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Catch a wave on the coast - Metro US

Catch a wave on the coast

Photo courtesy of Dave Norona

Island Longboards owner Colin Kearns shows how it’s done off the coast of Vancouver Island.

When people think of a surfing paradise, they rarely think of British Columbia. However the outer coast of Vancouver Island is a mecca for surfers who need that wave-riding fix. The beaches between Tofino and Ucluelet are breathtaking and are worth a visit just to see the lush green forests as they meet the sandy coastline and the big blue Pacific Ocean.

Throughout the winter, hardcore surfers gather here to surf the big winter waves that pound the beaches. In the summertime, the waves are a lot smaller making it ideal for enthusiasts to hit the beach and ride some waves. The water is also a touch warmer and is refreshing on a hot day.

Although everyday surf conditions are different, Long Beach and Florencia Bay are two areas where regular surf can be found. Both areas provide easy access with ample parking and great waves for beginners to advanced surfers. Make sure to always check current conditions, rip tides, and other dangers; asking at a local shop is the best and safest way to ensure a good day out on the water.

If you’re new to surfing then sign up for a one-day lesson with a local shop. There are many to choose from and they will all provide you with a top-notch instructor, equipment, and a proper learning curve to ensure safety and a high fun factor while you’re out. Expect to pay between $70 or more for a three-hour lesson with all gear included.

If you have taken lessons then just spending as much time on the water is the best way to improve. Using a larger long board will make catching, standing up, and riding waves much easier. Softboards were created a few years back and eliminate the need for waxing your board as well as protecting you if your board hits you when you wipe out. These boards, along with wetsuits and other accessories, are readily available for rent at most shops.

If you are a keener like me then you need to own your own board. I still remember the day last year when I walked out of Island Longboards with my new NSP 8’6” (2.6 metres) longboard.

This awesome board has allowed me to catch more waves and have more fun than I ever thought possible. The long, wide profile makes catching waves a breeze and the epoxy construction makes it super durable for all my inevitable wipeouts.

When looking at wetsuits choose one that is warm, comfortable and allows maximum movement. I have had my Xcel Infiniti 4/3 wetsuit for three years and it still keeps me warm and toasty while I am out getting hammered by the waves. The quadruple bonded seams are some of the toughest in the business and I have put them to the test, time and time again, Surf’s Up!

gear guide

Women’s Xcel Inifiniti Hooded 5/4/3 Full Suit

Description: If you’re going to tackle the frigid waters off our coast then you need the ultimate wetsuit. Xcel’s Infiniti Hooded suit has quadruple glued seams with Fusion Bonding for awesome durability while providing great mobility.

Price: $439

Where to find it: www.xcelwetsuits.com

Xcel Infiniti 5mm Split Toe Booties

Description: Keep your digits warm with Xcel’s split-toe bootie. Pressure bonded tape seams, ultraspan superlight neoprene engineered to fit your foot and instep Velcro strap to prevent your foot from moving inside the boot.

Price: $69.99

Where to find it: www.xcelwetsuits.com

Dakine Patrol Pack

Description: Carry all your essential gear with ease with Dakine’s Patrol Pack. Padded laptop sleeve, ipod/sunglasses pockets, and stowable skate carry straps. It also has a removable seam sealed wet bag for your wet suit and an insulated cooler pocket for a few cold ones!

Price: $100

Where to find it: www.dakine.com

NSP 8’6” Longboard

Description: Pick up waves all day long with New Surf Project’s 2.6-metre longboard. E2 Epoxy ensures a super- durable board that’s lighter than traditional boards this size. Perfect for anyone just learning to surf or an expert fun board in the big stuff.

Price: $565

Where to find it: www.newsurfproject.com

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