coastal british columbia  

seasonal weather + X rubber = comfort zone  

Vancouver Island Seasonal Weather
and the rubber that lets us play in it

This is a totally unscientific synopsis of seasonal weather on the Island, and the rubber I use to stay comfortable in it.

1997 original text
1998 addendum


We get lots of rain in the winter here. I bet you've heard that before. As a rule of thumb, if its cloudy its warm, up to 15 C. If its sunny, it's going to freeze, at least at night. The Pacific ocean has a great moderating effect on our Island weather. The coldest temps usually come in January. If the weather is blowing up from the south we can expect above freezing temps in the 5 C to 8 C range in the day, and down around freezing at night. We occasionally get arctic outflows, which are air masses that flow down the mainland mountains and funnel out over the lower mainland and over to the Island. As these air masses cross the Straight of Georgia they pick up moisture and dump snow on the Island. This last winter we had a prime example of this most distasteful phenomenon as record snowfall paralysed the Island for several days.

Ocean temps range from about 8 C to 11 C.

I tend to surf on the warmer days. An O'neill 4/3 XTS is what I use, and in the winter I am very happy to have a hooded, sleeveless vest to to go under it. Keeps me toasty when others shiver. Having the hood attached to a vest precludes those nasty cold flushes down the back.
For the winter of 97 - 98 I purchased a hooded Rip Curl 5/4/3. This suit is much warmer than the O'neill, especially when getting worked and punching out. Far less flushing.

There are great winter days when the sun comes out and the air temp goes up to 14 or 15 C, the wind drops, the swell holds, and the Great Architect smiles down upon us.
Jan 30 1998 17 C in Tofino today


Spring arrives early on the Island by Canadian standards. It is mid February as I write this and the flowers are emerging. We can still get a little frost in the mornings, if the weather is clear, right through March. Day time temps in the spring range from 10 to 15 C, but we are prone to short cold snaps.

Ocean temps range from about 8 C to 12 C.

I will still wear my hooded vest, boots and gloves right through to April. The hood will start to come down on days in March, the gloves come off in March or April, and by May the vest and boots are shed.


Summer temps range between 15 and 25 C. When the Jetstream locks in overhead, the sky can stay clear for a month straight. The garden always suffers from drought. It can get pretty warm, but there always seems to be a soft breeze to keep you comfortable. Blistering heat, like landlocked areas experience, is rare but possible. This perfect beach weather usually means flat ocean. Weeks of nothing but ankle snappers. Ocean temps range from about 12 C to 16C.

My O'neill 3/2 can get a little warm this time of year. I pull the neck seal open and regularly have a cool flush. There are lots of swimmers and the occasional surfer without a suit this time of year. In mid August we were sweltering in our suits. Two guys in the lineup were down to their underwear, and one guy, well I guess he forgot his underwear. There were several weeks when you didn't need rubber. Usually if you want to stay in the ocean for any length of time a suit is necessary. Unprotected, the body loses heat faster than it can generate heat in water about 24 C. In protected coves and shallow beaches the surface ocean temps can hit 20+ C, but the surfing areas have to much mixing to reach such temps unless the water goes dead flat for a few very hot days in a row.


My favourite time of year. We often get long stretches of clear warm days, with a little frost in the morning. The fall mists move in and the air seems crisp and clean after the summer heat. Temps run from 10 to 20 C. I first found this Island in the late summer of 72. The sun beat down and the rains did not start until November the 10th that first amassing autumn. The storms out in the Pacific will start kicking up and sending the first ground swells of the season to the West Coast. Bless them.
It's been a long flat summer.

Ocean temps range from about 16 C to 9 C. The ocean will stay warm into late November and as long as the air temp stays warm I will not need vest boots or gloves. El Nino made 1997 a very warm autumn in the ocean.

See you out there Cam

Example      Temperatures       Vancouver Island        South 

                 Jan    March    May      July     Sept     Nov    Annual
Min. Temp. (C)  -0.1    1.7      6.9     10.9       8.8     2.8     5.3
Max Temp.(C)    5.9     9.8     16.8     21.9       19.2    9.6    13.9
                Jan    March     May      July      Sept     Nov    Annual

Min. Temp. (F)  30      34       42        52        48      37      41

Max Temp.(F)    32      50       62        72        67      50      58

Conversion tables            Stig Arne Bye      Kirkenes, Norway

Celcius to Fahrenheit      Fahrenheit to Celcius
---------------------      ---------------------
  100C  =  212F            230F  =  110.0C
   90C  =  194F            210F  =   98.9C
   80C  =  176F            190F  =   87.8C
   70C  =  158F            170F  =   76.7C
   60C  =  140F            150F  =   65.6C
   50C  =  122F            130F  =   54.4C
   45C  =  113F            120F  =   48.9C
   40C  =  104F            110F  =   43.3C
   35C  =   95F            100F  =   37.7C
   30C  =   86F             90F  =   32.2C
   25C  =   77F             80F  =   26.7C
   20C  =   68F             70F  =   21.1C
   15C  =   59F             60F  =   15.6C
   10C  =   50F             50F  =   10.0C
    5C  =   41F             40F  =    4.4C
    0C  =   32F             32F  =    0.0C
   -5C  =   23F             30F  =   -1.1C
  -10C  =   14F             20F  =   -6.7C
  -15C  =    5F             10F  =  -12.2C
  -18C  =    0F              0F  =  -18.0C
Stig's table was longer than this but temps below 0 F 
are of no interest to me. I just don't want to even 
think about them.  

Conversion formulas

- From Celcius to Fahrenheit:    F = (C * 1.8) + 32

- From Fahrenheit to Celcius:    C = (F - 32) / 1.8