A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend an amazing women's formula world cup event in Vancouver, it opened my eyes to an incredible place, with great windsurfing, lifestyle and friendly people it is a great place particularly for those wanting to a bit more besides windsurfing. FLOW catches up with experienced British windsurfer and instructor Gen Morphy, who is enjoying everything BC has to offer this summer as well as introducing a women's windsurfing club:
Vancouver as a Windsurfing Destination
Vancouver, Canada is seen as a city full of all sorts of diverse cultures and outdoor activities surrounded by beautiful waterways. It is also a city where you can really get to grips with your windsurfing at a wonderful little windsurf school located right at the far end of Kitsilano on Jericho Beach.
The centre was founded by Bernard Labrosse in 1977 and he operates the centre through the Jericho Sailing School and has successfully served the public throughout that time as a brilliant safe, suitable location for beginners and those looking to improve their skills in non-planing conditions. The conditions are ‘generally’ light so do not expect anything over 15 knots. If you do get that however you will find an abundance of high level sailors coming out of the woodwork and it’s a great place to watch Vancouverites have it!!! The centre does also hold a little high performance equipment along with plenty of up to date beginner equipment available for renting as well as stand up paddle boards and skim boards.
My name is Gen Morphy and I am working out here in Vancouver for the Summer and am working at Windsure with Bernard and am keen to see any of you ladies out here throughout the Summer months if not for a lesson then you can rent equipment, so long as you are happy sailing upwind and are pretty self sufficient. I am also running a Woman’s Windsurfing sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings for those interested in meeting other ladies who are getting into the sport. So yeah do come and see us if you are in this part of Canada!! Its such a beautiful location and a great opportunity to see Vancouver from the water.
Please see www.windsure.com for more details of prices and courses available to you.
Where to stay in Vancouver
When I first arrived in Vancouver the best place to stay to be near Windsure and the nicest beaches in Vancouver was the Jericho Hostel International ( www.hihostels.ca ). You will be right by the beach with Windsure on your doorstep. If you wanted somewhere more central to town then there is accommodation to choose from varying tremendously in price and quality, you get what you pay for in this city. Definitely do not stay in the Samsun hostel, bad reputation for bedbugs. I would shop around however depending on what you most fancy doing whilst on your stay in Vancouver will depend where you stay. Windsure and the Jericho Hostel International is about 30mins bus ride (2.50$) from Downtown, so perhaps you would do a few days down by the Windsurf school and then move into downtown for all the other acitivies!
Other activities to take advantage of whilst you are in Vancouver
Yoga – There are Yoga studio’s throughout Kitsilano (Kits) and Downtown however my favourite has got to be Semperviva ( www.semperviva.com ). There are 5 locations scattered throughout Kits and the price is very reasonable at 23$ per week for unlimited classes. I am getting spoilt with the amount of amazing classes to choose from throughout the days and early evenings.
Vancouver has so much going on through out the Summer, much more than can ever write about. The best thing you can do is look up when you fancy coming and co inside a little festival with it!
Not only is Vancouver a brilliant place to stay for a good few weeks holiday, what with bike rides throughout the city ( http://www.cyclevancouver.ubc.ca ) , the hikes available ( http://www.vancouvertrails.com ) and the wildlife tours to take advantage of such as the whale watching, ( http://www.vancouverwhalewatch.com ) this City is also the gateway to so many other cool places such as Tofino (surfing Mecca of the Canada) and Seattle (the home of pearl jam, Soundgarden and many more grunge bands).
Amazing places to eat and drink in Vancouver
The Galley at Jericho sailing club serves fantastic burgers and yam fries after a great session on the water that is a brilliant place to stop into.
The Naam is an amazing Vegi Restaurant situated on 4th Ave in Kits, not far from Jericho HI that serves awesome vegi food. I am not a vegi and I love going there because the food is so fresh and there is so much of it at a reasonable price.
Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna in Downtown on Davie Street is absolutely delicious greeky food again with a reasonable price tag and huge portions!
The Marble Slab on Denman Street is probably one of the best ice cream shops I have ever been to in my life. The selection of ice creams, fillings, toppings, extras available with a freshly made waffle cone, they are dreamy!! Quite a high price tag on them but worth every cent!
The Banana Leaf on Broadway is a Malaysian Restaurant, fabulous food with such a great atmosphere and great wine!
There really is such a variety of restaurants in Vancouver for every price range and every culture you could imagine. I was on Commercial Drive the other day (another great area to wander round) and a passed an Ethiopian restaurant!
So enjoy your time if you come to Vancouver and come see me at Windsure and we can go Windsurfing!!!
Other Windsurf Spots worth checking out in and around BC...
Squamish – Those of you travelling windsurf kit and looking for a windy spot to sail in BC then Squamish is the place. It’s about a one hour drive from downtown and the drive is pretty spectacular. Unfortunately there is nowhere round and about that rents windsurf equipment to take to Squamish. http://www.squamishwindsports.com/ and http://www.tourismsquamish.com has lots of great information on the area including information on the area and other activities. The launch is pretty hazardous and when I was there I was sharing the water with lots of kiters.
So there’s not many opportunities to rent or get tuition for windsurfing at Squamish however 2 kite surfing schools offer the opportunity to rent and get tuition if you were interested.... http://www.squamishkiteboardingschool.com and www.vancouverkiteboardingschool.com
Nitinaht, Vancouver Island – http://www.nitinaht.ca This is another favourite destination for people from Vancouver to visit on the Island. Its sounds like quite a journey to get there but worth it by the sounds of the wind during the Summer months. Worth checking it out if you are here. Renting and lessons are becoming available soon according to the above website.
The Gorge, Hood River – is an infamous and very windy windsurf spot. It is relatively close, although taking more than a few hours to drive there, it is well worth the trip. It is ideal for those wanting to score some bump and jump conditions, and is a really cool little town. Taking a few days away from Vancouver to head across is highly recommended.