Canada - freighting and surf

I have the opportunity of looking for some waves on Vancouver Island and am seeking info on tidal effects (I gather there are fairly large tide ranges) for a particular area I had in mind.  I’d be interested in a PM from someone who has surfed there.


Also, for freighting boards within Canada - any suggestions?  I could try the big companies like FedEx /DHL but thought there may be some local options for shipping from Toronto/Quebec to Vancouver.





I think Greyhound is a pretty cheap way to go for shipping.

Looks like they are all over Canada.

There’s a tide chart applet I’ve been using for years that lets you pick almost any location, worldwide. It’s called Wxtide. It may not be available for the Mac OS, but there’s also an android version. You can look up tides without having an internet connection.

Go to this page and check it out


If you’re heading up to Tofino, the local bus links with Greyhound in Vancouver (and connects with Victoria on the island as well).

Never made it up to the island with a board, but made several other trips to V.I. over the years. Beautiful, wild areas up there. The tides do make a huge difference. Breaks that I’ve ridden on the Strait of Juan de Fuca (between Vancouver Island and Washington State) can disappear on a dropping tide, and get really nice on rising tides. I think the ranges increase as you head north. Clean water from Washington on up. Not really as cold as you might think. Lots of wild life. (Cyclists get semi-regularly assaulted by mountain lions up that way - I guess the crouched-over riding position looks like an invitation to a lunch buffet.)




Thanks. An interesting site. I started reading the sailing blog as well.



Thanks also. The plan is to hire a car on the mainland and catch the ferry, but in 2 days much of the time would be consumed driving to T from Victoria, so it is the Strait I was going to explore. It was exactly this sort of info about rising/dropping tides I was interested in.  Tides don’t make that much difference where I surf.  A couple of years ago I had two surfs with Burnsie who posted here at the time. It was a bay and about every half an hour somewhere would go from a good wave to a close-out or vice-versa. I’ve also seen places that are flat with piles of rocks everywhere which transform into a surf spot on a high tide . A two day surf trip, at random dates is always a gamble - I wanted to improve the odds a little.







Depending on the time of the year (Fall through late Winter is best) the Strait can see some really good surf.

In general, the further East (closer to Victoria), the cleaner the surf gets due to the filtering effect of the narrow window. The longer period swells wrap better and get organized the further into the strait they get. Lots of rights on the Vancouver Island side, more lefts on the Washington side. Very fickle the further in you get. A stunning setting. You’ll see the snow-covered Olympic Mountains across the water on a clear day. You’ll find the rivers. Victoria is an interesting place, like a little bit of England when I used to go there, but it’s been a while, and it has grown a lot, so the flavor might have changed. Great little harbor in town with old buildings, beautiful setting.

The more northerly part of the Island cathces more southern hemi swell in the Summer (the mainland of Northern California to mid Oregon blocks them from Washington and the southern part of the island whhich angles NW to SE). But it’s a great place and can get swell any time of the year. Check NOAA buoys and swell direction against a map and see if you can match it up, mid-tide rising is usually best, and you just might catch it.


Thanks again. I’ll keep expectations low. Either way it sounds like it should be a great adventure.




Regarding freighting boards - check with the train(s) that run cross country connecting the cities.   Freight rates on trains (even passenger trains carry surfboard sized cargo) is usually reasonable, often less then buses.  I’ve shipped boards from Oregon to California for $50 on Amtrak. 

Tide swings are significant that far noth.  On my first trip to Vancouver Island, started off with some salmon fishing around the Campbell River. Docked the rental skiff on the bank of the cottage in the evening on an incoming tide.  In the morning, 200 feet of exposed rock and gravel between the now drydocked skiff and the waters edge…lol





Thanks. I’ll look into the train but probably need door to door (to a hotel).

The tides sound interesting indeed. Looks like low tide about 9.00am when I’m there.