To celebrate Gemma’s Canniversary in November, we treated ourselves to a few days in Tofino on the West coast of Vancouver Island, staying in an oceanside cabin. It was a perfect time of year for us to go, being too cold and wet for us to go canoe-camping and before we got busy with snowboarding on the mountain.

ideal surfing weather

Tofino being the surf capital of Canada, I knew I had to give surfing a try. On top of it the weather was perfect; our first few days were beautifully sunny and then the third forecast as rain. What better to do than water sports when you are going to get wet anyway!

choosing a surf school

The first thing I did when we got to Tofino was look for a surf school. This was not too difficult as there are lots. I opted for Live to Surf, located on the main highway, 4km from Tofino itself. The shop had been ”surfing” since 1984 so I thought it would be a good place to go (also a very short drive from our cabin). Live to Surf is very close to the best fish taco truck  I’ve ever been to, Tacofino, so I was happy to return to the place.

tacofino

a private lesson

No one else booked for a lesson that day (why I love going on holiday in low season!) so I ended up with a private lesson. I was provided with a wetsuit, gloves, booties and a surfboard. After getting suited us, we left for Cox Beach, a short drive away. I did have my own wetsuit with me, but since it was an all inclusive price (whether or not I used the gear), I wasn’t saving anything by using my own. It would have actually been more hassle to use my own as then I would have to dry it later!

One of the advantages of Tofino is the many coves of the area, so no matter what kind of winds you have, you’ll find a beach with waves.

surfing lessons

The first section of the training was on the beach, talking about safety, currents, the basics of a surfboard followed with some exercise on the sand.

And then finally we got into the water.  It took me a few attempts but my instructor was really helpful. In between tries, he would give me some pointers until…

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I finally got up! It probably took me about 4 goes before I actually caught a wave

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I might look like I was about to do a fancy trick here but really I was about to fall. The good thing about falling in the sea is that it’s actually fun (and doesn’t hurt!)

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I probably managed to get on my feet 6 or 7 times (in my book standing for more than 2-second counts).

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surfing success

I was really surprised at how fast I managed to stand up and to be honest it was easier than I thought it would be. I did have to stop half way through the lesson and rest a rest; surfing itself is easy, but actually reaching and catching the wave is tiring.

And on the last note, if anyone was wondering if the water was cold (it was November after all), well I am sure it was but while swimming around in my wetsuit I was nearly overheating! The best way to spend a rainy day in Tofino!

Jean Robert (JR)
Author

One half of a Canadian/British couple currently living in Penticton, British Columbia. Jean Robert (JR) is up for anything, but you're most likely to find him either snowboarding, fishing or building something.