Everything You Need to Know as a Beginner Surfer in Tofino & Ucluelet
If you are planning a trip to Tofino and you are a water-lover, you may consider learning to surf while you are here. Surfing is a great workout and a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and the ocean here on our beautiful coast. There are a few things you will want to know as a beginner surfer in Tofino and we have compiled them for you so that you can get out there and catch your first wave!
Consider Taking a Lesson or a Multi-Day Surf Camp
If it is your first time surfing, it can be very helpful to take a lesson or sign up for a multi-day surf camp. Tofino and Ucluelet have some great surf schools and instructors that can get you up and riding quicker than if you are just out there alone. Your lesson will include a wetsuit and a good-sized board for you and the instructor will take you to a safe beach for beginners. Your lesson will start off with some general ocean safety and guidelines to keep you safe in the water. They will then teach you a good foundation of skills including handling your board, paddling and popping up. I would highly recommend Andy at Wick’d Surf School. He is the owner and main instructor and his group lessons are small, so you will have his full attention for the entirety of the lesson to help you improve as fast as possible. Having ocean safety knowledge and a proper surf skill foundation will get you surfing better, faster.
Get the Right Gear
The water in Tofino is cold but you will stay really warm provided you have the right gear. Wetsuit thickness requirements change throughout the year and depending on the season you may need a hooded wetsuit, and or neoprene boots and gloves. You may have a wetsuit that you use for another sport (diving, waterskiing, triathlon etc.) that may or may not work for surfing in Tofino. You can ask any employee at a local surf shop and they can best tell you whether or not you can use your own wetsuit, or whether you should rent one depending on the current season and the water temperature. With the right equipment, you will be warm and stoked playing in the waves for several hours. Head over to Relic Surf Shop in Ucluelet or Live to Surf in Tofino to get the right gear for your surf adventure.
Go to a Beginner-Friendly Beach
If you have surfed before and decide to pass on the lesson or surf camp and head out on your own, ensure that you go to a spot that is safe for a beginner surfer. Some of the beaches in Tofino have dangerous riptides and hazards under the water such as rocks. If you haven’t surfed in Tofino before, it is a good idea to ask the local experts at the surf shop which beaches are safe for beginners based on seasonal conditions. Another thing to consider when you are new to surfing in Tofino, is that some beaches will have advanced surfers in the water and if you end up in the wrong place, you can hit or be hit by another surfer which can cause injury. The best way to avoid this situation is to watch the water for a little while and notice where the advanced surfers are surfing. Situate yourself further down the beach from them and always give yourself enough space so that if you let go of your board it doesn't run into another person. There are a few great beaches for beginner surfing in Tofino, and your experience will be more awesome if you pick a beach suitable for your ability.
Trust Your Instincts
The best way to stay safe in the ocean is to tune in to what you feel comfortable with and what you do not and to be knowledgeable about what conditions are safe and not safe for a beginner surfer. If you aren’t a strong paddler yet, you may want to stay where you can put your feet on the ground. Ocean conditions change rapidly, so it is important to be present and recognize what is happening around you. If you aren’t feeling comfortable in the conditions, make your way back to the beach. You may arrive at the beach with your rental board and warm wetsuit only to find that the conditions are bigger or different from you had expected. In this case, wait it out or ask a local which beach may be a better choice for a new surfer. If at anytime you feel uncomfortable table with what is happening around you, go back to the beach and reassess.
Have the Best Time Ever
Surfing in Tofino is so much fun. It is such a great adventure to embark on with your friends, or partner during your visit to Tofino. With the right safety knowledge, you can get in the water and begin your surfing journey in one of the most beautiful places in the world! If you would like photos of your surfing experience, fill out the contact form and book a session. Good luck out there!