Kayak surfing has been growing in popularity in the world of water sports over the past few years and we think you should join a few others and try it in Tofino. This rapidly growing water sport has all of the similar dynamics of traditional board surfing, only instead of riding the waves on a board you maneuver through them in a kayak. Many conventional kayakers or people who are looking to expand their water sport repertoire are finding the thrill of kayak surfing to be enjoyable as well as challenging.
Kayak surfing has been popular as a sporting activity since the 1920’s. In the 1960’s the first competitions occurred in Great Britain and in the 1980’s the sport began to pick up in North America. Tofino has since then become a natural choice for kayak surfers who enjoy great, consistent surf and the beauty of nature that almost every kayaker is drawn to. With Tofino gaining the title of, “Surfing Capital of Canada” in 2009, kayakers in sleeker, smaller kayaks started to appear in greater numbers than in years before.
Kayak surfing is in many ways similar to whitewater kayaking and the vessels used are similar as well as they are smaller in form. Surf kayaks however are usually made out of fiberglass instead of plastic and they are typically curved at the nose and flat at the back. The sleek design allows it to reach high speeds making it ideal for both larger and smaller waves.. This in turn, makes it easy for beginners to learn and also makes Tofino with its consistent, smaller waves closer to shore a great place to learn.
There are two types of surf kayaks; the more conventional, familiar looking sit-in model and the sit-on-top model designed for warmer water. The sit-in model has a waterproof piece worn around the waist to form a seal at the boat’s opening keeping its operator dry. In both types, the kayaker must be attached to the boat. Other kayaks are not recommended for kayak surfing as they are not as safe as the surf kayaks designed specifically for kayak surfing. Double-sided kayak paddles are also needed to navigate through the waves and surf.
Kayak surfing is a great alternative and option to those who enjoy whitewater kayaking. Kayak surfing presents its own rewarding challenges similar to the ones that many whitewater kayakers are used to only with a greater reward in some ways. While out on whitewaters, many whitewater kayakers will jar over the same wave whereas out in the open seas, there is plenty of room for everyone. Kayak surfers have an easier opportunity to drop in on waves than do surfers because in surf kayaking, it is easier to position yourself and prepare for a wave than in surfing. Navigating through tides, surf and breaking waves offers experienced whitewater kayak surfers a different yet enjoyable thrill.
Tofino is a natural choice for surf kayaking as surfing has been popular in this part of the country since the 1980’s. An area for great board surfing makes for great kayak surfing as well and few could argue a better view than the one that Tofino has to offer. Check out kayak surfing in Tofino and enjoy waves and views in a true west coast culture and create memories that will last a lifetime.
For more on kayaking check out our Tofino kayaking page.