I have been hearing a lot about Vancouver Island lately, so I decided to let the rest of the surfing community know about this great spot that a couple of locals have been raving about. Although, if you are dedicated to the sport of surfing, you will know about this Island, and what it has to offer.
First of all, what would make you go surf in Vancouver Island anyway? If you are someone who thrives on seeing how long you can stay out in the iciest waters, then this is for you.
You also have to bear in mind that some of beaches won't always be within your reach. You may have to climb over drift wood in order to get there. On the other hand, this is often part of the fun.
Sometimes surfers have their comfort zones and don’t really know that there is something exciting happening and waiting for them around the corner.
I’m quite happy surfing in a moderate climate, but looking at what this part of the world has to offer, you have to say that you are in a place which is unspoiled and you may just have to take a deep breath and marvel at the beauty that you are surrounded by. You won’t find ten surf shops and schools lined up in a row here like you do in some locations.
Another thing to ponder on is the pro factors of the cold weather. Yeah, it’s uncomfortable, but like in some parts of the world you have to wait until winter to get the good stuff. Here, it is already there and there is a beach for all levels.
Equipment you need to Surf Vancouver Island
If you want to come here during the winter season when there is extra swell, you really have to be prepared. This is obviously the coldest time to be surfing, so make sure you have a hood, booties and a wetsuit which is a couple of millimetres thicker than what you are used to.
I would also go for something that I can wear under my wetsuit. More and more people are using the heated pad which you put in a rash vest and place your wetsuit on top of that. For these types of temperatures you will definitely need something like that.
You will be able to find a place where you can rent equipment, which will save you some bucks in case you are not someone who usually heads out in hoods and booties. There is also a school here, and who knows, learning to surf in these icy waters is definitely out of the norm.
Sparkles from GotSurf.ca
Where to go in Vancouver Island
If you are a surfer and you stay in this part of the world, you will know about Tofino, which is the main surf spot in the area, providing waves for both beginners and more serious surfers. Chesterman Beach and Cox Bay can provide some good action and this is where Canada also hosts a surf contest. For the best swell you will want to come here between September to March.
Nootka Island is another spot, but this one is reserved for the experienced and daring. You won’t find too many other souls out here. You will need to have a boat to take you out here to find the swell you are looking for. The best times are Spring and Autumn.
Places like Bajo Point and Calvin Bay provide some good waves. I have to stress that this is a remote location with black bears and other wildlife - so be prepared.
Vancouver Island has its own surf culture. It has really grown into something huge. People forget the fact that the water is 10 degrees C and don't see the bigger picture. Tofino has been awarded the best beach in Canada and one of the best surfing villages in North America, so they must be doing something right.
Perhaps it is the cold that sets it apart. The O’Neill Cold Water Classic came to Tofino in 2009, bringing over 150 pros to the shores to compete with each other. Tofino is no longer just another little sleepy town in Vancouver Island, which brings in a couple of nice waves, but it has now joined the ranks of the more elite sandy white beaches all over the world.
What Else is there to Do in Vancouver Island?
Of course, you can get up to a lot more things than simply surfing. Many people have been coming to this little place before the hype about the big surf really started to grow.
This will make the perfect break for either a single person, a couple or even a family because there is a chance to explore the city of Vancouver. I was told by a local resident, that it takes just 2 hours to get to this little island on the ferry.
Things to do in Vancouver Island
- No, of course it's not always freezing cold in this part of the world. In fact, the Island is host to Canada's sand sculpting competition. How about the exploring the area on horseback, or you can simply have a day out at one of the fine golf courses.
photo credit: photobucket.com/user/linda_nguyen/media/Vancouver%20and%20Yosemite/Picture088.jpg
- If you are a foodie, as I am - you will appreciate the absence of fast food chains here. To compensate for this, Vancouver Island has a reputation for providing fantastic organic produce. You can find a lot of markets where you will get fresh foods, along with a lot of culinary schools spread around the vacinity.
- Don't let the winter period put you off. You don't have to travel all the way to the Alps, when there is fresh snow to do just about any type of skiing or snowboarding that takes your fancy. A lot of cross country skiiers come here to practice.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/adavey/2221275327
- Before you get think is just an island, offering nature lovers a place to relax, think again, because there is so much more. If you don't want to socialize that is all well and good, but for those who want to experience night life in the form of theters, casinos or specatator sports, there is nothing stopping you. During the day, arts and culture may keep you entertained.