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Surfing Cordova Bay in Victoria BC

Storms from the Gulf of Alaska generate some wicked wave power along the coast of British Columbia particularly during September through to March. Winter surfing on the west coast of Vancouver Island has a cult-like following, with Tofino, BC the heart of surf culture and the most popular surfing destination in Canada. This is due to the wide beach expanses along Pacific Rim National Park which face directly into the wild open Pacific Ocean, creating a magic potion of swirling froth, mist and 12-foot breakers. The most dangerous part of Canadian surfing is the cold. With ocean termperatures at around 10C (50F) everyone entering these waters needs to be wearing a wetsuit.

While Tofino, BC is built around surfing, offering several surf schools and learn to surf packages along with its many resorts and shops, Southern Vancouver Island is a different story. Here the island's southern tip is protected by the cradling Olympic Peninsula which offers protection from most storms. Still there are a couple of beaches where one can try and ride a wave, Jordan River and Sombrio Beach are both day trips by car from Victoria, BC. It is rare though to find conditions to align at Jordan River, perhaps only two or three times a year do the tides work out for long surf runs, but this has not stopped it from being a surfing hotspot and if the ocean is not right, well, there is always the river. Sombrio Beach in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park offers its own mystic experence, often blanketed in fog, the kelp bobbing in the heavy grey swells, one needs to heed the rocks near shore. It is a supernatural experience padding down the muddy trail in your water boots through old growth forest hearing the echoing hollow sound of the pounding surf getting louder and louder, as you get closer and closer.

Sometimes though, it doesn't matter, when you live on an island, sometimes conditions line up right in your own backyard and sometimes all you need is a playful adventurous spirit and a wet suit of course!

Cordova Bay in Victoria, BC is hardly known for being a surfing destination, and in fact it rarely even looks grey and angry, with the tide devouring the beach and its waves tossing the summer picnic logs around like toothpicks. But it happens, summer is still a ways off, and what to do on such a day particularly when you don't have time to drive 5 hours to Tofino, and your surfboard is right there, where you last left it, begging for a ride. Timing is everything -- surf's up, hang on!   

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