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Surf Guide: Surfing in Vancouver Island, Canada

Surf Guide Canada

Surf Guide: Surfing in Vancouver Island, Canada


49° 14′ 46.6512” N 123° 6′ 58.4136” W.

When you think of Canada, surfing probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, the west coast of Canada is home to Vancouver island which is the top spot to surf In Canada. Where most of the surfing happens on the 20 kilometer stretch of Tofino. The surf condition and scenery are of world class, and we are pretty sure that after reading this, Canada will be on your surfing bucket list. 

Surfing in Vancouver island 

As previously mentioned, Tofino is the hotspot for surfing on Vancouver island. The beaches offer great surfing conditions all year round and you will find surfers of all ages. The exposed west side of the island is a magnet for swells produced by storms around Alaska from September through march. Throughout the year other swells may roll in all the way from Japan. When the conditions are right, there can be waves of up to 12 feet at certain spots in the Tofino region. Because of these waves, a thriving surfing industry has developed in the area. Catering to surfers of all ages and levels. 

This photo is the perfect Canadian surf scene, empty line up, tall trees and brisk waters.

Canada is not know for their pleasant surfing climate, with water temperatures hovering between 10 degrees Celsius in winter and 14 in summer. No matter what the season is, the water is going to be cold. But it is the waves that matter. In order to surf them it is essential to wear a wetsuit at all times when surfing in Canada. This means a full body wetsuit with boots and preferably gloves. Do not think that you won’t need it, most of the rescue operations are for people not wearing wetsuits. Don’t be one of those people please. 

All right enough about the cold and wetsuit, let’s move on to the fun stuff, waves! 

Surfing in Tofino

As mentioned before, Tofino is a 20 kilometer stretch of Beach with lots of surf spots along this stretch. We will provide you with a list of the must see spots, so you will be prepared when your time to surf this place comes along. 

Surfing in Cox Bay 

This beach surrounded by stunning nature offers waves from all swell directions and occasionally even a surf contest. Both ends of the beach have great beach breaks, but the place where it really kicks off is the middle of the beach. This is due to the swell energy of the north and south combine here which creates stunning wedge waves. The waves are best under 6 feet, anything higher than this usually closes out. In addition to all of this, the beach is huge, so it is never really busy. 

Surfing in Chesterman Beach 

Chesterman beach is yet another huge beach which offers enough space for all the surfers and sandcastle builders. The waves do net get very hollow, but they are always a lot of fun. Because of the size of the beach, the north offers bigger waves and are better for more experienced surfers. The south end of the beach is usually more mellow and is suitable for all experience levels. 

Surfing in Long Beach 

Basically one big sand dune that stretches for 10 kilometers with some beach breaks to be found along it. The spot is very mellow with again enough room for everybody. However, all of that room does not translate to great barreling waves. Because of the mellow waves this spot is very popular for long boarders. But also beginners can try their luck in catching their first waves here. 

Surfing in Rosies Bay

This spot is only for the experienced surfers. You will find powerful lefts traveling at high speed over an uneven sand and rock bottom. The waves are most suitable for shortboard riders and are perfect for practicing airs and big tricks. Catch a wave, try your move and try again. The perfect place to learn certain moves you have been working on for a while.

Dangers of surfing Vancouver island 

As you know the water temperature is very cold in this part of Canada. Even if you are wearing a full body wetsuit, hypothermia is still a very real threat. Apart from the cold, there are lots of wild animals in the water. It is not uncommon to sight orca’s and sharks hunting for seals. So be aware that once you step in the water, you step in the food chain. 

If this article did not spark your interest for surfing in Canada then these photos taken by Marcus Paladino will surely do!

Thomas Oosterhof

Via mijn studie Tourism Management ben ik terecht gekomen bij SurfaWhile. Waar ik elke dag meer leer over het surfen, en het verkopen van surfreizen. Door het schrijven van artikelen over surfvakanties, ervaringen en prachtige surfbestemmingen zorg ik er voor dat jij goed voorbereid op surfvakantie gaat!

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