Yes, you read the title right. Not only is there surfing in Canada (the land of igloos and ice), there’s an Island off of the coast of British Columbia that possesses multiple surf breaks and has a town that claims to be the Surf Capital of Canada. For sportsmen everywhere, especially the Canadian sportsman, this activity and claim to fame ups the game in terms of sporting fun that can be had in the country. So, what’s the deal with surfing on Vancouver Island?
First and foremost, the west coast is where most of the action is at, and the infamous Tofino BC lays claim to the capital title. There are a number of pristine beaches that provide great swell, as well as offering spectators and beach-goers plenty of sand to bask in. Many of Tofino’s beaches are said to be the perfect learning beaches, while avid and talented surfers also find waves worth their time. When winter comes around, thicker wetsuits are donned and the real surfing begins. Bigger swell with more power gives surfers something to love the stormy offseason for. Not to mention all the tourists have disappeared again until summer. From Florencia Bay and Wickaninnish, to Long Beach and Chesterman, there are so many different spots to check, each demanding a different wind to ensure those great waves. Although wetsuits are required year-round to surf this side of the Pacific, most find it a worthy addition to getting the surf when it’s hot. Plus, it’s said that if you learn to surf in Tofino, you can surf anywhere.
The other major area to surf provides a perfect point break in the fall and winter seasons. Just a couple hours outside of Victoria (for more check out www.victoriabc.ca) lie the beaches of Jordan River and Sombrio – two sought after surf breaks that provide great winter sessions. They’re still quite private unless the waves are really pumping, and they’re definitely two of Vancouver Island’s best kept surfing secrets. While the locals are sometimes intent on keeping them that way, it’s starting to get friendlier as more surfers are taking notice. That whole area is a hotspot of great beaches and provincial parks, making it, like the west coast, a great spot for everyone to spend the day. For some surfers, the South Island is considered even better than the west, as a point break provides a more consistent wave. It just needs to be ON. JR, as the locals call it, is more a destination to check out when you already know how to surf. Tofino’s sand is much friendlier than Jordan River’s rocky shores for learning, as are the locals.
Thanks to these two Vancouver Island locations, Canadian surf culture is starting to gain momentum and there are plenty of growing surf competitions that happen here each year. Of course, there’s always the east coast of Canada for surfing as well, but when you can pick a place that doesn’t have snow to go with the better waves, the choice comes naturally. For anyone that wants to lay bragging rights to having been surfing in Canada, in the WINTER, Vancouver Island is the place to give it a go.
Intent on giving it a go? Check out www.accommodationvancouverisland.com to find a place to stay.