Kayaking Freighter Surfing Class

Learn to surf epic waves on Puget Sound in Seattle in this Kayaking Freighter Surfing class! Catch freighter waves generated by fast moving ships. Waves can get 3′-6′ high with rides up to a minute and sessions lasting up to 45 minutes.

Beginner surfers will learn kayak surfing basics in a safe and friendly environment. Experienced surfers will learn new skills and how to closer to 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 100 miles from the ocean.  Once you learn where and when to catch waves, you’ll find regular surf in Seattle.

Don’t need a class? Get my Freighter Wave Surfing Manual to find out where and when to catch epic waves on Puget Sound.

Read More about Freighter Surfing in Stand Up Journal, SUP Magazine and Stand Up Paddle Surf, The Inertia and Evening Magazine.

What’s the Difference Between Freighter and Tug Waves?

Freighter waves originate from fast moving ships in the shipping lane. As the ships pass, their waves head to shore where we’re waiting. Season is Spring to early Fall due to daytime low tides.

Tug waves are large boat wakes vs a beach break. Waves occur in deep water half a mile offshore. Only available Wednesdays and some Fridays all year.  Click Here to Read About Tug Wave Surfing. >>

Core Skills You’ll Gain
(Classes will be customized to your needs)

  • Receive my Puget Sound Surfing Guide to learn where and when to catch waves on the Sound.
  • Learn how to catch waves, paddle out, turn, stop, capsize and recover in waves.
  • Catch more waves easier with smarter wave selection, timing and placement
  • Learn bomber stability skills in the surf zone which will benefit all types of paddling.
  • 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
  • Catch more waves learning to surf small boat wakes and tugs in between freighters
  • How to choose the best equipment and clothing for NW surfing
  • Refine your forward stroke so you can paddle out faster with less effort


2021 Dates: Season is Spring to late Summer. Contact me to discuss dates.

Duration: 3 Hours. Class Size: 1 – 4 People / Private Classes Only

Skill Level: Intermediate or advanced. You should be comfortable paddling in small waves and chop and know how to re-enter your ski on both sides

Location: Ballard Elks Beach, Shilshole Bay, Seattle.

* FREE Follow-up Class for students who don’t catch a wave during their first class.

Not interested in a class? Puget Sound Surfing Guide which shows you how, where and when to surf waves in Puget Sound.


Private Group Class (3-4 Students): 149 per person with clothing rentals / 169 per person with your gear.

2 Person Rate: 189 per person with clothing rentals / 169 per person with your gear

Individual Rate (1-1): 299 with rentals / 273 with your own gear. *1-1 Classes Bonus – You also get my online Puget Sound Surfing Guide as part of your class cost! 

* Rentals Include:  PFD (life vest), toasty wetsuit, booties, helmet, gloves. Sit on top surf kayaks available upon request.  

Alumni/Repeat Classes: $10 off per person.

Rates are non-negotiable

Bringing your own gear?  Stable surf style boards and displacement boards to 17 feet hard or inflatable. Leashes and PFDs required (Shilshole Bay is considered a flat water inland waterway by the CG). Wetsuits required Fall – Spring.

Sign Me Up!

Covid Notice – SBP is open for classes. A maximum of 4 allowed in each class. Distancing will be followed on land and water. Recommended use of masks on shore. Equipment is regularly cleaned. 


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’ll cover self-rescue, water safety and rescues for rough water conditions and where to find and how to forecast tug and freighter waves. 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, all the way and opens a whole new for every paddler in the Puget Sound Area.

Margrit Ralph

Rob is fantastic! Had a great time learning to freighter surf and as a bonus feel way more comfortable maneuverin.

Anna Larson Newton

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