Can You Surf In Seattle?

Surfing brings visions of sunny California beaches, but does the rainy Pacific Northwest offer any surf? If you’re wondering if it’s possible to catch a wave in Seattle, the short answer is yes, you can go surfing in Seattle and the surrounding areas. While the waves might not be quite as epic as what you’ll find in Southern California, there are definitely surfable spots along Washington’s coastline with the right conditions. Read on to find out everything you need to know about surfing in Seattle and where to catch the best waves.

This in-depth guide will cover if surfing is possible in Seattle, the best surf spots close to the city, what the waves and surf conditions are like, what time of year is best for surfing in Washington, what gear you’ll need, and tips from local Seattle surfers. Whether you currently live in Seattle or are planning a surf trip to the area, you’ll find out everything about scoring some waves in the Pacific Northwest after reading this complete guide.

Is Surfing Actually Possible in Seattle?

Many people associate surfing with sunny beaches and tropical destinations, but you might be surprised to learn that surfing is indeed possible in Seattle. While it may not have the same reputation as popular surf spots like Hawaii or California, Seattle offers unique opportunities for surf enthusiasts to catch some waves.

Seattle’s Geography Makes Waves Possible

Seattle’s geography plays a crucial role in making surfing a possibility. The city is located on the shores of the Puget Sound, an intricate system of waterways that connects to the Pacific Ocean. These waterways create a unique set of conditions that can generate surfable waves, especially during certain times of the year.

The most popular surfing spots in Seattle are found along the coast of Westport and the nearby Olympic Peninsula. These areas are known for their rugged beauty and offer a variety of breaks suitable for surfers of all skill levels. Some popular surf spots include Westhaven State Park and Damon Point.

While it may not have the consistent surf of other coastal regions, Seattle’s geography still provides ample opportunities for those looking to ride the waves. It’s not uncommon to see dedicated surfers braving the chilly waters in search of that perfect wave.

Surf Season and Conditions

The surf season in Seattle typically runs from fall to spring when storms in the Pacific Ocean generate swells that reach the coast. During this time, surfers can expect more consistent wave activity, although it can vary from day to day.

The best conditions for surfing in Seattle generally occur during the winter months when larger swells are generated.

It’s important to note that surfing in Seattle does come with some challenges. The water temperatures are often cold, so wearing a wetsuit is essential to stay warm. Additionally, the waves can be unpredictable, and the weather conditions can change rapidly, requiring surfers to be prepared and knowledgeable about the local conditions.

If you’re new to surfing or visiting Seattle for the first time, it’s recommended to take lessons from a local surf school or seek guidance from experienced surfers. They can provide valuable insights into the best surf spots, safety precautions, and tips for navigating the unique conditions found in Seattle.

So, while Seattle may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about surfing, it’s clear that there are opportunities to catch some waves in this coastal city. With its unique geography and dedicated surf community, Seattle offers a surfing experience that is both challenging and rewarding for those willing to take the plunge.

Best Surf Spots Near Seattle


If you’re looking for an incredible surfing experience near Seattle, Westport is the place to go. Located on the Washington coast, Westport offers some of the best waves in the region. The beach break here is ideal for surfers of all levels, from beginners to advanced.

With consistent waves year-round, you can catch a ride no matter the season. The beach is easily accessible and has plenty of parking, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

For more information about surfing in Westport, you can visit their official website here.

La Push

Another fantastic surf spot near Seattle is La Push. Situated on the Olympic Peninsula, La Push is known for its powerful and challenging waves. Surrounded by stunning coastal landscapes and lush forests, this spot offers a unique surfing experience.

The beach break at La Push can produce some epic rides, attracting experienced surfers from all over. However, beginners should be cautious as the waves can be quite intense.

To learn more about surfing in La Push, you can visit their official website here.

Ocean Shores

If you’re looking for a more laid-back surf spot, Ocean Shores is a great option. Located on the central Washington coast, Ocean Shores offers a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The waves here are typically smaller and more manageable, making it an ideal spot for beginners or those looking to improve their skills.

With its beautiful sandy beaches and charming seaside town, Ocean Shores is a popular destination for surfers and beach enthusiasts.

For more information about surfing in Ocean Shores, you can visit their official website here.

So, while Seattle may not have direct access to surfing, there are several fantastic surf spots just a short drive away. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, these locations offer a variety of waves suitable for all skill levels.

So grab your board and head out to one of these amazing surf spots near Seattle for an unforgettable experience!

When to Go Surfing in Seattle

If you’re wondering whether you can surf in Seattle, the answer is yes! Seattle may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of surfing, but it actually offers some great opportunities for catching waves.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its rugged coastline, and Seattle is no exception. With its close proximity to the ocean, there are several spots where you can hit the waves and enjoy this thrilling water sport.


Winter is the prime time for surfing in Seattle. From December to February, the Pacific Northwest experiences larger swells and consistent wave patterns. The winter storms that roll in from the Pacific Ocean create ideal conditions for surfing.

However, it’s important to note that the water temperature can be quite cold during this time of year, so it’s essential to wear a wetsuit to stay warm.


As spring arrives, the water starts to warm up a bit, making it more comfortable to surf without a thick wetsuit. The swells might not be as big as in winter, but they are still consistent enough to catch some good waves.

Spring is a great time to go surfing in Seattle if you prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds. The water conditions are generally favorable during this season, making it an excellent time for both beginners and experienced surfers.


Summer in Seattle is known for its sunny days and pleasant temperatures, but it’s not considered the best time for surfing. The waves tend to be smaller and less consistent during this season, making it more challenging to catch good waves.

However, if you’re a beginner or just looking for a fun day out in the water, summer can still provide some enjoyable surfing opportunities. Just be prepared for potentially smaller waves and more crowded beaches.


Fall is another great season for surfing in Seattle. The water is still relatively warm from the summer months, and the swells begin to pick up as the storms return to the Pacific Northwest. Fall offers a nice balance between consistent waves and comfortable water temperatures.

It’s a popular time for local surfers to hit the waves before the colder winter months arrive.

Gear Needed for Surfing in Seattle


When it comes to surfing in Seattle, a wetsuit is essential. The waters of the Pacific Northwest can be quite chilly, even in the summer months. A good quality wetsuit will keep you warm and comfortable while you ride the waves.

It is recommended to have at least a 4/3mm wetsuit, which provides both insulation and flexibility. If you plan to surf during the colder months, you might want to consider a thicker wetsuit to ensure maximum warmth.

Booties & Gloves

In addition to a wetsuit, booties and gloves are also necessary gear for surfing in Seattle. The cold water temperatures can be harsh on your extremities, so protecting your feet and hands is crucial. Booties will keep your feet warm and provide grip on your surfboard, while gloves will protect your hands from the cold water.

Make sure to choose booties and gloves that are designed specifically for surfing to ensure a comfortable fit and optimal performance.


Choosing the right surfboard for Seattle’s waves is important for a great surfing experience. The type of surfboard you need will depend on your skill level and the conditions you plan to surf in. For beginners, a longboard or a foam board is recommended, as they provide stability and are easier to balance on.

Intermediate and advanced surfers can opt for a shorter board, such as a fish or a shortboard, which allows for more maneuverability. It’s always a good idea to consult with local surf shops or experienced surfers in the area to get advice on the best surfboard for the specific beach and conditions you plan to surf in.

For more information on surfing gear, you can visit:

Tips from Local Surfers

Check Surf Reports

Before heading out to catch some waves in Seattle, it’s important to check the surf reports. Local surfers rely on websites like Surfline or Magicseaweed to get up-to-date information on the conditions.

These websites provide valuable data such as wave height, swell direction, and wind speed, which are crucial factors in determining whether it’s worth paddling out. So, before you grab your board, make sure to check the surf reports and plan your surfing session accordingly.

Start at Beginner Spots

If you’re a beginner or new to surfing, it’s best to start at the beginner-friendly spots in Seattle. These spots offer smaller waves and a more forgiving environment for those who are still learning the ropes.

Alki Beach and Westport are popular choices for beginners, as they have consistent waves and surf schools that offer lessons for all skill levels. Starting at these spots will help you gain confidence and improve your skills before venturing into more challenging breaks.

Watch the Tides

One of the most important things to consider when surfing in Seattle is the tides. The Pacific Northwest has a significant tidal range, which means that the waves can vary greatly depending on the tide.

Local surfers recommend checking the tide charts and planning your surf session around the high or low tides. Some breaks work better at low tide, while others are ideal during high tide. By understanding the tides, you can maximize your chances of catching the best waves and having an epic session.

Remember, surfing in Seattle may not be as well-known as in other coastal cities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch some great waves. By following these tips from local surfers, you’ll be well-prepared to hit the water and enjoy the unique surfing experience that Seattle has to offer.


Although the chilly waters and fickle waves make surfing in Seattle more challenging than surf heaven destinations like Hawaii, scoring waves along Washington’s rugged coastline can be an incredibly rewarding adventure. With the right conditions, proper gear, and some tips from locals, you can have an epic surf session in Seattle. Just be prepared for the cold water temperatures and keep your eyes on the surf reports for the best chance of waves.

Seattle might not be the first place that comes to mind for surfing, but die-hard surfers can find waves to ride in this beautiful coastal city. Just bring your warmest wetsuit and booties and get ready to catch some waves in the Pacific Northwest!

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