Biting her lip my 9-year-old daughter waded out into the water right by her instructor’s side. She was 50% excited and 50% nervous, so trying to hold an anxious smile was difficult which resulted in the lip biting. She had been asking to go surfing for a long time and the day was finally here. Now all she had to do was hit the waves and officially become a surfer.

We were welcomed to Cox Bay Beach for a private family surf lesson with the Tofino Surf School. After getting geared up at the surf schools Tofino shop we headed over to the bay to hit the waves.  Owner and operator Jeffro is very passionate about getting other people, especially children out on the water and Cox Bay would be the perfect beginner’s spot for our afternoon adventure. Jeffro is a very outgoing and instructor who connected quickly with the kids. His expertise in the region and the sport put any nerves I had at ease and we were all buzzing with excitment as we hit the beach! 

Cox Bay Beach

Located at the North end of Pacific Rim National Park, Cox Bay beach is perfect for beginners to learn how to surf. The sandy shores make for easy board carrying while you scope out the perfect waves to play in for the day. The gradual sloping beach gives hundreds of feed of wading deep water which allows beginners to be able to fall in the shallow water and recover easily after a bail. I loved knowing that it was the perfect place for my kids to learn how to surf.

On Shore Training

Before we were allowed to “catch the waves” (as my 7 year old claimed) we had to stay on the beach for some practice and instruction. There was a sequence, and an art to getting up and with wax in hand they knew exactly how to take us from “rookies” with a board to “surfers” in very little time.

But No Lifejackets?

With all activities, my Momma Bear instincts came out and I was curious why we had geared up in wetsuits and booties and boards, but no life jackets! Seemed very odd to be partaking in a water activity without them. Jeffro explained that the water in Cox Bay was very shallow for a very long stretch out into the bay and that the furthest we’d be going out would be about waist deep. Also, wetsuits are buoyant, as is the surfboard everyone would be attached to. Once I knew safety was in check, we were off!

Hitting The Waves

With the private family lesson, we were given two instructors, which meant the kids each got one on one lessons and we received advice and guidance in between their sets. It was perfect as it allowed us to try out on our own as well as stop and break when we’d hear squeals and “Look Mom” moments. (Which happened a LOT!) 

Easier Than I Thought

Getting up on the board was way easier than I thought, for all of us. While the kids had a little stabilization help from their instructors I even was able to pop up on my own right away. Perhaps it’s the snowboarding or the one-foot waves we were riding, or the AMAZING lessons we were having, the sport was an easy one to catch on to and I quickly found myself grinning ear to ear with the thrill of the ride.

Let’s do it Again!

My kids were in their element, ruthlessly racing back into the crashing waves to catch the next one as quickly as possible. The only time my son stopped was to yell over to me, “We get to stay here all day, right Mom?” or “ Are we coming back with Jeffro tomorrow?” While the three-hour lesson seems like it would have been ample time we all couldn’t believe how fast the time flew and how much fun we were having.

Snack Attack

Tofino Surf School recommended that we bring snacks for the beach and I’m sure glad we did! About ⅔ of the way through my daughter was very hungry and hit the beach for some cookies and candy before heading out back into the ocean for a few more laps.

Child-Centered Program

As a Mom I was overly impressed with the quality of the family experience. Not only did this allow us to spend more time together but the instructor ratio and the way the class ran was all about the kids. So from easy to understand lessons to the timing, to what they wanted to experience, the kids felt like the center of attention and very well taken care of the whole time.


Kids Aren’t The Only Ones Having Fun

They say that couples that play together stay together and I have to say it was an amazing day on the water surfing with my husband. Even though we weren’t perfect and had our fair share of challenges hitting the waves, there was a lot of laughter and fun times as we tried the sport and got to take in our kids screams of excitement as they rode above the water.

H2O Temperature

While the water temperature was around 15 degrees it felt quite warm inside our 4mm wetsuits. To ensure extra comfort for the kids the Tofino Surf School gave the kids their own booties to keep them extra warm!


Fog Zone

While the weather in Tofino was amazing just a few kilometers away Cox Beach was fogged in. While this didn’t change our experience it did take for harder to get great photos! However, Vancouver’s west coast is regularly in the fog zone so we’ve been told that this is the norm and it should be expected to experience fog on your visit to the region.

While my daughter started off nervous and biting her lip she ended with big smiles and dying to go back. After all, Tofino Surf School had officially made her a surfer and she was ready to hit the waves again as soon as she could! The best part about surfing in Tofino is that it isn’t just a summer sport! With a season that starts in March and goes through until Novemeber families are welcome to come and surf for eight months a year! 

To book an adventure with Tofino Surf School check out their website! 

Interested in planning your next adventure? Here are some resources for you:

Sponsorship Disclaimer: While The Tofino Surf School and Tourism Tofino welcomed us on this amazing adventure, the photos and words are our own words and truly showcase our experience with The Tofino Surf School.