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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Ski-attle
    Posts
    2,206

    SUP Surfing in the Puget Sound?

    I'm not sure where to post this but I have a new obsession and it would be fun to unite with people/maggots who also share a love for standup paddle boarding. I just bought an inflatable SUP - a nice irocker 10' all-around, and I recently took a class on Puget Sound to learn more about how to SUP and learned a little bit about surfing waves too. I might take a freighter wave surfing class this summer.

    Anyone else? I'm interested in also going out to Deception Pass and understand the currents are pretty burly out there.

    Finally I'm interested in planning a family island to island camping trip in the San Juans for probably 2-nights. Legoskier would be in a fishing kayak and our 7-year-old would be riding with him or riding with me as we go.
    bc-lovah

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Last Best City in the Last Best Place
    Posts
    4,172
    I'm not a SUPer, but if you are looking for general information I can share some based on my kayaking experience from when I lived on Whidbey Island.

    I paddled through Deception Pass many times and in the surrounding area. It's a beautiful area with lots to explore and lots of marine life too. If you learn to read the current tables (not to be mistaken for the tide tables), and plan your paddling in the pass around slack current (or +/- 30 minutes on each side of slack), you will be fine, it's very mellow. Once you get an hour either side of slack current, it does get burly, and I probably wouldn't recommend taking a SUP through there until you have more experience. It can be pretty treacherous when the currents are ripping, obviously. But as I said it's perfectly possible to paddle through at slack current, and totally worth the trip.

    The San Juans are great, but again, plan all crossings between islands for slack current. People get into trouble crossing eddy lines when the currents are ripping, flipping their boats and swimming, and then their boat gets away from them in the current or wind and they spend too long in the water. I don't need to tell you how quickly that cold water will kill a person (even with a dry suit, which I recommend if you are on a SUP). You may need to wait several hours to make a crossing before it's safe. Don't get impatient, just wait, or better yet, plan your paddling so that you arrive at the crossings at slack current. Also practice crossing eddy lines just in case. It's kind of counter-intuitive, which is why eddy lines flip a lot of sea kayakers.

    As for other SUP ideas in the area, there's a small surf break at Point Partridge on Whidbey (near Fort Ebey State Park) where a dedicated group hangs out when the surf is up. Might be worth checking out. If you are looking for camping/paddling options on Whidbey and want to avoid the whole issue of currents in the San Juans, you could start at Deception Pass state park, paddle south down the west shore of Whidbey to Joseph Whidbey state park where there are a couple paddler-only campsites. Next day you could paddle from Joseph Whidbey down to Fort Ebey state park, where there is a beautiful campground on the bluff above the water (probably want a reservation). This trip does expose you to the surf on the west side of Whidbey, but most days in the summer it's pretty mellow. From the Fort Ebey campground you could paddle down to Ebey's Landing and take out on the beach, then go for lunch in Coupeville. I always thought Whidbey was an under-rated paddling destination. I paddled around the whole island when I lived there, which is over 100 miles of shoreline with lots of public access. Damn I miss that place sometimes.

    Anyway, I hope that info helps get you started on this journey. Sounds like a blast. Have fun!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Slightly off route
    Posts
    101
    Taking the SUP out at Shilshole was my virus lockdown escape plan from March-May. Can't say I got a lot of successful surfs in - ran into Rob Casey (guessing you are looking at his class) on a stormy day and he imparted some wisdom. It seems like you have to nail the tide and wind conditions and the marine traffic.

    The biggest limiter for me right now is available time (younger kids), which I think you need to get the freighter waves. I actually had more success going out on windy days and catching wind waves - though my 10' SUP was too typically too short - I have more success with the sea kayak.

    But more to the point, joining the Ballard Elks paddle club will connect you with the local SUP community - and gets you great parking.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    462
    Quote Originally Posted by HappyCamper View Post
    But more to the point, joining the Ballard Elks paddle club will connect you with the local SUP community - and gets you great parking.
    I was going to chime in and say the same thing. I'm a member of the Ballard Elks and can happily meet anyone if they want to check it out or sponsor you if you want in (takes a couple months to get sworn in/be a member). Rob is also a friend.

    I don't personally SUP but the Lodge is a great spot, a glimpse of old Ballard w/ cheap drinks and the membership is awesome and pretty diverse. I'm mostly on the eastside but can often be found working there in the afternoons on weekdays (when there isn't a pandemic).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Ski-attle
    Posts
    2,206
    Hey everyone, thanks for all the information and tips. What a difference 5 months make, and I can't believe it's been 5 months since I posted.

    yeahman, thanks for all the info on Whidbey and the currents, I will be referring back to this thread for future crossings.

    HappyCamper and FJ62, I wonder if I know either one of you. Yes, I took Rob Casey's class on June 1, and he is now a friend of mine as well. I haven't joined the BEPC yet (planning to soon, I go to that beach sometimes twice a week to SUP), but I've done 5 of their races as a guest racer and just completed the long course Halloween race, it was a blast. I bought a SIC Bullet in August and I've been down to Hood River twice now, the latest time hiring Joel Yang of Stoke on the Water for a 2-day clinic. The second day had no wind, so I'm on call right now with him to head down there for day 2.

    I'm kind of obsessed with downwinding...tomorrow I'm doing a 12-mile car shuttle run with a friend on Lake Washington!

    How about you guys? Are you into downwinding? This is such a cool sport!
    bc-lovah

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