Surf Ski Freighter Waves Class

Covid Notice – We follow current Covid guidance.. Instructor is vaccinated. 

Learn to surf on Puget Sound in Seattle in this surf ski freighter wave 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 surf ski 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 Puget Sound Surfing Manual to find out where and when to catch epic waves on Puget Sound.

March 2021 Freighter Surfing Video (Rob in white surf ski)

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, turn quicker, stop, capsize, recover and paddle out over waves.
  • Catch more waves 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


Class Details:

  • Private Classes only
  • Skill Level: Intermediate. You should be comfortable paddling in small waves and chop and know how to re-enter your ski on both sides
  • Season: Spring – Early Fall
  • PLEASE READ – How it Works: The below dates are on days where we have scheduled boats. If you can’t make it on Wed or Friday midday during these times, I’ll let you know in the AM on a low tide day such as a weekend if there’s an unscheduled boat coming in.
  • Duration: 3 Hours.
  • Class Size: 1 – 4 People
  • Location: Shilshole Bay, Seattle


Group Classes (3 Students): 225 per person

2 Private Person Rate: 279 per person

Individual Rate (1-1): 429


  • We 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 for any questions


  • If you didn’t get a wave your first class – come out again for free!


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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