I found surfski paradise. I just spent 3 days at the Pacheedaht camgrounds in Port Renfrew on the west coast of Van island. It's only an hour and a 45 min from the Duke Point ferry in Nanaimo. This is a no frills campround on 2 kms of pristine white sand in a big bay. This is where toddlers can run naked, dogs can romp freely…yep no leashes required and you can be barefoot the whole time. Tents can be pitched on the sand wherever you please and campfires are allowed on the beach. It costs $ 15 a night and that's only when they decide to come collect, the natives that own this place are very laid back and friendly. There are fresh water pumps to rinse off, but you should bring drinking water.
Everyday like clockwork the winds pick up at 10;00 AM. You can paddle out about 5 kms to a point just before the winds pick up and wait on this little sandy beach for the waves to pick up and surf straight back in. Or just do in and outs when the surf really builds up in the afternoon. I got wiped out by shore break the first day trying to launch.
The three days I was there we did not have any fog. The locals said when there is fog it gets blown out by 10:00 AM. This would be the perfect venue for a championship race. I plan on spending many weekends there this summer.
Next summer some of you hardcore surfskiiers need to visit this place called Port Renfrew on Vancouver island's west coast. I spent several camping weekends there this summer and just got back from another.
This weekend had the biggest waves of all. 8 - 10 footers and no wind and lot's of sun. I have no idea where they came from. Surfers said this was the best week for them and they were impressive to watch. Port Renfrew has a 3 km wide sandy beach. The bay is rectangle shaped and about 7 kms long. The waves seem to funnel in. On Sat(urday) you could see the occasional log being thrown airborne in the surf zone. I did not venture out that day as I was the only one with a surfski there…would have been fun with a group though. Today was better with 6 footers offshore that ran straight into the bay…no current or washing machine sections…just nice waves in a straight line. I had lot's of fun doing in and outs.
Might head out again next weekend. It has a very nice no frills campground…pick a spot and pitch your tent on the sandy beach, and it's really cheap…$ 15 a night.
I'll second Kathleen's recommendation. We just spent a week in Barkley Sound, and it was the shiz-nit!! We were touring in our double sea kayak, but the swells were marching up Trevor and Imperial Eagle Channels. One day we surfed the flood, swell, and wind chop up the east side or Tzartus Island (about 5 miles). Since then I've been dreaming of a big downwinder from Cape Beale to the mouth of Alberni Inlet (about 15 miles), or from Bamfield all the way to Port Alberni (about 35 miles). The road to Bamfield is long and rough, but you could catch a ferry from Port Alberni. Also, Pachena Bay near Bamfield appears to be similar to Port Renfrew, with nice camping, and long out and back surfing potential.
The Deer Group was fantastic for exploring and relaxing. Caves, waves, tunnels, arches, absurdly big sea critters… galore, and no other people. Unreal.
Derek wanted to do the downwinder from Bamfield to Port Alberni and had the same idea as you Don. Take the ferry and paddle back. Maybe we can plan this for next summer.