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The Break Breakdown

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We’ve taken you through surf forecasting in our previous blog (link), now let’s apply that knowledge to our local breaks. 

This surf break ‘breakdown’ gives you some insider tips on some of the best surf spots in the Tofino area.

For each spot, we have provided a summary as well as details on the ideal swell and winds. Please note that I have left tides out as I don’t consider our surf to be extremely tide dependent; I have seen each of these spots produce epic surf on all kinds of tides.

North Chesterman Beach


This is one of our favourite surf breaks when the larger swells of fall and winter make breaks like Long Beach and Cox bay too large and chaotic to surf. Frank Island, Lennard Island, and Wick Island shield North Chesterman beach from the brunt of those larger swells, creating smaller, more manageable waves. Don’t be complacent, however, as the steep sandbars formed here can make for a powerful wave and strong currents year round.

Swell Exposure: West to South, ideally more than 6ft to produce fun waves.

Wind: North East to South East

South Chesterman Beach


Behold a Tofino summer classic. The long interval south swells and the prevailing North West winds this time of year make this beach very consistent, with steeper waves on the lower tide and a mellower peeling waves on the high tide. The left breaking wave at the south end of the beach produces steep more advanced waves, whilst the swell size tends to decrease as you head towards the north end closer to Frank Island.

Swell Exposure: South to South West

Wind: North West











Cox Bay


There’s always a wave at Cox Bay. The bay’s open exposure to the Pacific Ocean, yet slight protection from Cox Point to the south and and Frank Island to the North make for a remarkably consistent surf break. In the summer, we have the ultimate beginner waves by the Maltby access, with more powerful surf towards the north end, known as ‘the corner’. In the winter, it if often too gnarly to surf, and we are looking at those spots like North Chesterman beach. However the stars can align at Cox Bay even in the winter to make huge and epic surf.

Swell exposure: South to West Northwest

Wind: Northeast to Southeast

Long Beach


A sunset summer session at Long beach is highly recommended for intermediate to advanced surfers. During this time of day in the summer, the winds can die off to produce some glassy goodness around Lovekin and Incinerator rock. It works on similar conditions to South Chesterman, although it is also more exposed for those west swells.

Be advised of the hazardous currents at Lovekin Rock. Avoid surfing at Long beach if you are a beginner surfer.

Swell Exposure: West to South

Wind: Northwest to Northeast

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