When you think about the surfing locations around the globe, they’re usually a place that resembles paradise with tropical weather, palm trees, scenic beach views, warm water, and cold summery refreshments present. Tofino/Ucluelet is quite the opposite. On Vancouver Island, its rather cold most months and the views don’t have your typical characteristics of a surf beach. This doesn’t mean it isn’t a place you shouldn’t visit. If you’re looking good vibes and great people, this may be your vacation spot to try.
It’s always worth knowing the crowd or the mentality of people before you paddle out. People on the west coast of Vancouver Island are generally pretty helpful. For example, when we arrived in town and ask a couple of shops and people about the tide, swells and breaks without hesitation everyone proves to be helpful and knowledgeable about the beaches. People were so nice, we ended up surfing with one of our waiters the very next day at Wick’s.
Vancouver Island is north making the water cold all year long. In the summer months, the water can rise to around 55-60 degree Fahrenheit. Some of us were warm enough in a 3/2 mm full wetsuit so plan accordingly. August (also known as Fogust) visibility can be troublesome when the thick Pacific Northwest fog rolls in making it impossible to a few feet ahead of you. In talking with the locals, September has fewer crowds and better weather.
There are three main breaks:
Cox Bay (Tofino): This surf spot is closer to the entrance of Tofino. It’s a great place to learn and tons of surf shops/schools giving people lessons on the inside break. On a big day, the paddle outside can be daunting because of the consistent hammering of the wave with no breaks in between and the tide pushing you fairly quickly. This is next to Cox Lodge so foot traffic is at times busier than the rest of the spots. Bathrooms are generally clean with showers.
Wickaninnish Beach also known as Wicks (Ucluelet): Wicks was our favorite spot and spent a few days surfing this fun wave. People were getting really long rides. You can find a left or a right break depending on where you’re in the water. There is a big rock island south of the beach with a picture perfect curl, however after talking to some locals there seem to be some hidden rocks and the current can be tough around that area. Bathrooms here were some of the cleanest, I’ve seen for a publish bathroom with plenty of showers.
Florencia Bay also is known as Flow (Ucluelet): Although we weren’t able to surf this spot because of the whiteout foggy condition, some of the locals told us when big swells come in Flow has some of the cleanest breaks in the area. No showers but, there may have been an Outhouse.
Overall this is a great place to surf and visit. Other activities include kayaking tours, plenty of rainforest/beach hikes for all levels, whale watching tours and hot springs. A true surfing town with a whole lot of spirit. Let’s keep this coast pure!!!
courtesy to Long Beach Maps