Daily Archives: October 6, 2011

Vancouver Island Surf Trip

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Just back from spending four days surfing off Vancouver Island between Tofino and Ucluelet.  Lucked out with the weather and ocean conditions, both were better than the seasonal average according to local surfers.

DAY ONE: 3 Meter Seas with short periods; kind of like surfing a washing machine.  Spend most of the morning in the slalom boat getting crushed by tubes.  Called it quits in the morning after a couple end-over-end trashings.

Tried to do a flatwater workout on the ski in the afternoon but ended up spending the session surfing a sea rapid close to Tofino.  This rapid formed at the mouth of an inlet on a strong ebb current, glassy 2-3 foot stationary standing waves.

DAY TWO: My first surf ski swim.

Absolutely a great day of surfing on the ski.  I got crushed when the breaker I was sidesurfing after trying to outrun it reformed and broke over me.  10/10 good trashing,  I learned the hard way why you do NOT want to be connected to a leash in shorebreak conditions.  Having a tight footstrap kept me in the boat many times while getting bounced around, but it took me a while to pull the feet out of the straps during my thumping.  One of the best kayak workings in a long time, definitely should drink a beer out of an old booty for this one.

DAY THREE:  Probably the best surfing conditions.  2 meter west swell with long periods between waves.  Long 30 second rides on big glassy waves prior to the wave breaking. Lots of sprinting to get up and over incoming waves on the way out to sea.  Doing laps around stand-up surfers, felt like a nonstop interval workout.  Most challenging thing was trying to hit the breaks at the last second at the top of a wave after sprinting to get through it on the way out to sea to prevent going 5-6 feet airborne & slamming down on the flat behind the wave.  Spent close to five hours eating-up the good conditions and definitely was worn-out at days end.  Thank you Keith Fenn for making such strong boats!


Mellow surf conditions, we decided to go for a beach run followed by bodysurfing (high pucker factor for swimming on Oct 1st in the open ocean off Canada!), then played tourist and checked out an active salmon run with resident bears feasting on the fish and had a lazy trip back to the return ferry.

Most of the good surf was centered around getting the swell as it builds close to land before it breaks.  Consistent 4-6 foot waves with some bigger giants tossed in to keep you on your toes.  Best aspect of this trip was flying down the waves moments before they explode and trying to keep ahead of the foaming mess after they crash.  Local surfers were saying the last four days were better than average, I’d give it a solid ‘B+’ rating with the right conditions and definitely plan on returning for some more late season action.  Got to come here ready for a little carnage though…