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Students Catch Waves over Spring Break

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By Emily Harris, Out of School Programs Manager Our Spring Break Surf Camp offered a rare opportunity for seven GNS students to experience Canada’s best surf town and to make some progress in their surfing. On Monday, March 25 Doug Tyrrell, our Marine Adventure Program Coordinator, and Emily Harris, our Out of School Programs Manager, took the students up to Tofino for a three-day surf camp, where they had two lessons taught by qualified surf instructors from Canada’s favourite surf school—Surf Sisters. For many of the students, this was their first time in Tofino and for others it was their first time wearing a wetsuit! The struggle to wiggle into a tight neoprene suit soon paid off with smiles as they caught their first waves on North Chesterman’s Beach. The first three-hour lesson covered ocean safety, surfing etiquette and technique. Afterwards, the students were hungry and more than ready to put their feet up. Endless burrito ingredients were provided to the students in our oceanfront accommodation, the Paddler’s Inn, in the centre of Tofino. On Tuesday, fuelled by a big breakfast, the surfers headed out for their second lesson on Cox Beach, which introduced how tides, currents and swell affect surf conditions, how to paddle out, and the theory of catching, riding and manoeuvring on an unbroken wave or “green wave.” All surfers managed to pop up and ride waves, and, no matter how tired they thought they were at the end of a ride, they would turn back around and get ready for another wave. It was so great to see their progression with the second lesson.  After a quick refuel, they got ready for the next adventure—a hike to Radar Hill! This hike is not for the faint hearted as it is navigates through 2km of knee deep puddles and swamps. After 90 minutes they came across the World War II bomber plane crash site that is the highlight of the hike. They finished their day off with a quiet evening and lots of food to eat, tea to drink and cards to play. Wednesday, they packed up and headed into town to find donuts from a local cafe, the Rhino, and to check out local surf shops and art galleries. Everyone got some time to soak up Tofino and enjoy its small town vibes before heading back to Victoria. A big thank you to the students who joined us on the trip. We hope to see you out in the water again soon!