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The Ultimate Guide To Surfing Epic Waves In British Columbia

Day 3-8 (1)

Taylor Bull and I headed out for a surf. Photo: Nathaniel Atakora


Beach-dwelling subcultures and surf towns are not the first things that come to mind when you think of Canada… that is unless you’ve been to British Columbia. The coastline of BC has a plethora of undiscovered areas that the veteran surfers go searching for. However, for the majority of people interested in surfing in Canada, there are destinations like Tofino and Haida Gwaii that are accessible and beginner friendly. Lucky for you, we are here to guide you to the best of surfing in British Columbia.


Photo: Nathaniel Atakora

Working on our synchronized stretch sequence… I ovbiously haven’t figure it out yet. lolz. Photo: Nathaniel Atakora


One of the easiest places to go surfing in southern BC is Tofino – a magical town located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This zone features wilderness, ocean views and a massive 35 km (22 miles) of surf-able beach break. While the idea of surfing in Canada (let alone surfing in the winter) might detract a few, the water in Tofino remains consistently at 10°C/50°F all year long. With the proper wetsuit and accessories, it’s surprisingly warm. Seriously, just try it.


Best of Tofino:


Surf Spots:

Cox Bay – Sand bottom, beach break

1431 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

Long Beach – Sand bottom, beach break

1441 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

North Chesterman – Sand bottom, beach break

1293 Lynn Rd, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

South Chesterman – Sand bottom, beach break

1345 Chesterman Beach Rd, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0


Surf Shops, Rentals & Lessons

Relic Surf Shop –

1998 Peninsula Rd, Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0

+1 250-726-4421

Hours: 9AM–6PM

Storm Surf Shop –

444 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
+1 250-725-3344

Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Surf Sister Surf School –

625 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

+1 250-725-4456

Hours: 9AM–5PM

Photo: Nathaniel Atakora


Surf Accessible Hotels & Hot Tubs:

Pacific Sands –

1421 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 1Z0

+1 250-725-3322

Long Beach Lodge –

1441 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

+1 250-725-2442


Tips From The Locals:

  • Come in the winter! Hotels have discounted rates and it’s when the waves are the best.
  • Get on a boat. The perspective from the water will give you an entirely new appreciation for how beautiful this part of the world is.
  • If you don’t know what you are doing, take a lesson. The knowledge you learn from an instructor will give you the confidence and skills to go out next time on your own.


Photo: Nathaniel Atakora

Hanna Scott slaying as per usual. Photo: Nathaniel Atakora


Travelling around northern BC? Why not try surfing in Haida Gwaii. Surfers have been adventuring to Haida Gwaii looking for ‘empty waves’ since the 60’s. And, with 2 hr flights to Haida Gwaii (Sandspit, BC YZP or Masset, BC ZMT) daily from Vancouver, people from the south are headed north on a whim chasing swells as it is arguably easier to get to than Tofino.



For those considering a trip to Haida Gwaii during the surf season (November to March), make sure to check out the surf forecast first and you’ll have a non-crowded line-up, world-class waves and unparalleled beauty. Although the water is a chilly 110 C, you’ll be warm in proper wetsuits (rentals available at the surf shop), which are designed to keep you warm in the Haida Gwaii waters temps.


Best of Haida Gwaii:


Surf Spots:

North Beach – Sand bottom, beach break

Towhill Rd, Skeena-Queen Charlotte D, BC V0T, Canada


Surf Shops, Rentals & Lessons

North Beach Surf

1567 Delkatla Rd, Masset, BC V0T 1M0

+1 (250) 626-7873


Surf Accessible Hotels & Hot Tubs:

North Beach Cabins –

Tow hill Road, Masset, BC V0T 1M0

+1 (250) 557-2415

All Beach You Can Eat –

Tow hill Road, Masset, BC V0T 1M0

+1 (250) 557-2415

Beach Cabins –

Masset, BC V0T 1M0

+1 (250) 626-5472


Tips From The Locals:

  • Save yourself the extra surfboard fee at the airport and just rent all your gear from North Beach Surf Shop
  • Bring warm clothes to put on after surfing even in the summer. It can get cold at night after a long session
  • Come in November for the surf celebration of the year – the annual Haida Gwaii Surfing Expression Session
  • Local accommodation will likely be easier to find at a week’s notice in the off-season
  • Haida Gwaii is a great place to find affordable surf lessons, take one to learn some energy saving skills, you won’t regret it


Like this post? Check out Bucket List: Surf And Snowboard In The Same Day and The Best Of Halifax With Pro Surfer Dean Petty, too!

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