Photo Credit: Shaw Spotlight

Surfing the East Side

Of course, timing is everything

It’s not for everyone, but some dedicated surfers line up to carve waves on the east side

Tofino, Jordan River, and Sombrio Beach get most of the glory when we talk about surfing on Vancouver Island. 

But for the diehards, there are also winter waves to ride on the East Coast of the Island. Between Bowser and Campbell River, there are a handful of rock reefs and point breaks to surf.

When a strong southeasterly wind blows up the Strait of Georgia, dedicated Island surfers can be spotted paddling out for a session at places like Stories Beach, Kitty Coleman Beach, Bates Beach, Goose Spit and Nile Creek.

As always in surfing, timing is everything.

But it’s even more important on the east side of the Island.

Suit up too early, and the waves are too small and weak. Arrive in the middle of a storm, and you can be battling messy chop and blown-out waves.

But if you jump in the water following a powerful southeasterly, you might be rewarded with some perfect wind swell that lasts for a while after the wind dies down.  That’s the sweet spot.

YouTube video
Winter Storm Surfing in Campbell River.
Credit: Shaw Spotlight

Finding it usually requires a mix of luck and some next-level nerding out on weather apps like Windy.

Or if you’re a hodad (not a surfer), and just want to watch some hardcores lining up to carve a barrel on the east coast, then head to one of these spots on a windy winter day.

You might just be inspired to slip into a 6 mm wetsuit and give it a try.