In our never-ending quest to bring you tales, tips and tickles from the Tofino surfing world, we have embarked on a new blog edition. Behold the Surf Spot Highlight. We will dive into some of Tofino’s favorite surf spots, giving you insight into what makes them so special for the surfing community here. I can think of no better spot to feature than the iconic Cox Bay.
Cox Bay is like a friend that’s always there for you. Surf graces its shorelines 365 days of the year. On a good surf day, you’ll catch everyone there from first day beginners, to local friends and families riding waves together, including some of the best surfers in Canada.
The beach’s flat topography means that waves break more gradually, allowing beginners to surf in the shallows, whilst advanced riders catch the swell further out, where it has more size and energy. It also has waves breaking from one end of the beach to the other, meaning that even on the busiest of days, it is possible to find your own zone away from the crowd.
I will use some surf forecasting terminology here so if you need to brush up on your surf forecasting knowledge before diving in, check this out.
Surfable on 1 foot swell and above, Cox bay works well on a west swell (2 - 6 feet), with a short to medium interval (6 - 12 seconds). A telltale sign that the wind will be offshore at Cox bay is that it's raining. Rain in Tofino brings with it the South east winds that groom the wave faces at Cox bay into clean peeling walls.
You can surf at Cox Bay no matter what tide, with the characteristics of the wave shifting with the ebb and flow. A low tide offers fast racing waves, with the higher tide creating more open-faced and sloping waves.
Pack a wetsuit and your surfboard (above 3 ft swell and you can bring your surfboard (or surfboards) and spend an entire day down at Cox bay with friends and snacks and a beach set up so that you can take a break between surfs, but watch out for the crows because they will eat your bagel whilst your out surfing!
Too much size and interval in the swell will often cause the bay to be “maxed out”. This usually happens when swells reach 7 feet or above, and Cox Bay becomes increasingly difficult to paddle out.
Check out North Chesterman Beach. Waves are typically smaller there as swell energy is blocked by outer reefs and islands, but more on that next time!
Blog written by Adam Tory