Surf Seattle on Freighter Waves
Learn how to surf Seattle!
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.
Learn how to SUP surf, improve your current skills and/or find out how to catch fun local waves in Seattle.
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 80 miles from the ocean. Once you learn where and when to catch waves, you’ll find regular surf in Seattle.
Freighter Wave Season to surf Seattle with best tides is Spring – Early Fall on Wednesday and Fridays. We can work with other days as well.
Don’t need a class? Get my Puget Sound Surfing Guide to find out where and when to catch epic waves on Puget Sound and surf Seattle. The guide will save you tons of time in in looking for inland waves.
Core Skills You’ll Gain:
- 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
- We’ll show you how to catch more waves from fun 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
After Class Extras
- Instructor Follow-up After Class – We’ll send you a summary of skills you learned in your lesson as well as our favorite marine weather and tides apps.
- Receive access to our 24 video SUP 101 Online Course to review skills learned and class and many more techniques! Get paddle trip check-lists and planning tips.
- Join our Facebook Alumni Group to continue learning and for connecting with other paddlers.
- SBP owner Rob Casey is always available to help you find paddling gear, find places to paddle and help you get to your next level.
- Get a 20% discount from Mountaineers Books for any title. Or get Rob’s books: ‘Kayaking Puget Sound‘ and ‘Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers.
- Everyone gets a Salmon Bay Paddle sticker!
How it Works:
The below dates are on days where we have scheduled boats. If you can’t make then I’ll let you know in the AM on a weekend if there’s an unscheduled boat coming in.
Best Surfing Dates:
Best Days are Wednesday and Friday for Scheduled Boats: (11:00 – 2pm)
June 29 / July 1, 13, 15, 27, 29 / Aug 10, 12, 24, 26, 31 / Sept 9, 23, 28
- Duration: 3 Hours. Class Size: 1 – 4 People
- Skill Level: *Intermediate*. You should have SUP experience and be comfortable standing on small waves and chop and know how to paddle straight, remount. Take our SUP Basics 1 and 2 to prep.
- Must speak English and have basic swimming skills.
- Location: Ballard Elks Beach, Shilshole Bay, Seattle.
- Instructor to Student Ratio: 1-4
- FREE Follow-up Class for students who don’t catch a wave during their first class.
- Covid-19 Update: We follow current Covid guidance. Instructors are vaccinated.
Group Classes (3-4 Students): 189 per person
2 Person Rate: 239 per person
Individual Rate (1-1): 399
We recommend wetsuits and booties even in Summer as the Sound doesn’t really warm up. Our suits are toasty warm, flexible and comfortable.
+ ADD RENTAL GEAR:
- $15 stable board, paddle, deck bag, leash and PFD (life vest). $15 – 4/3mm wetsuit, hood, booties & gloves.
- OK TO USE YOUR OWN GEAR. It’s best to learn on your own gear if you have it. Please don’t buy gear just for our class.
- Race and downwind boards ok if stable in bumps.
Gratuities are always welcome! / Rates are non-negotiable
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 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 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.
For anyone interested in refining your paddle boarding more, this would be a great class to participate in. And for surfers craving waves midweek, check it out!