Dayton’s unlikely surfing scene featured in international publication



Surf Dayton, one of only a handful of river surfing schools in the country, boogied itself into the spotlight last week, drawing more attention to the region’s booming outdoor recreation offerings.

A BBC News article titled “The pandemic is fueling a surfing boom — in Ohio corn country,” shared how this summer’s lack of access to beach-weekend destinations has led to more people in the Midwest hitting their local waterways.

“Having Dayton, Ohio, the whitewater features and a local paddling company highlighted internationally continues to elevate Dayton as a destination for Outdoor Recreation,” said Amy Dingle, MetroParks Director of Outdoor Connections.

The BBC article reported: “Surrounded by endlessly flat farmland, Dayton is not a place one might expect to find a booming water sports scene. Today, however, it boasts a tight-knit and growing river surfing community, the water serving as a means to stay active with the beaches of Florida and the Carolinas out of reach for now.”

Surf Dayton was established last year by Shannon Thomas and Jake Brown — Brown, a former Santa Cruz resident who returned home to Ohio in 2017, only to immediately miss the beach and surfing scene and Thomas, fellow Daytonian surfing fanatic.

"We did 22 clinics in 2019 (with three or four participants per clinic),” Thomas told BBC News, who regularly straps his board to his scooter and hits the river on his lunch break. “This year, we have already done around 64 clinics.”

The article goes on to talk about the history of the Gem City as an innovation hub and Dayton’s effort to re-create a downtown where workers could “live, work, play and learn.”

“It showcases how a mid-size city can change its image from a ‘dying city’ a few years ago, to an outdoor destination that is vibrant and has a strong quality of life, community vibe and is growing our economy through outdoor recreation,” Dingle said. “I hope that it continues to elevate what a great city we have to help retain our creative class and attract newcomers! It is always fantastic to be recognized, and it does help build credibility for our region.”

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