This Inertia piece explains it accurately; ‘the PNW is a veritable goldmine of waves. Lucky for those willing to find them, there are not too many brave enough to find them. The water is cold, hiking in may be required and you can get skunked even if you read the buoys right. There is no place quite like it; there are only two things that allow a surfer to score consistently in the PNW, and that’s experience or knowing someone with experience. Most people with experience though, are a little cagey about sharing it with anyone.’
Cover photo is a late afternoon sesh at a point break we call ‘Muskets’, because it just keeps on firing all the way around the point until your legs burn off…and then you gotta walk back, way back from whence you came.
The PNW often gets close to epic, but its pleasantly off the radar and there are memorable sessions I have had with only a handful of mates out. The Straits of Juan De Fuca (click for google earth) is where I surf most of the time, where its offshore most of the time. I jump in my Westy, take a short ferry ride and a few miles through PNW topography, green hills and valleys and you can drive up to river mouths, bays, points and hidden reef/slab breaks. Sometimes its a short scenic hike through the woods, but that keeps it intriguing.
It takes a brave soul to brave the 47-54 degree water temps and often the skies are grey with no sun to warm up that rubber on your back. Most of the time, it’s a 4/3, booties, gloves and cap in the summer. I use step-up boards here, a tad longer, a little fuller and a bit more volume, to compensate for the wetsuit weight and less bouyancy due to less salinity in the water around river mouths. Often, along the Straits, you hardly ever need to duck dive; you just paddle out in what seems like a lake and then the long period lines rise up out back on the horizon and its usually 5-6 waves in the sets. I’ve shared a pic or two over the years with some of my friends here at the Beaches and the invitation is always open to come see me.
I came across this PNW video from The Inertia and I can attest that its true to form. Timmy Reyes and Jake Kelly, find themselves cold boys in paradise city…
Plenty of barrels, but there are a few river mouth points where its more forgiving, rippable and breaks like Malibu. Enjoy this glimpse of north by northwest.
The vibe is solid…