Posted on January 05 2020
Since the 1700's (or earlier) people have been riding logs on water washing into shore. Since then, these logs as well as the places we ride them have rapidly grown throughout the world, reaching locations you wouldn't imagine! You could say Washington is one of those places due to certain 'challenges' like low water temperatures, elusive surf spots, or distance to coastal areas. Sure if you've lived in southern California or Hawai'i for a few years you or someone you know most likely 'surfs' but in Washington, Seattle to be more specific, many have no idea you could even surf here or simply don't want to because of its 'challenges'. Well ask a surfer in Washington about these 'challenges' and they might sound more like advantages..
'less crowds, more waves'
The closest surf spot to Seattle is a two and a half hour drive and the water temperature there ranges from about 45-60°F depending on the time of year, so if that doesn't scare you off and you're still ready to paddle out then we would be STOKED to help get you there! But first, lets make sure you have the right gear, knowledge, and direction to surf safely and stay warm.
Lets start with neoprene. Neoprene is this amazing synthetic rubber that allows us to surf in these near freezing conditions without getting cold. Thankfully, the pioneers of cold water wetsuits like Jack O'Neill brought us giant leaps ahead of what surfers used to wear:
Wetsuits today are incredibly stretchier, lighter, and more comfortable to the point where you won't want to leave the water!
For many more options browse our Wetsuits page, but for the best fit and recommendations on the perfect suit we highly recommend coming in and trying a few on!
If you, like many, are just looking to try out surfing before you commit to investing your money on all the gear, don't fret! Urban Surf has great quality and affordable rental wetsuits and surfboards for you to TRY before you BUY! Not only are our rentals great for beginners and first timers, but our wide selection of specialty and performance surfboards are great for surfers looking to try out all kinds of boards before you find the right one! Many of our rentals are Washington made Lib Tech's such as the Funnelator, Round Nose Fish, Pick Up Stick, and more.
Now that we've got you suited up and on a board lets get you in the water! A huge part of surfing in Washington and the PNW in general is the adventure, so the best way to find surf is to go looking for it, but for now here's a couple suggestions for beaches that are a safe bet for waves, parking, and a good time.
First off is our closest spot, Westport.
If you find yourself at the Jetty of Westport you'll find more surfers than anywhere else in Washington but you'll also find space and waves for everyone. Just a short walk down the beach will get you to your own area where you can paddle out and ride one in, hassle free. For beginner and intermediate surfers, Summer months will be the best and safest time of the year to surf at Westport and as a plus, the water will be warm enough for just a 4/3mm wetsuit and no gloves!
If you're willing to make the longer drive and want more of that true beautiful Pacific Northwest experience where giant trees surround you and eagles soar above, we recommend heading to Hobuck Beach. With the stunning Cape Flattery and Shi Shi beach trailhead just minutes away. You are almost always guaranteed an incredible experience out in this secluded northwestern tip of Washington. Camping and cabins are available via Hobuck Beach Resort and are the best way to find a place to stay in Neah Bay.
Before we go, one of the most important set of rules to learn before you hit the water is regarding surf etiquette. First and foremost, know before you go! Getting into rough conditions might not only put you at risk, but others around you as well. A good way to know you shouldn't go is by checking weather and surf reports for wave size, wind, tide charts, and learning about the spot itself. Secondly, always be considerate of other surfers and the right of way on a wave. The surfer with the right of way is usually closest to the peak, the farthest out/first on the wave, or has been waiting the longest. There are plenty of waves in the ocean, so don't be afraid to let one pass and catch the next. Sharing is caring!
Surfing is a never ending learning experience, so our best advice is to keep at it and go as often as you can, because even if you didn't catch the wave of your life, you're still spending time with friends (or alone) in nature appreciating this beautiful state we live in. For more information on anything surf related in Washington or the PNW in general, don't hesitate stopping by our shop in Seattle or feel free to call us at (206)545-9463 . We hope to see you in the water soon!