

Jeyan says NOW, I UNDERSTAND
YOU'RE A GRAPHIC ARTIST BY
TRADE.
BUT DID YOU EVER EXPECT YOU
WOULD CHANGE YOUR CAREER, MOVE
TO CANADA, DEDICATE YOUR LIFE
ESSENTIALLY TO BUILDING A
COMMUNITY OF SURFERS IN TORONTO
AND THE GREAT LAKES?

Antonio says ABSOLUTELY NOT.
IT JUST HAPPENED ORGANICALLY.
GROWING UP IN BRAZIL, I WAS A
SURFER, BUT I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A
DESIGNER.
MY DREAM WAS TO MOVE TO EITHER
TORONTO, NEW YORK, OR START MY
OWN DESIGN FIRM.
CAME HERE, DID THAT FOR A COUPLE
OF YEARS, AND THEN FOUND SURFING
AND MY LIFE STARTED TO CHANGE
AND I IT GOT TO A POINT WHERE I
DECIDED TO DO THAT FULL TIME AND
THIS IS WHAT I DO.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Jeyan says LAST QUESTION FOR
YOU: FAVOURITE LAKE.

Antonio says OOH, THAT'S A TOUGH ONE.
THEY'RE ALL VERY SPECIAL IN
THEIR OWN WAY.
I THINK MY FAVOURITE ONE MIGHT
BE LAKE HURON AND GEORGIAN BAY,
JUST BECAUSE IT'S SO WILD, IT'S
SO RAW, AND THE WATER QUALITY IS
SO AMAZING UP THERE.
ALSO, LAKE HURON.
OFTEN THE SUN SETS ON THE
HORIZON, SO IT JUST HAS THAT
WEST COAST VIBE.
SO IF I HAD TO PICK ONE, I THINK
I'LL PROBABLY PICK LAKE HURON.

Jeyan says I MIGHT BE JOINING
YOU SOMETIME.

Antonio says PLEASE DO.
I WILL BE HAPPY TO TAKE YOU OUT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Jeyan says IT WAS A PLEASURE.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR KIND OF
CHANGING THE PERSPECTIVE FOR US
ON THE GREAT LAKES A LITTLE BIT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Antonio says THE PLEASURE IS MINE.

Watch: Riding the Great Lakes