Let’s set the scene: picture paddling along the pristine shores of Tofino in your cozy wetsuit, breathing in the intoxicating sea air, cruising by towering forests and eagle’s nests, wait…there’s a seal. All this while getting a great workout standing up on a paddleboard; the fastest growing water sport in the world. Sounds like all these boards need is cup-holders to be the perfect vacation sport!
Paddleboarding has actually been around since the 1960s in Hawaii when instructors would paddle out on their long boards to take photos of tourists learning to surf. Then surf gods like Laird Hamilton made it hip in the late 90s, California caught on, it spread to coastal destinations around the globe, and now thanks to local entrepreneurs like Catherine Bruhwiler, it can also be enjoyed in Tofino.
Catherine started teaching surfing in Tofino when she was 13. As soon as she was old enough to go exploring she moved to Mexico and fell in love with other water sports – especially standup paddleboarding – which she watched explode in popularity and get shortened to SUP. She was hooked, and so in 2010, she brought it back to her hometown and launched Tofino Paddle Surf.
When asked about the appeal of SUP, Catherine said joyfully, “I’m a born surfer, but to me, paddleboarding is one more way to be on the water. Only consistently standing instead of sitting or laying down on a surfboard. Anybody, any age can do it. In fact, I think I’ll be paddleboarding until I’m 100. It’s a timeless, leisurely sport that’s so relaxing, and we make sure we set everyone up for success.”
Lessons involve beach instruction then teaching on the waters of Mackenzie Beach. Minutes from Pacific Sands, it’s a beach sheltered by offshore reefs and islands which makes it the perfect intro to flat-water paddleboarding.
Check out our Pacific Paddle Board Package for a great way to combine a magic Pacific Sands experience with SUP including lessons for two.
From the wave-crashing spectacle of Cox Bay in your Pacific Sands beachfront suite to walking on water with the pros at Tofino Paddle Surf, consider it a full-circle moment with nature.