Lake Nitinat

Vancouver Island, British Columbia


Up amongst the mountains in the north of the Island, just west of Port Hardy, the remote Lake Nimpkish enjoys nuclear winds and a real taste of wilderness – plus the bonus of catching fresh fish right off the beach. Long summer days of sailing with almost no-one else out, but rains can hammer down so do check the forecast before going. Just north of Clayoquot Sound, the hidden gem of Nootka Island is only accessible by boat or plane. Clay Hunter runs Tatchu Surf Adventures from Pebble Point, this rustic surf camp gets good wind from April to October. The whole area is bursting with places to ride, from bump-and-jump to full-on waves – best explored with a guide. On the tip of the Tofino peninsula, Chestermans Beach is divided by a long sandy point and island that make for great surf, dead-flat water and everything in-between depending on wind and swell directions. If winds are onshore at North Chesterman they can be perfect cross to cross-off at South Chestermans – a popular surfing beach, and particularly good for family groups wanting to rent a house right on the coast. The waves can be twice as big just a few minutes south off the beautiful wide-open beach at Cox Bay. A super-fun spot to ride and jump waves in a smaller swell, but winds can often be light with huge surf that’s tough to handle for all but the most experienced. A little further south-east into the Pacific Rim National Park, Long Beach is Vancouver Island’s watersports capital. This vast beach attracts all sorts of surfcraft, but even with the growing throngs of beachgoers it never seems crowded – and with miles of open sands, it probably never will. Wickannish, or Wick Beach as it’s known locally, continues on from Long Beach. Winds rarely get strong here unless a cyclone’s tracking through, but afternoon sea breezes can often reach 10-20 knots. Huge waves and strong currents mean it’s really only for the experienced. Heading inland to the head of the Alberni Inlet, Lake Nitinat is on the Ditidaht Indian Reserve outside Port Alberni. It’s a popular spot for weekend warriors, with consistent venturi winds, camping right at the water’s edge and a killer sauna. The long pebble beach is great for rigging and conditions are fun freestyle, freeride or bump-&-jump on flat water to small chop. Back on the coast, Bamfield is more of a local 'secret spot’ since it can be hard to get to and is literally at the end of the road from anywhere. If conditions are good, people often settle for somewhere else to sail on the route in, but the intrepid can be rewarded with epic conditions. As winds veer, just drive around the point to find alternative launches. Jordan River is one of the few genuine down-the-line waveriding spots on the Island, but it can be tricky to predict: since much of this south-western side of Vancouver Island is blocked by Washington State, it relies on fickle, short-lived NW swells to work – it’s pure joy on its day though. 'Kite Beach’ at Victoria is probably the most popular spot on southern Vancouver Island. It’s pretty consistent and many of the town’s workforce grab short sessions before, during or after work when it’s on. Over on the mainland in one of Vancouver’s trendier neighbourhoods, Kitsilano Beach is the best of a few sailable spots around the city. Since it’s protected by Vancouver Island there’s rarely any swell, but if it’s windy in Vancouver this is the place to head as the sweeping sands offer a good chance of a sideshore launch. Up towards the mountains, just 20 minutes south of Whistler the glacier fed lake at Squamish is favourite for skiers, mountain bikers and climbers who want a change of scene. There’s fun flat water blasting on offer, even Sir Richard Branson’s once kitesurfed here.
Kite and Windsurfing Guide
Im Landesinneren, im Ditidaht Indianerreservat kurz vor Port Alberni, liegt Lake Nitinat.
Heading inland to the head of the Alberni Inlet, Lake Nitinat is on the Ditidaht Indian Reserve outside Port Alberni.