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Travel Advisories

Making Waves in Ucluelet: The Inaugural Vancouver Island Longboard Surf Contest

Ucluelet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is known for many things, but surfing hasn’t always been at the top of the list. This oversight, once a well-kept secret among locals, is now being brought to light.

Meet David Schiaffino – the 2019, 2021, and 2023 Longboard Champion of Canada. Not only is he a longboard enthusiast, but he also owns Ukee Poke and West Coast Shapes Ukee. He is a well-respected local who knows great longboard waves. With a vision of bringing people together through friendly competition, building community, and shining a spotlight on surfing in Ucluelet, his hard work and dreaming have paved the way for the first-ever Vancouver Island Longboard Surf Contest. This inaugural 3-day event marks just the beginning; the hope is to build a world-class surf event and add more competition days with top athletes in longboarding.

“The goal is to bring people together, create a buzz around longboarding, and showcase all that longboarding has to offer in this amazing place we call home.”

 –David Schiaffino

Let’s set the stage: the event will take place at Wickaninnish Beach, which sits humbly on the traditional territory of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ people and stretches as far as the eye can see. Named after Chief Wickanninnish, who ruled the Clayoquot Sound in the 1700’s, the beach resides within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Roughly a 15-minute drive from Ucluelet, “Wick” beach is considered Ucluelet’s local break due to its proximity to town. Known for its playful sand dunes, expansive shoreline, shorebirds, and sometimes strong rip tides, it once housed the renowned Wickaninnish Inn, now the Kwisitis Visitor Centre (temporarily closed). Spring and Summer bring vacationers and locals out in droves to embrace the sunshine, soft sand, and of course, the ocean.


Although longboarding is a relatively new sport to grace the waters of Vancouver Island, the embrace of smaller springtime swells means more people can try their hand at the sport. Technically speaking, the main difference between a longboard and a shortboard is the length – a longboard is above 9ft in length and uniquely allows surfers to propel into smaller waves, making it an ideal sport for Spring and Summer sessions. Ucluelet is home to several great surf shops, making it easier than ever to book a lesson for the whole family with a knowledgeable local. You might find longboarding to be your new favorite sport.

From May 31st to June 2nd, 2024, the Vancouver Island Longboard Surf Contest will bring together surfers and spectators alike, proving indeed that Ucluelet is a surf destination. The weekend promises to be packed with action, celebration, and great after-parties throughout town. It is the perfect time to ignite a new passion, experience a true West Coast community event, and witness longboarding talent like never before. Get ready for an unforgettable, family-friendly adventure as Ucluelet warmly welcomes you to explore the charm of its small-town surf culture.

Sponsorship packages are still available! Email for more information. All ages and skill levels are welcome to compete, including men’s and women’s under 18, open (any age), and master (40+). Follow @vilongboardsurfcontest on Instagram for more information.

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