Tug Wave Surfing on Puget Sound

Tug wave surfing in Seattle is a unique opportunity to ride epic waves long distances on Puget Sound. Waves are caught in deep water offshore unlike freighter waves which break near the beach.  No Tugs Due to Locks Closure Until Dec 9

Waves can vary from waist to chest high and go a half mile or longer depending on the type of board or boat you’re using your surfing skills, and conditions.

You should have intermediate to advanced paddling skills and be in good paddling shape. Having surf skills helps for catching more waves.  Tug wave surfing requires SUPs 14′ and longer  or OC1’s, surf ski’s and sea kayaks.  ** If you didn’t get a wave your first class – come out again for free.

What’s the difference between freighter vs. tug waves?

Freighter wave season is Spring to early Fall due to low tides which help the waves break. These waves break on the beach like standard ocean waves.  Tug waves occur in deep water (it’s a boat wake) with no beach and requires paddling a 1/2 mile into open water.

The Inertia story on Tug Surfing  /  Seattle Times story on our tug Surfing. Men’s Journal story on Tug Wave Surfing / See my YouTube page for Seattle tug surfing videos.

Core Skills You’ll Get:

  • Where and when to catch tug waves on Puget Sound
  • Best techniques for catching these waves
  • How to catch the most waves
  • How to get 1/2 mile rides
  • How to read water and learn about Shilshole Bay
  • Which gear is best for tug surfing
  • Rough water paddling techniques
  • Water safety and open water rescues
  • How and when to catch similar other boat waves on Puget Sound.
  • Receive access to my Puget Sound Surfing Guide. Find out where surf waves on Puget Sound.


Intermediate to advanced paddlers who are comfortable paddling on open water. Previous surfing experience helps. Tug waves are harder to catch than freighter waves. Must be able to paddle 3 miles in rough conditions.


SCHEDULE:  Wednesday (2 boats) and Friday (1 boat) 1:30 – 4pm. ** No Tugs Due to Locks Closure Until Dec 9

DURATION: 2-3 Hours / CLASS SIZE: 1 – 4 People / LOCATION: Shilshole Bay, Seattle

Bringing You Own Gear? 14′ or longer displacement boards work best on these waves Also OC1’s, surf skis and sea kayaks are welcome.


Group 3 – 4 Students: 149 per person with rentals / 123 with your own gear.

2 Person Rate: 169 with rentals / 149 with your own gear.

Individual Rate (1-1): 299 with our gear / 279 with your own gear.

Rentals include: Displacement board, leash, paddle, wetsuit, booties, gloves hood, vest life jacket.

Alumni Discount: $10 off per person


If you don’t get a wave you’re welcome to come back for free for another try.  Tugs may vary or lower speed if there’s small boating traffic nearby or for engine issues.

Sign Me Up!

Covid-19 Note:  We maintain a 6′ distance on shore and on-water, recommended mask use on shore. All gear is always cleaned. 

I conquered several fears paddling in currents and surfing waves and owe it to Rob, where safety and professional instructions are Salmon Bay Paddle’s top priorities!

Margrit Ralph

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