Did you know you could surf on Haida Gwaii? Of course its not Hawaii, where you just need a surf board and a bathing suit. Our best surf is during our winter months towards the Tow Hill area. Due to the fall and winter season on Haida Gwaii being very stormy, you can catch some decent waves. You’ll need to become full seal though; with a wet suit that is 5-7mm thick, a hood, gloves and booties. This will keep you warm during those cold water temperatures while trying to catch a nice wave.
The North Beach Surf Shop is your place to go if you’d like to know the wave conditions, renting the gear or to meet some nice people! On their website, they have their pricing for rentals, buy your own personal gear (used and new), 3 types of stand up paddle board tours and also links to find out about the conditions. Their pricing for gear are based on one day or a week. For the full gear it is $40 for the day, or $140 for the week plus the added cost of surfboard or paddle board. Surfboard is $30 for the day, $100 for the week, and the paddle board is $60 a day and $200 for the week.
Once you get your gear, where do you stay? If you want to be close to the beach you’d want to choose the Hiellen Longhouse Village. They are located just past Tow hill and just before the beach access to North Beach. Their rates during the winter are $110 for the night, or $693 for the week. There is a minimum staying of 2 nights, but wood is provided, and pets are also accepted after paying the pet fee of $10 a night. Or there is Alaska View Lodge or North Beach Cabins going towards Tow Hill, along with places in Masset.
Located on-site of the Hiellen Longhouse Village is the new “Totem in the Forest” pole carved by Christian White and his apprentices, which was raised in June of 2017. If you are wanting to stretch your legs, close by is Tow Hill and the Blow Hole. Tow Hill is a 15-30 minute hike which ascends around 400 feet. On the trail to Tow Hill, it splits off to either Tow Hill or the Blow Hole. There is a loop that will also allow you to visit both spots. For the Blow Hole, you want to time the tides right while its rising so you are able to see the full power of the Blow Hole. If you don’t, its not as exciting but it is just as beautiful. There is plenty of hidden gems along Tow Hill including a old Haida canoe and some red ruby slippers with stripped socks underneath a house like off Wizard of Oz!
If you have the ability or want to go to Masset daily, you may want to buy some food before heading towards Tow Hill. There is a bakery close to Tow Hill called the Moon Over Naikoon. Moon Over Naikoon has a variety of baked goods for sale, but only accepts cash. There are a variety of restaurants and a coffee shop in Masset and Old Massett, depending on what you would like. To name them there is Charters, Sherri’s Gas Bar and Grill, Mile Zero Pub and Grill, Green Gaia, Golden Pam, Red Dragon, and Buds Bar and Grill. If you are wanting to cook your own meals, there is two grocery stores which are Delmas Co-op and Atwells Family Foods.
Hope this will help you get an idea if you are wanting to come to Haida Gwaii when its not busy, love to storm watch or just want to try the Haida Gwaii surf!