Friday, February 26, 2010

Surfing Capital of North America?

The people who've been surfing on the west coast since the late 1960s must be cringing with the news: Outside Magazine has named Tofino the surfing capital of North America. This, of course, is not necessarily good news in everyone's opinion. I am not a surfer, but I know enough of them — especially some of the older ones — to know this might just seem like the final nail in the coffin rather than "great news." I know, I know, surfing has done a lot for our economy and image (and it's great for our kids, too) but there's a good reason surfers like to keep their breaks out of magazines. I realize the secret was out years ago, but I still suspect a lot of the people who began surfing when you had to drive to California to get your gear would wish that most people would keep their surfing experiences to the virtual kind, something more akin to this...

Here's a blurb on the announcement from the venerable As It Happens, which you can listen to here.

Since fewer Canadians than expected seem to be owning the podium, it might be time for more of us to consider owning a surfboard. And we don't even have to leave the country.

Outside Magazine -- a magazine devoted to outdoorsiness -- has named the village of Tofino, British Columbia the continent's surfing capital. As the magazine puts it, "The best surf town in North America is in Canada. Who knew?'

Well, among many others, Peter Devries knew. Last fall, the Tofino resident beat out a hundred-and-forty international competitors to win the O'Neill Cold Water Classic in front of his hometown fans. It was the first time a professional surfing competition was held in Canada -- and Mr. Devries became the first Canadian to win a professional surfing event.

Since then, the popularity of Tofino as a Canadian surfing destination has snowballed. According to a Tofino tourism website the growth of surf culture there can be attributed to a number of essential factors, including: surfing is fun; surfing is cool, and everyone looks better in a wetsuit. To which we respond: who knew? Besides Stockwell Day.

Whatever the reasons, we are thrilled that Tofino B.C. is riding the wave of surfing. Once the current influx of tourists are through watching Olympic officials hanging medals on athletes, we strongly encourage them to stop by Tofino and try hanging ten. After some lessons and a wetsuit-fitting that is. We are also thrilled to have an excuse to play some surfing music. Here's Dick Dale with "Miserlou".

I'm curious. What do you think of the news?

[Update: I was curious to see exactly what was written in Outside. Wow, what a lot of press came of these 15 words: "Tofino, Vancouver Island. The best surf town in North America is in Canada. Who knew?" (That's the "article" in its entirety as part of the Editors' Choice Awards)

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