Complain about stormy weather to the locals and you’ll get no sympathy. You’ll likely be told the weather is fine and you’re just wearing the wrong clothes.

Furthermore, real storm watchers never take an umbrella – you might as well go fly a kite. They believe sunshine is boring, it’s the same thing over and over again. Besides, look what it does for your skin.

They prefer ocean spray from the mighty Pacific stinging their faces while taking solitary walks on deserted beaches.

If this sounds like your idea of adventure splashed with some with RR, drive south to Cannon Beach in Oregon or head over to Ucluelet and Tofino on Vancouver Island – it’s storm watching season.

For the past 37 years, George Vetter bundles up in his rain gear and strolls Oregon’s Cannon Beach, specifically Haystack Rock and the Needles.

“When waves hit those rocks – when the tide is at a certain point – water splashes 50 feet (15 metres) straight up and that’s impressive,” says Vetter.

This wave action also happens at Silverpoint, the south end of Cannon Beach. But even a seasoned storm watcher like Vetter can be chased off the beach in a panic.

“Always keep in mind that the beach belongs to the ocean and waves at any time can claim the entire beach,” the veteran storm watcher cautions. “Ten or 15 waves can roll in and then an individual rogue wave, also called a ‘sneaker’ or ‘king’ wave can ride in much higher than the rest of them, so make sure you have an exit plan.”

Here in Oregon you also see the power of waves. Because there’s a lot of logging in this area, occasionally logs will break free from a boom and float down the Columbia River.

Or trees near the ocean erode and an entire tree will end up falling into the water from so much wave action and wind up washed ashore. Another piece of advice from Vetter: be aware of floating logs.

“You might think that log is a good place to stand and storm watch but when the waves roll in, a huge surge can crash up to the land and all of a sudden there is no beach left,” he says. “That wave has enough force to roll or float the log you’re standing on. Having said that, watching and hearing these logs roll in shows nature’s power – it’s fantastic.”

One phenomena that happens in a wicked storm is the geyser. The mother of all waves rolls in and, as it hits land, a lot of that water has to roll back to the ocean, where it meets another wave coming in. These two waves combine to create a geyser that shoots straight up and into the air. Three ingredients are needed to make a geyser: first, a wind to create the wave; second, big waves; and lastly, a tide high enough so the first wave banks up on land.

Tofino resident Bobby Lax suggests leaving the cellphone behind – after checking whether the tide is coming in or out.

“Walking Chesterman Beach at the beginning of the day during stormy weather gets me excited and it helps me to decompress at the end of the day,” says Lax. “My fave spot is Frank Island at Chesterman Beach, which becomes an island at high tide. It’s the best place to watch both surfers and waves.”

Steph Wightman, manager at Surf Sister Surf School, loves surfing the Tofino swell in stormy weather.

“The water temperature doesn’t change much year round and it’s a great way to get outdoors in the midst of a rain storm. After all, you’re already wet,” Wightman says, laughing.

“Windy, rainy conditions often make for good surfing and you actually get hot moving so much.”

There are good reasons to visit these seaside towns besides trying out the new surf board. Storm watching season is a quieter, more relaxed time. In addition, most resorts offer amazing deals, some almost half that of summer rates.

And most provide rain gear. So get outside and stroll driftwood-piled and kelp-tangled beaches and poke around the tide pools.

Diners need not worry about businesses battening down the hatches; in fact some people prefer the culinary scene during the off-season months, without the hustle and bustle.

For instance, the population in Tofino increases from 2,000 in winter to 20,000 in the summer – when every hotel room and camp ground lot is full.

Storm watching season, you’re pretty much guaranteed both a room and a table with a view.

I prefer watching the storm and surfers in the Wickaninnish Inn lounge, nursing a single malt from their extensive whisky list, or from the soaker tub at Long Beach Lodge Resort.

The Pointe Restaurant at the Wick Inn can’t be beat for its storm viewing, but cuisine atWolf in the Fog, albeit with its view of the Tofino dock, more than makes up for missed wave action.

Since being named in 2014 Canada’s best new restaurant, it’s insanely busy in the summer, so now you can spend more time without feeling rushed.

As well, winter is prime time for fresh oysters and a big bowl of comforting chowder from a number of eateries in and around Tofino.

How about cozying up to the fireplace in a yurt at Wya Point in Ucluelet before the nearby waves lull you to slumber land? Storm watch from the Wya Point Resort’s private beach, where a 10-minute hike will take you to the famous Wya blowhole.

This tunnel, carved from thousands of years of waves, sounds like liquid fireworks as waves funnel through and then a huge ‘Boof’ like a massive whale spout as it flops back.


Updated Highway 4 Road Closure Schedule at Kennedy Hill