It’s a classic pairing you may be fond of at your favourite restaurant – and it applies to real life in Tofino!   One would think that surfers and golfers have been conceived galaxies apart, but they actually turn out to be a match made in heaven.

Both golf and surf are lifelong passions for physical and mental challenge in the great outdoors – and excelling in either sport can be amazingly difficult.  I know this firsthand from growing up in Tofino, obsessed over my golf clubs and my boards.   Benchmarking smaller victories seems to be a key to maintaining a positive outlook and leading to further progression. Adjusting expectations to hitting one great golf shot a day or completing one smooth maneuver per session will do wonders for both a surfer’s and a golfer’s frame of mind. And successfully accomplishing both of these difficult feats? Utmost satisfaction, and a big high-five from me to you.

Come summertime, surfers in Tofino have learned that prevailing westerly winds and a lack of swell tend to tame waves down to glassy – or flat – conditions by midday. Conversely, one of my struggles on the golf course has always been playing in the morning, due to the stiff, “just rolled out of bed” muscles enveloping my swing.  See where I’m headed here? What could possibly loosen you up for a midday round of golf better than a sunrise surf session? By getting out for an early surf, you are accomplishing such a great list of things: efficient hangover cure, being among the first surfers in the water, avoiding those onshore winds, and above all, giving those sore arms and back nearly the greatest golf warmup possible.

Although our westerly wind clearly affects ball flight as well, I’ve always thought of it as just another fun element of play for all coastal golf. Hole 5 at Long Beach Golf Course is a prime example of that, as you will hit anything from a 7-iron down to a 3-iron, purely dependent on wind. What is a fairly straightforward par 3 often turns into a very challenging bogey because of this. That said, the par 5 fourth hole can make you feel like Superman (or woman) off the tee, as slight golfers with an equally slight swing are often sniffing at the green in two strokes with their wind-aided long bombs.

With mild coastal temperatures that differ immensely from those in the rest of Canada, Tofino is one of the only places in the nation which affords the luxury of surfing and golf on the same day year-round.  While stepping up to an early morning putt, the deep rumbling of the waves at Long Beach is the loudest sound I’ll hear.  It’s a welcome reminder of just how close the ocean is to the course.

The next time you find yourself complaining of stiffness on the golf course or in the water not quite feeling it, do yourself a favour: combine golfing and surfing in the correct order and all problems will be washed away.

Photo credit:

Born and raised in Tofino, 25 year old Noah Cohen is a professional surfer who takes his love of surfing around the world when he isn’t writing pieces like North Of Nowhere for Surfer Magazine – or golfing.  He acted as Event Ambassador for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada professional surf competition in 2010 and rode his way to first place in the 2011 Rip Curl Stew Tofino (now the Rip Curl Pro Tofino).  


Updated Highway 4 Road Closure Schedule at Kennedy Hill