Cold, Wet, Stoked!
While the sport of surfing is most often associated with Hawaii or Southern California, cold-weather surfing is growing in popularity along the Washington Coast.
Cold-weather surfing is gaining popularity
Surfing in the Pacific Ocean in the middle of winter might sound like a crazy idea, but if you seek adventure and jump at the opportunity to try new things, then squeeze into your wetsuit and wax your surf boards because it’s time to catch some waves!
Seabrook is the perfect home base as you seek out various breaks along the Washington Coast.
WHERE TO GO
During a typical winter, relentless storms pound the Washington Coast with huge swells, torrential rains, and cross-winds causing many a Washington surfer to seek solace in the wind shadow of the Olympic Mountains and the shoreline bluffs.
On the coast, there are a few sheltered wind spots, and one of them is the closest thing in Washington State to “Surf City.” Westport, a harbor town that guards the south entrance to Grays Harbor, is considered Washington’s surfing capital. Here, in the shelter of the jetty entrance, surfers are able to enjoy clean swells manicured by S winds that whip the place into offshore perfection.
On the Northside of Grays Harbor inlet is the seaside town of Ocean Shores. The jetty at the north entrance of Grays harbor creates a rare S wind block and provides a nice wind shadow for surfers to enjoy some spray.
But the hidden treasure of the Washington Coast is Point Grenville, located 7-miles north of Seabrook. Back in the 1960s, Grenville was Washington’s version of Malibu. Now, the Quinault Tribe keeps this treasure to themselves, but you may gain access purchasing a beach pass.
An anomaly on the otherwise pointless coast, Point Grenville interrupts the relentless NW winds and creates an eddy of atmospheric tranquility.
WHAT TO WEAR
The cold water turns out to be a non-issue thanks to wet suit technology. Just make sure you have the essentials:
A Good Hooded Wetsuit
A hooded wet suit is the foundation of your winter surfing gear. Something in the 5/4 thickness should do you well.
You want a round toe boot to keep all your toes together, which keeps them warmer longer.
Gloves are great for water temps in the low 50s and upper 40s. Once things start creeping lower than that you want some mittens, for the exact reasons who want round toe boots.
MAKE SEABROOK YOUR HOME BASE
The uniqueness of winter surfing, remote beaches, a patchwork of reservations and private land, and hidden gems make cold-water surfing in the Pacific Northwest an experience like no other. In fact, many surfers like the cool weather and water because it means fewer crowds.
As the surfers say “if this were a little warmer, it’d be Malibu.”
Make Seabrook your surf-seeking home base as you travel along the Washington Coast to places like Point Grenville and Westport.