Day off Surfing River & Surf Waves at the Elwha

To some local surfers, you don't mention the name Elwha as they think you'll be giving a good surf break away.  I often don't mention it as it's an advanced break not for beginners with strong outgoing river current, rips and sometimes heavy wind, but a secret? Everyone knows about it not to mention the largest dam removal project in US history took place there the past few years. Two award winning documentaries have been made about the removals and I see increased foot traffic mostly of walkers at the mouth these days. But rarely if any surfers at least when I'm there.

Most kayak surfers I know won't surf there as they've heard stories of grumpy local surfers who may get noisy in the line-up with a 'non local' or non shortboard surfer is present.  Others don't surf there due to the 15 minute walk in on a gravel trail - too long for most kayaks and casual surfers looking for a easy access summer surf.  Not to mentiond the usual 50F water keeps most away anyway.

Nonetheless, I tend to surf there in odd times. With a sup or kayak I don't need a huge wave. I can get off on a knee or waist high roller taking me 100yds in 1' of water into the delta or I'll catch the wave trains made by outgoing river current.  The waves in the pics below are from flood river conditions at 6k CFS from a recent storm colliding with a small WSW swell coming in from the ocean.  I was able to choose between playing in river waves and/or taking an occasional wave into the beach.  No one around both days - Seahawks helped that on Sunday.  And most surfers don't look for that type of wave. One guy in the lot said 'there's no waves'.  I smiled and surfed my type of waves for the next 3hrs.  Each his own.

Note the brown water is dam release sediment. It's fine sand granules, not mud.  Gear used: 11-6 Amundsen Source board; Accent ProBolt paddle; Ripcurl Dawn Patrol 5/3 suit; Glacier Gloves; ProMotion hooded vest; NRS ShockShock booties; ProTek rubber fins; GoPro camera.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your interest in Salmon Bay Paddle!