Tug Wave Surfing on Puget Sound

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

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 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 and other waves.
  • How to catch the most waves
  • How to get 1/2 mile rides from the tugs!
  • How to read water and learn about Shilshole Bay currents and wind
  • Which gear is best for tug surfing
  • Rough water and stability techniques for paddling in waves
  • Water safety for paddling boats and waves
  • How and when to catch similar other boat waves on Puget Sound. Lots of boats to surf!
  • 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.

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 Class (3-4 Students): 159 per person

2 Person Rate: 179 per person

Individual Rate (1-1): 299

ADD RENTAL GEAR: $15 stable board, paddle, deck bag, leash and PFD (life vest). $15 – 4/3mm wetsuit, hood, booties & gloves.

SBP Alumni: $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!

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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