With the letters T and U standing next to each other in the alphabet I didn’t want to write the same post two days in a row. After failing to find another option for either letter I finally decided to embrace this redundancy instead of fight it. Today is the first of a two part series featuring the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island.
Sandwiched between the seaside towns of Tofino and Ucluelet is Pacific Rim National Park. Home to Long Beach, a protected piece of sandy shoreline and one of BC’s best beaches. Many activities attract visitors to this section of Vancouver Island year-round, including fishing, whale watching, kayaking, camping, hiking, swimming, and beach combing, however recently Tofino and Ucluelet have both seen a spike in tourism due to two very different industries – surfing and storm watching. Both of which have grown out of the harsh Canadian weather that crushes the province’s western coastline.
Within the last decade Tofino has found it’s place onto the surfing circuit. With 35 kilometers of surfable beaches in and around the town, Tofino has embraced the surfing culture. The town is laid back, in touch with nature, and a great place to unwind and get out on the water.
While the stormy Canadian weather and temperate coastal climate allow surfers on the water year-round, the average temperature in the area is a cool 10 degrees Celsius, meaning a full body wetsuit with booties is recommended. As for the waves, storms originating in the Gulf of Alaska generate many of the waves that slice into the BC coastline. However swells also make their way over from Japan. Twelve foot waves aren’t uncommon in the gusty prime surfing months from September to March.
In 2009, Tofino hosted Canada’s first professional surfing event, the O’Neill Cold Water Classic. The event has been held annually each year since this inaugural event and continues to highlight Tofino as Canada’s best surfing destination.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s post when we continue talking about this area with a focus on storm watching in Ucluelet.