SUP Surf Seattle on Freighter Waves
Learn to surf Seattle on freighter waves generated by fast moving ships. Waves can get waist to chest high with rides up to a minute and sessions lasting up to 45 minutes.
Beginner surfers will learn Sup surfing basics in a safe and friendly environment. Experienced surfers will learn new tricks and how to surf downwind boards.
We discovered these waves in 2002 and have since been honing our ship spotting skills and figuring out the best tides and locations to catch these waves. This is a rare opportunity to surf good waves more than 100 miles from the ocean. Once you learn where and when to catch waves, you’ll find regular surf in Seattle.
What’s the Difference Between Freighter and Tug Waves?
Freighter waves originate from fast moving ships in the shipping lane. As the ships pass, their waves head to shore where we’re waiting. Season is Spring to early Fall due to daytime low tides.
Tug waves are large boat wakes vs a beach break. Waves occur in deep water half a mile offshore. Only available Wednesdays and some Fridays all year.
Core Skills You’ll Gain
(Classes will be customized to your needs)
- Receive a Freighter Surfing Manual to learn where and when to catch waves on the Sound.
- Learn how to catch waves, turn, stop, fall safely, get back on and paddle out.
- Catch more waves with smarter wave selection, timing and placement
- Get bomber stability skills in the surf zone which will benefit all types of paddling
- Find out how to surf your race and downwinding board for longer rides from further out
- Save energy by learning easy turning techniques before, during and after your ride
- Avoid collisions and stress with others in the surf zone using Surfer’s Etiquette
- Catch more waves learning to surf small boat wakes in between freighters
- How to choose the best equipment and clothing for NW surfing
- Stay safe by learning how to fall in shallow water and stand up on your board between waves
- Refine your forward stroke so you can paddle out faster with less effort
Skill Prerequisites: Advanced Beginner
You should be comfortable paddling over boat wakes and in wind waves while standing. You should be in good physical shape as surfing can be exhausting. You know know how to fall and get back on your board. Take my SUP Basics 2 if you’re not comfortable or unsure with the above requirements.
Already a SUP Surfer? These waves will keep you in shape when you can’t get to the coast. We’ve been stumped at the coast and sometimes have had better success in Seattle! Stable displacement race or downwinding boards welcome. No super narrow race boards – you’ll spend more time in rather than on the water.
Are you a Prone / Traditional Surfer? We require that prone / regular surfers take our SUP Basics 1 and/or 2 classes to learn basic SUP turns and the forward stroke. Just being a prone surfer doesn’t mean you’ll pick up SUP paddling and surfing during this class.
I can’t guarantee waves. Freighter waves can be fickle. On no wave days I’ll teach you the strokes we commonly use in surfing or bombproof your current skills. These core strokes will increase your wave count both here and on the coast. I’ll cover self-rescue, water safety and rescues for rough water conditions and where to find and how to forecast tug and freighter waves. I offer one free followup class for students who don’t catch a wave during their first class.
I took a freighter surfing course with Rob and it was amazing! Rob puts safety first every stroke, every pivot turn all the way and opens a whole new world of SUPin for every paddler in the Puget Sound Area.
Rob is fantastic! Had a great time learning to freighter surf and as a bonus feel way more comfortable maneuvering my board.