Surf Seattle on Freighter Waves

Learn How to Surf Seattle!

Surf Seattle on freighter waves generated by fast moving ships with Pacific Northwest sup pioneer Rob Casey. 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 find out how to forecast fun local waves in Seattle.

Available as personalized 1-1 and 2 person private lessons. Gear included with cost.

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 unique opportunity to surf good waves more than 80 miles from the ocean.

Freighter Wave Season with best tides is spring to early fall middays on Wednesday and Fridays.  We can work with other days as well depending on boat schedules. 

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

Don’t need a class? Get my Puget Sound Surfing Guide to find out where and when to catch waves on Puget Sound. The guide will save you tons of time in in looking for inland waves.

    After Class Extras

    • Lesson summary: I’ll send you a summary of skills you learned in your lesson as well as my favorite marine weather and tides apps.
    • Gets a Salmon Bay Paddle sticker!
    • Join my alumni Facebook page

    How it Works:

    • Best Days are some Wednesday and Friday midday for scheduled boats.
    • Weekends work but I’ll get in touch early morning to confirm if there’s a boat coming.


    • Private classes only for 1-2 people
    • Duration: 3 Hours
    • Location: Ballard Elks beach in Seattle
    • Skill Level: *Intermediate*. You must have SUP experience and be comfortable standing on small waves and chop and know how to paddle straight and remount. Take my SUP Basics 1 and 2 to prep.
    • Must speak English and have basic swimming skills.


    2 Person Rate: 349 per person

    Individual Rate (1-1): 497


    • I recommend wetsuits 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!
    • Rates are non-negotiable / Gratuities are always welcome. 

    Contact me to set up a lesson

    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.

    Margrit Ralph

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

    Anna Larson Newton

    I took a freighter wave class with Rob and a few friends. He is very helpful in critiquing and advising improvements on balance, stances, paddling, etc. The guy knows a lot in the world of paddle boarding, and much more. We caught some solid waves from the freighter to wrap our day up!

    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!

    Andrew Coyne

    Rob Casey was very knowledgeable about the sport and the surrounding environment. Not only learned basic paddleboarding techniques, but also cool turns, what to do when there are waves, and great safety tips. I’ve taken SUP “lessons” before, but none were as detailed or effective as Rob’s. A definite must-do if you like to see a city on a SUP. Also, the Shilshole Bay was beautiful – saw lots of marine life like starfish, crabs, etc. Would definitely take another lesson or tour with Salmon Bay Paddle next time I’m in Seattle.
    - Adelie, NY