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Canada: On storm-lashed Vancouver Island, surf's up

December 24, 2012|By Jay Jones
  • With the Lennard Island Lighthouse visible in the distance, a lone surfer prepares to tackle the wicked winter waves near the town of Tofino, on the western shore of British Columbia's sprawling Vancouver Island.
With the Lennard Island Lighthouse visible in the distance, a lone surfer… (Long Beach Lodge Resort )

You think you know storms, Southern California? Canada's Vancouver Island--now it knows storm. The Long Beach Lodge Resort near Tofino, British Columbia, offers one of North America’s finest vistas for storm-watching.

For those wanting to immerse themselves in the fury, the lodge and other local outfitters also offer superb winter surfing amid the wicked winter waves of the Pacific Ocean.

The lodge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012, was built along Cox Bay, and its great room provides an ideal place for curling up in an overstuffed leather chair and watching the massive waves roll in, whipped to a frenzy by gale-force winds. The room pulls off the trick of being completely modern yet feeling rustic, with its Douglas fir post-and-beam construction, a massive granite fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Skilled surfers may want to don a wetsuit and and catch the monster waves that are prevalent November to March.

To accommodate surfers, the resort has built a new Surf Club Centre. Besides the usual showers and changing rooms, the place features a sauna and outdoor hot tub and its own coffee shop.

A few miles up the road in Tofino, Surf Sister Surf School and Pacific Surf School can also provide surfing packages that seize the opportunities provided by the wicked winter weather.

The easiest way to reach Tofino is on Orca Airways, which offers one daily round trip from Vancouver International Airport.

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