Top 10 Places to Surf in Oregon: Beginners to Pros

Top 10 Places to Surf in Oregon: Beginners to Pros

Surfing in Oregon can be a thrilling experience due to its unpredictable sandbars and pretty scary big waves. Yet, it’s possible to find quieter locations for beginners to start exploring the sports.

Our article will include the 10 best places to surf in Oregon and some tips to help you handle the flat waves in the state. Let’s delve into the details right now!

Top 10 Places to Surf in Oregon

While it may not have the same cultural significance as California, Oregon nevertheless has many excellent surfing areas, including both popular tourist destinations and undiscovered gems. Let’s scroll down to explore the best surfing spots in Oregon!

1. Short Sands Beach

Short Sands is a year-round surfing spot in Tillamook County, Oregon. Located in a cove, it’s a safe escape from strong winds. The beach is surrounded by old-growth forest and offers a half-mile paved path.

1. Short Sands Beach

Image source: Flickr

Despite being crowded during summer, the vibe is generally friendly. It’s best to visit during winter when crowds are weak and waves are strongest.

  • How long to get there: It takes about one hour and a half to drive west from Portland, Oregon.
  • Skill: It is suitable for all skill levels.
  • Water type: Since it’s part of the Pacific Ocean, the water here is typically cold (and colder than southern beaches)
  • Launch points: You can directly launch your board from the beach.
  • Amenities: Picnic tables and restrooms, but no restaurants or shops.
  • Unique feature: Short Sands Beach, surrounded by towering trees and rocky headlands, provides a scenic backdrop for beachcombing, surfing, and wildlife observation.

2. Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout is one of the best surf spots in Oregon. Besides surfing, it offers great activities such as hiking and sightseeing. It is definitely a wonderful destination for those who love nature and outdoor sports.

2. Cape Lookout

Image source: Needpix

Cape Lookout is well known for its striking coastal landscape, providing vistas with expansive views of the surrounding headlands, rocky cliffs, and ocean.

  • How long to get there: It’s about a 2-hour drive west from Portland, Oregon.
  • Skill: All skill levels
  • Water type: Cool and a bit turbulent
  • Launch points: Anywhere along the beach
  • Amenities: Surfing facilities are quite limited here, but the place offers amenities like campsites, restrooms, picnic areas, hiking trails, and RV camping.
  • Unique feature: During whale migration seasons, Cape Lookout is a well-liked location for whale watching, offering a chance to see gray whales along the coast.

3. Lincoln City Beach

Lincoln City is a tranquil beach town on the central coast with a solid beach break. There are several peaks throughout the long beach, and the wave conditions vary according to the wind and temperature.

3. Lincoln City Beach

image source: Dries Buytaert

Summer is the best time to surf as the weather is warm and the wave sizes are decent. Winter has bigger waves, and only the outer reef is surfable.

  • How long to get there: Driving a car from Portland, Oregon to Lincoln City Beach takes about 2 hours.
  • Skill: Suitable for beginners and experts
  • Water type: Cold all year round
  • Launch points: Lincoln City Beach features numerous open stretches of sandy beach for enthusiasts to launch their watercraft into the ocean.
  • Amenities: Parking, restroom, picnic areas and beach access points with paved paths
  • Unique feature: The “Finders Keepers” program at Lincoln City Beach, Oregon, is well-known. It involves hiding vibrant glass floats along the beach for tourists to find and keep as souvenirs.

4. Pacific City Beach

The waves in this area can reach up to 2 feet in height, making Pacific City Beach one of the most attractive surfing spots in Oregon. Many sports lovers come here to surf, especially in summer. However, it can be overcrowded.

4. Pacific City Beach

Image source: Wikimedia commons

Also, surfers should keep in mind the hazards of jet skis, dory boats, and sharks.

  • How long to get there: It’s approximately a 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Portland, Oregon.
  • Skill: All skill levels.
  • Water type: Cold year-round.
  • Launch points: Pacific City Beach has multiple launch points for surfers, kayakers, and other water sports enthusiasts. The beach offers plenty of room for launching boats and enjoying the ocean, thanks to its sandy shoreline and generally steady wave breaks.
  • Amenities: Parking slots, bathrooms, RV and tent camping, and a brew pub
  • Unique feature: Besides a number of facilities, visitors can also enjoy the nearby Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

5. Otter Rock

When talking about surfing in Oregon for beginners, we cannot forget Otter Rock. It’s the best place for newbies to learn and showcase new moves. The destination is perfect for all-year-round surfing, but due to its popularity, it can also be challenging to practice there.

5. Otter Rock

image source: Freerange Stock

Hiking routes here allow visitors to explore the local landscape or watch from designated locations.

  • How long to get there: 2 to 2.5-hour drive from Portland, Oregon
  • Skill: Suitable for both amateurs and professionals
  • Water type: Cold
  • Launch points: Otter Rock provides sandy beaches with consistent wave breaks, making it a great place to launch surfboards, kayaks, and paddleboards. Water lovers can enjoy the ocean, but when getting in and out of the water, be cautious of potential risks such as rocks or strong currents.
  • Amenities: While Otter Rock’s beach is undeveloped and has limited amenities, nearby cities have public parking lots, dining options, shops, and surfboard and wetsuit rental outlets.
  • Unique feature: Devil’s Punch Bowl, a distinctive natural rock structure in Otter Rock, was sculpted into sandstone cliffs by waves of the ocean. The bowl fills with churning water during high tide or severe weather, producing an amazing sight.

6. Cannon Beach

If you are looking for the best surf in Oregon, you should give Cannon Beach a try. It’s located near Portland and Salem and attracts large crowds in summer. The best time to surf here is in the early morning or late afternoon.

6. Cannon Beach

Image source: Flickr

Plus, Cannon Beach is a well-liked location for photography, tidepool exploring, and birdwatching. The tidepools surrounding Haystack Rock provide up-close looks at an abundance of marine life, such as crabs, sea stars, and anemones.

  • How long to get there: Driving from Portland can take 1.5 – 2 hours.
  • Skill: Suitable for beginners and experts
  • Water type: Cold
  • Launch points: Several access points are available along the beach. Enthusiasts should be mindful of any hazards while entering and exiting the water.
  • Amenities: Parking areas, restrooms, picnic areas are available. Plus, the town offers accommodations, restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
  • Unique feature: Cannon Beach is home to 235-foot-tall Haystack Rock and other well-known sea stacks.

7. Indian Beach

Indian Beach, which is part of Ecola State Park, is an excellent place for novice surfers to become used to the seas of Oregon. It’s less busy than Cannon Beach, offering a more private setting with an entry fee of $5.

7. Indian Beach

Image source; Flickr

Winter is the finest season for skilled surfers since the waves are stronger and larger. For those who don’t know, Point Break and Twilight were both filmed in Indian Beach.

  • How long to get there: 2-hour driving
  • Skill: All-level.
  • Water type: Cold year-round with reliable wave breaks.
  • Launch points: Indian Beach offers access spots for watercraft such as surfboards, kayaks, and paddleboards. However, because getting in and out of the water is crucial, be more cautious in strong surf or stormy conditions.
  • Amenities: Parking, picnic tables, restrooms, and hiking trails.
  • Unique feature: Indian Beach is a tranquil coastal spot with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby sites, such as Haystack Rock and Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It offers a serene environment for wildlife observation, including seabirds, marine mammals, and tidepools.

8. Agate Beach

If you want to experience the best surfing in Oregon, you should not miss Agate Beach. Its name originated from the multicolored rock formations on the shore known as agates. The place is somewhat harder to surf than Indian Beach, but it’s a nice spot for those seeking a more laid-back day on the waves.

8. Agate Beach

Image source: Flickr

The surf is often steady regardless of the tide. However, be careful with the rip currents here as it can pose a serious risk.

  • How long to get there: 2 to 2.5-hour drive
  • Skill: All level skill.
  • Water type: Fairly cold
  • Launch points: Ample spaces for launch points are available along the beach.
  • Amenities: Parking, restrooms, picnic areas, restaurants, and shops. Nearby attractions include the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.
  • Unique feature: The distinctive feature of Oregon is Agate Beach is the semi-precious gemstones. They attract many visitors to come and hunt for them. Low tide is the ideal time to find agates and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Oregon Coast.

9. Florence South Jetty

Florence South Jetty in Florence, Oregon, is a popular spot for surfing during the summer when warmer waters create a soothing effect on rocky waves. The swells here are about 12 feet high and can even reach 15 feet.

9. Florence South Jetty

Image source: Pexels

It’s difficult to get to the location, especially in the late afternoon. You can be disoriented due to the wave’s movement, so pay attention to your surroundings along the coast to make sure you can get back safely.

  • How long to get there: 3-hour drive from Portland
  • Skill: Varies, depending on water and weather conditions.
  • Water type: The clarity of water here varies according to the tide currents.
  • Launch points: Various along the beach.
  • Amenities: Shops, restaurants, parking, picnic facilities, and hiking trails.
  • Unique feature: The Florence South Jetty protects the Siuslaw River entrance and provides marine habitat. Its boulders and large rocks prevent sand from filling, attracting birds, fish, and other wildlife. The jetty offers panoramic views, making it a popular destination for nature lovers.

10. Coos Bay

Coos Bay, located on Oregon’s southern coast, offers a variety of surf spots. Bastendorff Beach is the best spot for beginners in the area.

10. Coos Bay

Image source: Hipcamp

When surfing, you should pay attention to the wind as it can ruin the surfing wave condition.

  • How long to get there: Driving from Portland, Oregon, can take up to 4 hours.
  • Skill: Suitable for a diverse range of surf experiences.
  • Water type: Cold year-round.
  • Launch points: You can access water from the nearby shoreline or sandy beaches.
  • Amenities: Restrooms, parking areas, picnic tables, shops and restaurants.
  • Unique feature: Lovers Cove is a romantic retreat surrounded by rocky cliffs and lush vegetation, offering a serene atmosphere for couples and those seeking tranquility. Its sandy beach, waves, and stunning ocean views make it a picturesque destination.

What Makes Surfing in Oregon Awesome?

Can you surf in Oregon? Yes, it’s 100% possible. There are reasons that make Oregon special and attract many surfers to explore the beaches here.

Oregon’s surf culture

The surf scene in Oregon is distinct, with few quality breaks. There are some hidden locations that only locals can access. Oregon features many empty areas, offering an escape from overcrowded California surf. Surfers are welcome in many of the coastal beach towns, which makes it an excellent location for individuals seeking a change of scenery.

Oregon’s waves

The majority of the waves in Oregon are beach breakers caused by irregular sandbars. Because of the strong winds and extremely cold water, the winter waves can be especially dangerous. In summer, there is a lot of fog along the coast. The ideal season to surf in Oregon is fall. However, there are dangers along the beach for surfers, including large logs and rocky bottoms.

Necessary equipment

Oregon has some of the coldest waters in the US, with average water temperatures in the low 50s for most of the year. In the winter, surfers usually use a 5-7mm hooded wetsuit; even in the spring and summer, a 3-4 mm wetsuit is needed. Additional clothing, such as gloves and boots, is required to protect against the freezing water. After staying in such cold water for a period of time, bringing a warm jug of water is also useful for thawing.

Necessary equipment

Image source: Medium

Tips to Handle Flat Waves When Surfing in Oregon

Meeting the flat waves when surfing in Oregon is not the end of the world. Though you cannot perform with your board, there is a list of interesting activities to enjoy here. Oregon is a stunning state with a rocky coastline that is ideal for sightseeing.

Lincoln City and other beach communities on the central or north coast provide scenic drives and treks along the ocean. The urban center, Portland, is home to Powell’s Books, a Trailblazers game, and fantastic restaurants.

If surfing is not enough, consider skiing or snowboarding at one of Oregon’s ski resorts, like Mount Bachelor. In short, the state is a great place for travelers to visit because of its varied landscapes and culinary culture.

If you’re struggling to catch waves in Oregon, using Boost Fin can help.

Boost Fin is a revolutionary device designed to enhance surfers’ efficiency and energy in the ocean. It allows surfers to catch up to three times more waves in a session, reducing the effort of paddling.

Tips to Handle Flat Waves when Surfing in Oregon

The device features an electric fin motor, compatible with surfboards, SUPs, and kayaks, providing 20 pounds of thrust, similar to 15 people rowing a canoe at full speed. Boost can hook up with any board within 5 minutes. It also accelerates the board to a top speed of 5mph, allowing surfers to catch more waves. The Boost Fin has a long battery life, supporting an average surfing session of 60-90 minutes. A user-friendly controller allows surfers to control their boost, with a long press delivering a sustained boost and a quick tap providing a short burst of speed.

Best Time to Surf in Oregon

The best time for surfing on the Oregon coast is in September and October. The weather can resemble midwinter with 25-foot seas, strong wind and heavy rain. But it also can be affected by the much-desired “Indian Summer” with sunlight, oily glass groundswells and slack wind.

Conquer More Waves with Boost Surfing

The 10 best places to surf in Oregon are listed below, and they are mostly suitable for all skill levels. Though these locations are pretty pristine, it does not limit your ability to conquer the waves.

Paddling is key to catching more waves; however, Boost Fin can help you lift this heavy job. Contact us right now to make the most of every swell and every session!

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