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Surfing on Vancouver Island

The warm summer wind pushes against your board as you paddle away from Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the current gently pulling towards the 2′ – 5′ waves. You ease through the first set and then feel your wave coming A quick pop-up and you ride the crest for most of the 200 feet back to the beach, then jump back in the water and do it again. Today is the best day for surfing.

With 35km (22 miles) of windswept, surfable beaches, Long Beach is for surfers of all skill levels. Wickaninnish Beach is a popular break for Ucluelet locals as well as visitors. The passion of the surf community ensures you get the most out of this unique experience, instilling a sense of wonder for the power of the ocean.

For the more adventurous surfer, the fall and winter surf in Tofino gets significantly bigger, with up to 45-foot swells. Jordan River and Sobrio Beach, near Port Refnrew, also offer large swells and desirable waves.

Surf the breakers of Tofino or a pipeline in Jordan River. Let the wind race you along the whitecaps of Nitinat Lake, or practice a downward dog on a SUP on McIvor Lake near Campbell River. With nearly 10,000 lakes and 3,340 km (2,137 miles) of coastline, Vancouver Island is rich with places and spaces to spend quality time on a surfboard.

Wind Surfing

If you prefer to feel the wind in your sails, the Island has no shortage of coastal breezes. Sailboarders craving a saltwater experience choose Departure Bay in Nanaimo, Clover Point in Victoria, or Willo Point in Campbell River. Columbia Beach, near Parksville, is another great option with fast winds and great waves. Freshwater fans can take advantage of Nimpkish Lake near Port McNeill, Elk ALake in Victoria, and Lake Cowichan in the Cowichan region for open lakes with big winds and plenty of space to get carried away. If the thought of catching 30-knot wind gets your heart racing, you’ll find it on Nitinat Lake, just three hours away from Victoria.

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Stand-up paddleboarding is another way everyone can experience the sense of tranquility and connection found while floating on the water. Comox Lake in Cumberland, Westwood Lake in Nanaimo, Thetis Lake in Victoria, Horne Lake near Port Alberni, and St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island are just some of the locals’ most favourite places to SUP.

Match your breathing to the gentle waves to find inner peace with SUP yoga to truly clear your mind. You’ll find classes that include board rental and instruction in Brentwood Bay, the Gorge waterway in Victoria, or the peaceful shoreline of Newcastle Island just outside of Nanaimo, just to name a few.

Learn how to master your board or challenge yourself on a massive break – there’s something for boarders of all skill levels on Vancouver Island.


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