Hammersley Inlet Tidal Paddle

Hammersley Inlet Tidal Paddle

Hammersley Inlet is a 11 mile tidal inlet in South Puget Sound near Shelton. Paddlers call this winding route the ‘Hammersley Shuttle’ or ‘Shuffle’ for the tidal current push allowing for a nice glide with current.

Back eddies and eddy-lines add a little spice or challenge around the various bends and curves at Skookum and Libby Points and Cape Horn.

Enjoy beautiful shorelines, oysters along the way with forests of fir, cedar and madrone trees above!

The route is roughly a 14-15 mile paddling trip in swift tidal current starting near Shelton.  The goal is to start at the end of the ebb and get to the end of the Cape Horn before the 2.5 knot flood prevents you from getting there. Then enjoy a swift tidal assisted ride on the flood current back to Shelton.  If you catch the returning flood current properly, it’s a 7-10 ish mile paddle, mostly glide!

A longer alternative route option depending on the group’s skill level is take the ebb from Shelton down Hammersley Inlet to Hope Island for lunch and on the flood tide return to Shelton.

Trace the shoreline with EarthViews

Note: This used to be our Hammer the Inlet Race Course, now a tidal tour for fun at a non hurried pace. 

You’ll Learn:

  • How to read water and spot eddies, current and wind
  • Find out how to use ‘eddies’ to paddle up tidal current areas or to use as rest areas
  • We’ll show you how to enter current from an eddy
  • Learn how to use ‘ferrying’ to cross current without losing your position
  • Find out how to paddle against current and wind if needed
  • We’ll discuss boating right-of-way. The Narrows has lots of boats in Summer.
  • The trip will give you skills for planning your own trips in the tidal currents of Puget Sound!

Who Should Go?

  • You are an advanced beginner thru advanced paddler
  • You either don’t have any or minimal experience in tidal current. Or you do have tidal experience and are along for the ride!
  • Must have a reliable re-mount on your kayak, surf ski or SUP.
  • You’re comfortable paddling 10 miles. Much of it will be tidal push but just in case we get opposing winds,
  • You have basics swim skills
  • Want to go and don’t have the skills?  Take a Class with us to build skills for kayaking, sup or surf ski. We’re open all year.

Gear Requirements:

  • Must wear a PFD (life jacket)
  • SUPs and surf skis must wear a leash
  • Dress for air and water temp depending on conditions
  • We recommend bringing along hydration and energy snacks and sun protection
  • Dress in hi-vis colors so boaters can see you
  • A reliable tethered communication device, phone and/or VHF radio.
  • We’ll do a gear check on shore before launching to make sure everyone is equipped properly
  • We offer free rentals with our tours and classes. Fill in your gear needs upon registration.

FREE with Tour Completion:

  • Summary of skills learned plus tips on how tidal current works in the Sound
  • 10% Alumni discount on future classes
  • Access to 24-video SUP 101 Online Course ($199 Value) or similar for kayakers
  • Salmon Bay Paddle decal
  • 20% off my NW paddle guide, “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips” by Mountaineers Books
  • Access to Alumni Facebook Group

Skills Tour Details:

  • Schedule: Spring – Fall 2023
  • Duration: (1) 4-5 hour session
  • Schedule: Private classes only until Spring. Public and private groups Spring-Fall.
  • Class Size: 1 – 6 people
  • Instructor to Student Ratio: 1:1; 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, 2:6
  • Availability: Year round
  • Covid: Instructors are fully vaccinated


$225 each for 3-6 people | $279 each for 2 people | $429 for 1 person


The Shelton to Cape Horn Route:


View down the inlet..









QUESTIONS / CONTACT: Rob Casey – Email preferred/ 206-465-7167

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