Ocean EcoSUP 101

Ocean EcoSUP 101 - by Catherine Bruhwiler & Neil Gilson

"Three days of SUP Touring, SUP Surfing and exploring coastal ecology! Whether you are new to the ocean or not, there's no better way to immerse yourself in Canada's spectacular West Coast!”
Are you ready to move from inland waters to the open coastal environments of large lakes and oceans? If you are, learn how SUP touring, the ocean environment, SUP surfing and coastal ecology all come together in this fun and info-packed, three-day adventure-education program!
Learning about wind and waves, tides and currents, coastal climate and topography becomes your foundation for understanding how the ocean environment works. Daily sessions of SUP surfing and touring immerse you in that environment where your new knowledge is applied to improving your ocean paddling skills, while staying safe and maxing-out your fun and adventure on the water.

And in turn, the combination of new skills and knowledge gives you the opportunity to discover more of, and connect with, the intertidal creatures, marine mammals and temperate rainforest that make up the amazing diversity of our coastal ecosystems!

So… whether venturing out onto the ocean for the first time, or seeking a more well-rounded foundation of skills, knowledge and experience, Ocean EcoSUP 101 is for you!

Is this the course for you?

If you want to get out on the ocean to SUP Surf, SUP Tour, downwind paddle or explore our coastlines then YES - this is the course for you! If you have completed one of our   Core SUP skills   courses or equivalents, such as the Paddle Canada Advanced SUP Skills courses, then you are ready to head out with us on Ocean EcoSUP!

More Detail...

  • Prerequisites: One of our Core Fundamentals Programs or Paddle Canada Advanced Flatwater Stand Up Paddleboard Course or equivalent. Contact us if you are not sure about your skill level or experience. We’ll be glad to help you with finding the right course path for you!
  • Includes: 3 days of theory, environmental education and on-water instruction by Catherine Bruhwiler and Neil Gilson
  • 5: 1 Student to Instructor ratio: giving you the best in personalized instruction and feedback
  • All technical paddling gear: – please see our Gear and Clothing tab.

Please note that the course does not include personal clothing or gear, food, or travel – please see our Gear and Clothing tab.

Course Cancellation: It is rare that we cancel a session due to weather considerations however we will do so if, in our judgement, the conditions are dangerous or are likely to present a poor learning environment.

Course Agenda and Curriculum

  • SUP Surfing - boards, paddles, clothing, surf etiquette, reading the surf zone, foot positions and stance, bracing, breaking out through the surf zone, acceleration and catching waves, hazards and decision making, weather and water conditions, surf forecasting
  • Coastal SUP Touring safety - board design, equipment and outfitting, group management, communication, self-rescue and towing
  • Coastal SUP Touring Skills - stroke efficiency and pacing, foot positions, trim and balance, paddling in wind and waves, paddling with gear on-board, upwind and downwind paddling
  • Coastal SUP Touring planning and decision making, risk management, route planning, map and chart navigation, coastal paddling, tides and currents
  • Coastal ecology - wind and waves, tides and currents, coastal climate, west coast topography and bathymetry, island weather, the intertidal zone ecology, marine mammals, temperate rainforest ecology, plants and animals
Attention: Although we do our best to work through all course content, please note that logistics, location, timing, itinerary or anything else, may be adjusted by your instructor to ensure group safety, comfort and success, over the duration of the course.

  • Location & Logistics

    Our course is based out of Tofino BC on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Specific daily surf and tour locations are group and weather dependent. Instructors make decisions on routes and locations based on group experience, weather and water conditions and safety as our first priority - See Map.

    Course start time: TBA. Please arrive about 15 minutes early, so that you are unloaded, changed, and ready to begin at the start time. Arriving late will cut into your instructional time, and that of others on the course.

    We suggest that you bring high energy snacks and drink with you, and a lunch. On cool days we especially recommend bringing a thermos with a hot drink.

  • Gear & Clothing

    We provide the technical paddling gear that you will need appropriate to the course as part of your course costs:

    • Brand name paddleboards by Badfish, Boardworks, Red Paddle
    • Adjustable paddle, leash, lifejacket, signal whistle, throwbag.
    • You are welcome to bring and learn on your own paddling gear if you have it. (Please note course fees remain the same.)

    You will need to bring your own personal gear and clothing for the session:

    • Cold water immersion clothing is a must: as a minimum we recommend a shorty style neoprene wetsuit or one-piece neoprene paddle top combined with neoprene shorts or leggings. And thats for warm weather conditions. See our Gear and Clothing Primer for more information!
    • For warmer conditions: quick-dry or warm-when-wet outdoor athletic gear. Think paddle tops, rashguards, breathable hiking layers, merino wool, boardshorts ,athletic swimwear.
    • Insulating layers, weatherproof shell layers
    • Towel and warm, dry change of clothes (just in case!)
    • Secure protective footwear such as water shoes, paddle shoes, neoprene paddle/surf booties or sport sandals.
    • Headwear: sun hat, toque (warm hat), sunglasses with straps
    • Any personal first aid, medications, sunscreen etc
    • Waterproof and floatable camera
    • High energy snacks, drinking water.
    • Secure protective footwear such as water shoes, paddle shoes, neoprene paddle/surf booties or sport sandals.
    • For Surfing - A full long sleeve, neoprene wetsuit, or paddling dry suit. Neoprene booties, gloves.

Course Location

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