It’s been well over three years since either Jesse or I went surfing – that’s a long time for us. Having grown up in coastal cities in New Zealand, we both find ourselves overcome at times by the realization that we are well and truly landlocked here. Our only consolation is knowing we can jump on any number of flights (thanks WestJet!) and spend a weekend on the coast.
Which is what we did Friday morning.
To celebrate our wedding anniversary (five years!) Jesse surprised me with a ticket to Comox – a small town on the coast of Vancouver Island, with a well-thought-out plan to rent a car and cross the island to Tofino, to experience what some consider the best surf in Canada. When Jesse suggested this a few months back I thought it sounded a fine idea, as at the time it was 30 degrees (positive) and clear blue skies.
To surf in Canada in the middle of winter could border on crazy. But Jesse couldn’t understand how this might seem strange (he surfed year round in Dunedin, with snow falling on the beach and all) and I was eager to experience the energy of the ocean again, and so we donned 5mm wetties with 7mm booties and hoods, rented longboards and hit the waves well before the locals had risen.
We set out before dawn, determined to catch the surf at its best. Shivering, standing in pouring rain, we observed the surf at each break. The surf was gnarly (large and dumpy) at most of the beaches. Just as the sun was rising we found a little sheltered wave at Mackenzie Beach, a break that only exists when the incoming waves are huge. It happened to be stormy on this weekend, with consistent pouring rain and winds. A small break suited us just fine, especially with the off-shore winds and a wave that peeled all the way to the shore.
With the sun barely above the horizon we entered the cold waters of the Pacific ocean. The joy of being in the ocean again… I could barely contain my awe. Jesse grinned like a Cheshire cat as we paddled out to the break. The water felt warm! Canadians know how to dress for the cold – the wetsuits were epic at keeping us toasty for the couple of hours we paddled, and floated, and giggled, and rode waves into the shore.
As always, the best part of the surf was the feed afterwards, and naturally, we hit up the famous Tacofino food truck! The remainder of our weekend was spent exploring Tofino – the food, the hikes, the views, the artisan chocolate, the local brew coffee, the salty air and the dampness reminiscent of NZ… all of it invigorated by our time in the ocean.