Kayak Tug Wave Surfing

Covid-19 Update:  SBP is open to individual and small groups to 4 people. We’ll maintain a 6′ distance on shore and on-water, required mask use on shore if not vaccinated. All gear is always cleaned. Instructor is vaccinated.

Tug Surfing Class..

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.

Waves can vary from 3′ to 6′ high and go a half mile or longer depending on the type of 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.

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 and can last up to an hour. The boat is long gone by the time the wave arrives.

Tug waves occur all year round in deep water with no beach and requires paddling a half mile into open water. I have a relationship with a tug company whose waves spreads out in a V shape about 50′ from the boat.  Click Here to Read About Freighter Wave Surfing. >>

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
  • 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.

Bonus Material

  • Receive a 3 page manual on where and how to surf tug waves on Puget Sound.
  • I’ll shoot video or stills of your experience.

Class Details:

Private Classes only

Schedule:  March – September / Wednesday (2 boats) and Friday (1 boat) 1:30 – 4pm varying per boat arrival.

Skills Requirements: You should know how to swim and roll and/or re-mount your kayak in rough water.

Duration: 3 Hours.

Class Size: 1 – 4 People

Location: Shilshole Bay, Seattle



Private Group Classes (3-4 Students): 189 per person

2 Person Rate: 239 per person

Individual Rate (1-1): 399

We recommend wetsuits or drysuits and booties even in Summer as the Sound doesn’t really warm up.  Our suits are toasty warm, flexible and comfortable. 

OK TO USE YOUR OWN GEAR. It’s best to learn on your own gear if you have it. But please don’t buy gear just for our class. Try our gear first!

+ Add Rental Gear:

  • Stable surf ski (Carbonology Cruze), paddle, leash, PFD (life vest) –  $20 per person
  • Full 4/3mm or 5/4mm wetsuit, booties, hood, gloves – $15 per person

Contact me to book a class.


  • If you didn’t get a wave your first class – come out again for free!

Skill Prerequisites: Intermediate

Intermediate to advanced paddlers who are comfortable paddling on open water ideally previous surfing experience and strong self rescue experience. 

Tug waves are harder to catch than freighter waves and require more skill. We catch these waves a half mile offshore and rides can last as long as a half mile on a good day.

Also open to surf skis and outriggers.


We can’t guarantee waves. Tug waves can be fickle. On no wave days I’ll teach you the strokes we commonly use in surfing or bombproof your current skills. Three core strokes will increase your wave count both here and on the coast. We’ll cover self-rescue, water safety and rescues for rough water conditions and where to find and how to forecast tug and freighter waves. We offer one free followup class for students who don’t catch a wave during their first class.

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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