Tofino Surf Camp
Age and memory don’t always fit nicely into a uniform box. Take for example my memory of surfing during a short stint living in Santa Cruz California. It represented my very short experience surfing but as memories go the moments I experienced in that short period are some of the most vivid. Thirty years later those memories feel like yesterday. So much time passed but the desire to get back in the water never left so when I was able to convince Sabine that we should add surfing to our sporting repertoire she relented only with the caveat that we do lessons (don’t get me started on the mid life realization that lessons serve as a key accelerator that youth can ignore).
Enter Tofino. The stars must have been aligned when the Portland Monthly covered Tofino as a hot destination for surfing. Sabine found Surf Sisters surf camp in her research and the trip was locked and loaded many months in advance.
The only negative part of Tofino is the distance. We spent 2 days getting there driving and taking the ferry from Port Angeles (with a reservation that added stress to the trip) to Victoria. The roads are windy and typically full of traffic but overall pleasant and manageable. Regardless we arrived exhausted and the fact that Sabine had been sick the week before and I felt like a constant battle was raging deep within me we arrived a tad apprehensive about 5 straight days of surfing.
Let’s cut to the chase and say that five days of surfing at three hours a day is a lot for any age. We were by far the oldest but everyone shared similar stories of soreness. The instructors were fantastic and the waves gradually increased until day 4 where the entire group experienced what the instructors called a necessary day of being pummeled.
The holy grail of the week was the “green wave” where you miraculously put together all the necessary steps; pick wave (hardest part), get in position, paddle while checking behind you, paddle some more, stand up (easier said than done), and head in the right direction. If all those steps line up you will find yourself peacefully in awe of the unfolding energy of the wave beneath you. The green is the smooth part just in front of the white wash. It’s the very moment where after miles of distance and time and event carried through the ocean transfers into the finality of a diminishing sea bed. It’s like witnessing the beginning and end of time all at once.
One week does not always bring this euphoric experience. Some only get glimpses others might get a single savory morsel only to quickly get dumped back into reality. For these disappointments Tofino offers views and food.
Sabine and I would spend each day post surf lesson chowing down on fish tacos or fish and chips. We bounced between Tocofino that distinguished themselves with the seared tuna and freshies and Wildside that has some of the best fish and chips.