Surfing in Oregon? Yes! The North Coast has some of the best breaks in the Pacific Northwest. And yes, the ocean is a bit nippy, but that’s what wetsuits were made for. Surf here — where the expansive sandy beaches are framed by rugged headlands — and you earn bragging rights. Oregon’s North Coast is also the ideal place to learn to surf, especially for women, because of the programs run by locals dedicated to sharing their love of the sport and the sea.
Who can learn?
If you’re in relatively good physical condition and have advanced beginner swimming skills, you can learn to surf. That means being able to swim two lengths of an Olympic-sized pool and tread water for several minutes.
Who can teach me?
Seaside is lucky to have two surf schools. Oregon Surf Adventures offers an array of lessons: beginner, semi-private, private or private group. It also holds one- and two-day camps for kids and teens (ages 7-17) during the summer months where surfing is combined with marine biology lessons and beach games. Lessons (3 hours) start at $99 per person plus $25 for equipment rental.
While Northwest Women’s Surf Camps specializes in empowering women to surf through day camps and weekenders, it also offers couples weekends and kids group lessons (ages 6-10) on Wednesdays during the summer, plus it’s just added bodyboarding clinics for teens and adults. Day camp surf lessons (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) start at around $275; discounts are available for early bird registration.
Where do I surf?
Surf instructors will choose the lesson location based on tidal and wind conditions anywhere from Astoria to Manzanita. However, most of the time, lessons are held on Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park or near “The Cove” on the south end of Seaside Beach.
Just how cold is it?
Ocean water temperatures usually run about 53 to 58 degrees during the summer months. At Short Sand Beach, prevailing wind and swell conditions make it optimal for teaching. Temperatures can peak in this region (57-64 degrees) in late August but regardless of time of year, you’ll want to invest in good gear. As part of your surf lesson, you’ll be fully geared up in either 4 or 5mm-thick wetsuits, boots, gloves and hood, so don’t let the water temperature hold you back!