Surfing Washington State-Bring Your Wetsuit

Waves along the Washington State coastline can be large and brutal.With a large fetch, the entire Pacific Ocean and sustained winds from the deep ocean storms, the average wave ranges between 8 to 12 meters high, or from 26 to 39 feet high.  You will want to bring any specialized equipment and gear you might need, although there are several excellent surf shops along the beach,. With ocean temperatures that vary between 40 and 50 degrees, wetsuits are not optional.  The  surfing is definitely seasonal, but you can find some decent waves without much competition for the crest. 

Three communities have harbors or bays that tame the Pacific waves to surf-able heights.  Nestled in small seaports you have to drive in, but the roads are well-maintained, so you won’t need a SUV to reach them. The first is Westport, known as Washington’s surf city.  Waves can be head-high, in often windless conditions, the perfect ground swell.  Surfers will converge on Westport September 25-27th for their Clean Water Classic surfing competition. Registration begins in August.  There are divisions for everything from men’s and women’s pro/am down to keiki and parent. 

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The second community is LaPush at the mouth of Quileute River.  It is also home to the Quilete Indian tribe.   The area is surrounded by a tropical rain forest with trees that are over 50 years old.  Offshore winds blow from the east and the bet swell direction is from the west southwest.  It is an exposed reef break that provides both left and right breaks.  Only a portion is public.  The rest is on tribal land. Waves are reliable and tend to be between waist and head high.

The final surfing destination is the largest and most accessible.  You can drive your vehicle right to where the peaks are–and there isn’t a fee.  Long Beach Peninsula, Washington is a 28 mile beach covered with low sand dunes and beach grass.  It has been called the Cape Cod of the west.  The community is very laid back and relaxed. There is a very low population of surfers and is only surf-able in the summer. The coast faces due west, so there are consistent knee high to waist high waves.  Surfers need to be wary of littoral currents that run parallel to the shore and riptides, which pull straight out to sea.

While Washington state may not produce Olympic size waves, the beautiful setting and low surfer population means you get the best waves.

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