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THINGS TO DO ON VANCOUVER ISLAND

Surfing


Canadian Surfing at Its Best

Conditions

Surfing in Canada has been around since just after World War II, when Jim Sadler introduced the sport to the Tofino. Tofino, with 22 miles of sandy beaches, is now considered the surfing capital of Canada and one of the premier surfing locations in the world. Ucluelet is also an excellent location, but is less well known internationally than is Tofino. Hard-core locals consider this a plus.

Surfing in the Tofino and Ucluelet area is available year-round; however, conditions vary dramatically, depending on the season.

In the summer months (June - August), waves average 2-5 feet, and the water is relatively warm. This time of year offers perfect conditions for beginning surfers.

Fall (September - November) is, arguably, best time of the year to surf on Vancouver Island's west coast. The water is still warm (by Canadian standards), the beaches are less crowded, and, most importantly, large waves begin to arrive. You can expect swells of over 10 feet this time of year.

If you're planning on surfing during the winter months (December - March), you'd better know what you're doing. Massive weather systems from the northwest come down the Pacific, and pound Vancouver Island's west coast. Waves of 20-30 feet are common. However, winds out of the southeast keep the waves from being too unruly, so the conditions for experienced surfers are excellent.

In spring (March - May), waves die down a bit, but are still surf-able. And the beaches a uncrowded. Spring is a good time to get in some quality surf time before the crowds arrive in June.

Locations

The number one beach for surfing in Canada is Tofino's Cox Bay. Waves are consistently good in this area, and it is the site of many national and international surfing competitions. Note that it is often crowded, however; especially, during the summer months.

Chesterman Beach is divided into North Chesterman and South Chesterman. The beach is sheltered from storms, and it's waves are generally smaller than waves at Cox Bay. This makes it an great location for beginning surfers. Conditions are excellent during the winter months, but, in the summer, waves tend to be flat, particularly at South Chesterman.

Long Beach is actually several stretches of beach in the Pacific Rim National Park, situated between Tofino and Ucluelet. Long Beach is very popular in the summer, especially around Incinerator Rock. Lovekin Rock has smaller waves, but it also has extremely dangerous currents. Keep that in mind before trying out this area of Long Beach.

Florencia Bay, in Ucluelet, has quality waves that aren't affected by the tides. Harsh north winds are usually blocked out, and the beach is much less crowded than other locations. 

Shops

Relic Surf Shop offers both surf gear and skateboard gear. They also have a full selection of surf rentals, including boards, wetsuits, and accessories. Finally, you can set up surf lessons or schedule surf camps with their quality instructors.
  • Phone: 250-726-4421
  • Email: info@relicsurfshop.com


Founded in 2004 and owned by surfers, Long Beach Surf Shop is an actual surf shop, not a cute store in a mall. They carry quality surf gear at budget prices. Open seven days a week for all your surfing needs.
  • Phone: 250-725-3800
  • Email: info@longbeachsurfshop.com


Live to Surf was founded by Liz Zed in 1984. They sell surfing equipment, along with skateboarding and skim boarding equipment. However, the company specializes surfboard rentals, and has the largest rental selection in Canada. Stop by and let the friendly and knowledgeable staff help you with all your surfing needs.
  • Phone: 250-25-4464
  • Email: info@livetosurf.com

Reviews

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Cox Bay is a must!

Cox Bay beach is a great place for surfing. Nice waves and a stunning sunset! If you've never tried it, we highly recommend renting a surf board and surf lessons!

-Green Cedar Retreat, Trip Advisor

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Long Beach Tofino Incinerator

possibly?... best surfing in Canada, especially in the winter. tip: use the thicker 'full' wetsuit October on ;-)

-J L, Trip Advisor

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What a beauty of a beach

Our tour of Tofino wouldn't have been complete without a visit to Chesterman Beach. It was definitely worth the drive as the beach was clean and pristine with miles and miles of sand. Saw some people surfing which was nice. It is definitely a must visit if you are in Tofino.

-Busyworkingmom3, Trip Advisor

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