I mentioned in my last post that this part of Vancouver Island is a surfer’s paradise. So much so that one of the tourist maps we picked up at the visitor’s center turned out to be a map of all the best surfing spots and beaches. There are several of them and most are within the Pacific Rim National Park. From south to north they are: Florencia Bay; Wikaninnish Beach; Combers Beach; Long Beach; Cox Bay; the Chesterman Beaches, south and north; and, finally, Mackenzie Beach where we’re camping.
Wednesday, we decided to start at the south end, but we first stopped at Long Beach to check out the conditions, parking next to a group of surfers who were calling it a day. Notice all the wetsuits.
This is not surfing the way I did it in Florida in days gone by. It was a rare occasion that my surfing buddies and I surfed in anything but our swimsuits – “baggies,” as we called them. Here, you’ve got to have a full wetsuit, including booties, gloves and a hood! The water must be freezing! At Florencia Bay, we got an up close look at how bundled up these surfers have to be.
In addition to the wetsuits, I noticed another thing that’s very different from when I surfed back in the 1970s and 1980s: the women outnumber the men now – Go Surfragettes!
Here’s the staircase view looking out at the break at Florencia Bay when we arrived:
It was fun watching and reliving the days when I enjoyed this sport. Even these many years later, I can look out at the water and locate the best break and where the rip will make paddling out easier, a talent that not many of these surfers seemed to exhibit. But they sure were a more well-behaved bunch than the crowd I surfed with. Maybe it’s a cultural difference.