It doesn’t matter if you’ve fallen 25 times, and drank half the Pacific Ocean. When you pop up from your surfboard and catch you first wave, you feel like the master of the universe. That’s how Wickaninnish Inn owner Charles McDiarmid describes surfing for the first time, and well, he’s pretty spot on.
Surfing has been on my bucket list for years now. There’s always been something intriguing about coming close to walking on water with nothing more than a piece of wood between your feet and the waves.
So where to try it? Living in Vancouver, Tofino naturally comes to mind. Tofino is the surfing capitol of Canada and one of the best places to surf in North America. It’s serene, tranquil, and a huge breath of fresh air that undoubtedly comes from its location within the Clayoquot Sound – an ancient collection of coastal temperate rainforests, rivers, lakes, marine ecosystems and beaches.
After a ferry ride and three-hour drive through beautiful winding roads, we were happy to reach Tofino. We settled into Long Beach Lodge Resort, which is set right on Cox Bay, one of Tofino’s three main surfing beaches. And, oh the views! The resort’s iconic Great Room must have had one of the best views in Tofino – with wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling windows.
We made our way to the resort’s newly opened Surf Club Adventure Centre for our private surfing lesson (bonus: which meant that we got suit up in comfort and got to avoid Parking Lot Changing).
The basics we learned were pretty simple:
- Find a clean wave (which is a nice wave not too close to subsequent tides)
- Hop onto your board (belly down)
- Paddle, paddle, and paddle
- When the wave nears the your feet, pop up, stabilize yourself and ride the wave!
Harder to execute when in the water, but as Charles McDiarmid mentioned, left me feeling like the master of the universe after 1.5 successful attempts at standing on my board. Can’t wait to catch my next wave. I’ll be back, Tofino!
If surfing isn’t your thing, here are some other activities you can try in Tofino:
- Beachcomb for treasures (and critters!)
- Go tidepooling for seastars, anemones and more
- Storm watching from November through February
- Wildlife watching from March through October
- Kayaking throughout the Clayoquot Sound
- Fish offshore waters via kayak or airplane
- Hike the many trails in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
- Golf at the Long Beach Golf Course
- Soak in natural hot waters at Hot Springs Cove