Hitting the Surf in Tofino

My First Time Catching a Wave

“The harder it is to get on, the warmer you will be.”

After spending 20 minutes struggling to get into our wetsuits, this seemed like a reasonable condolence to hear from our surf instructor. We had just arrived at The Surf Club at Long Beach Lodge after a long, but scenic, four-hour drive from Victoria to Tofino, on the picturesque West Coast of Vancouver Island. Even more amazing than the stunning drive along the winding highway to the coast was the fact that it turned out to be a perfect spring day for surfing.
With a number of surf lessons and rental options available in Tofino, aimed at beginners and experts alike, making a decision on what will best suit your needs can be tough. One of the biggest concerns for our surfing trip was transporting the surfboard rentals from the shop to the beach via my (very) small car. The idea of surfboards flying off my roof into oncoming traffic was enough to make me reconsider the whole adventure. The Surf Club offered a simple solution to the problem by locating steps away from the beach. They provide parking, change rooms, lockers, wetsuits, surfboard rentals, and lessons all at the same location. The option of change rooms is especially important to note for anyone who has ever stopped at the Long Beach parking lot only to be greeted by multiple nude surfers.

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Like any outdoor activity, you always risk running into unpredictable and sometime unforgiving weather. Surfing is arguably one of the most weather-dependent sports you can do; if there are no waves, there’s no surfing. The best thing about Tofino is that you have multiple options for surfing locations –some more beginner-friendly than others. So, if you aren’t happy with the options at your first beach choice, you can drive 10 minutes and try the next. And because the water is always cold, chances are you will be less likely to care if you don’t get a sunny day — it’s the West Coast, there’s nothing wrong with a little rain and the weather changes every 20 minutes or so.

If you are a lover of nature, surfing in Tofino is a must-do on Vancouver Island.

So how cold was it? We expected a shock when we first got into the surf, but after the workout of getting into our wetsuits and carrying our surfboards down to the beach, we found the water to be quite refreshing.

Whether surfing in Tofino has been on your bucket list for years, you just want to try something new, or you are looking for a unique way to get in touch with nature, chances are you will not only love it, you will be hooked for years to come.

Article and photos by Nadine Biggs
Student in the MA in Intercultural and International Communications Royal Roads University