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UVic prof's 'Geographies of Surfing' course teaches students on the beach

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Vancouver Island is a surfer's paradise, but the University of Victoria campus? Not so much.

Less than a kilometre away lies Gyro Beach, which is lovely, but not exactly conducive to hanging 10.

The world-class surf is on the other side of the Island, in Tofino.

So what's a surf-loving geography professor to do?

If you're Chris Darimont, you create a course that marries your hobby and your academic specialty.

Darimont is the instructor for a course in UVic's geography field program called "Geographies of Surfing."

It's not a surf class, per se. Participants don't have to get on a board to complete their studies.

They do, however, have to be accepted into the UVic Department of Geography's Clayoquot Sound Field Semester program, a collection of courses offered on-location along Vancouver Island's west coast. 

"(The classrooms are) the beaches and the rainforests of the Tofino area," Darimont said. "They'll learn a little something about surfing, but they'll also learn about oceanography and weather and the history and culture of our relationship with the ocean."

Surf culture, too, is part of the program.

"We'll dive really deep into surf culture and, in fact, there's a lot of surf culture right here on Vancouver Island," Darimont said.

The professor stresses, though, that the course is hard work. Hollywood surfer stereotypes need not apply.

It's also selective. The program received a flood of applicants for the current semester, but only 20 were accepted.

With files from CTV Vancouver Island's Jordan Cunningham 

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