We recently posted on Instagram, inviting you to ask us anything surf related! We’ve chosen three of our favourites to respond to in this week's blog edition.
What type of wetsuit gear do I need to surf in Tofino?
As far as brands go, We use Xcel wetsuits and have done so for years. It’s the brand we know and trust.
From May until September, you can surf in Tofino with a 4/3mm Wetsuit. This means a wetsuit that has 4mm of neoprene in the torso, with 3mm of neoprene in the arms and legs. A pair of 5mm boots is also a good option, but on many days you can go without. A hood is not necessary!
From November until about April, you’ll want a 5/4mm Wetsuit. This means 5mm thickness in the torso, with 4mm thickness in the arms and legs.. The condition of the suit is absolutely crucial - if there are any rips or tears or any water leaking through the seams, you should get them repaired or invest in a new suit for the season. In addition to your wetsuit, you’ll want 7mm Boots, 5mm gloves and a 3mm hood.
The shoulder season can be so variable! Sometimes we get an Indian Summer and you can be rocking the 4/3 all the way to October. Likewise, you might still need to bust out the 5/4mm on a breezy day in may. Take a look at current weather conditions as factors such as wind speed and air temperature will greatly impact your choice of what suit to wear. And, when in doubt, feel free to give the shop a call at 1-888-777-9961 and ask us what thickness our team is using at the moment.
What is the best time of year to surf in Tofino?
As a surf instructor, this is one of the most common I'm asked. I have mulled this question over and over. Every time I mull, I find a different answer. That’s the beauty of Tofino. Waves break consistently 365 days of the year and in my travels I have never encountered a place that does so in the same way.
But the people have spoken, and they want answers. So I dig deep and Spring comes to mind. Why Spring? Well, Spring has those magical days where a warm glow begins to envelop our beloved peninsula, yet the ocean is still alive with the lingering storm energy of a winter season passed. The whitewash is still a fantastic place to learn with one of our trained instructors, and the seasoned frothers are out the back scoring some epic overhead rides. It is a time of year that offers the ideal conditions for a wide range of ability levels.
How do you know when to move from a longboard to a short board as a beginner?
This is a question that I have received a lot when I teach beginners who are trying to progress to an intermediate level, and it contains a bit of a misconception: Novice surfers are often led to believe that the shorter the board, the more advanced the rider must be. It is easy to see how one could think this way, because fundamental techniques such as paddling and wave catching are admittedly easier on a longboard.
Further, from the appearance of the 9ft Soft-top, it would seem that this is a “beginner only” craft. But, there is a lot that separates that 9 ft Soft-top from a classic 9ft noserider or high performance longboard ridden by some of the best surfers in the world.
But, if you are beginner and truly want to eventually perform carving maneuvers like a pro-shortboarder, then you should spend a good amount of time on the longboard, dialing in your fundamental skills of paddling, popping up, surfing down the line both left and right. Once you can do these things consistently in waist-to-shoulder-high waves, play around with some shorter boards in these conditions. A 7’10” Midlength would be a good step down from there.
Once you have achieved consistency there, step down again. And so on, and so on. Most importantly here is: don’t ditch that longboard once you think you have “mastered” it. Keep it in your quiver for those small days and you will not regret it. It is an art form unto itself.
And hey, if you were to ask us, we’d tell you that even the humble Soft-top should be a part of every surfers quiver, no matter their ability level. Just check out our Soft-top Solstice edit made by our talented videographer Craig Lugsden.
Thanks for playing along. And stay tuned into out instagram account for more questions, answers, and contests! @pacificsurfco
Blog written by Adam Tory