Surf Zone & Beyond- Surf Clinic


Surf Zone & Beyond- Surf Clinic - Makah Bay

A two-three day event to learn or improve both short and long boat surf zone techniques

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • *Varies*
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 12.0 nm
  • Maximum Wind: 15 kts
  • Maximum Waves: 3 ft
  • Maximum Currents: 1 kts
  • Pace: Moderate

Hobuck Beach, Start Time 9:00am

Learn or improve your surf zone skills at this two-day surf clinic at Hobuck Beach Resort at Makah Bay. The clinic participants will be divided up into several levels depending on prior experience and interest:  1) Introduction to surf, 2) Intermediate surf and 3) Learning how to use a surf boat. Action: Contact the primary leader to secure leader permission; please provide information on your surf and moving water experience to help decide which level you will start in. 

It will be helpful if you have had an Introduction to Currents clinic before attending.

Level Assessment

We will have you do the following steps in front of the instructors so we can assess your skill level and comfort with the water.

  1.    Wade out and body surf in, then go back out with paddle and swim your way (using a variety of methods).
  2.    Take your boat out, wet exit, swim your boat in with your arms over the boat.
  3.    Go back out and come in perpendicular to the beach line lying on the top of the boat and paddling in.

The participants with no experience may not opt to do steps 2 or 3 above, and this will be covered in the beginner group.

Group Formations

We separate the beach into three levels starting from the north and where the waves are smaller, increasing levels toward the south and where the waves are bigger.

Level 1, Beginners, will be at the north end and will work on bracing in the “soup” zone (broken waves). You will undoubtedly get side surfed in within the soup zone so you will be shown how to edge into the wave and brace. You must control your kayak in the soup before going out past the break. You will learn and must demonstrate the ability to hold your position and to paddle up and down the beach in the soup in both directions (with comfort and control). Next, we will have you go out in your boat plus one swimmer. You will toggle tow and back deck carry the swimmer to shore. Change roles and repeat. Now you are ready to move on to Level 2!


Level 2, intermediate, will be learning how to go out past the break. We’re focusing on launching and landing, going out past the break turning around coming back in and landing (without surfing). The goal is to be able to come in and go out without surfing. For exercise, we will create a “square dance” where you go out beyond the break, parallel the shore for a short distance, come back in, then turn again in the soup zone and return to complete the circuit. You learn group launching and landing practices, such as paddle signals appropriate to the surf. Now on to level 3!

Level 3 Here we teach more advanced techniques such as safely landing a fully loaded boat, coming in on top of a wave pile, plus exiting the boat prior to landing. We teach you to side surf with more control (in the break zone) and when this happens how to “get off the wave” rather than ride it all the way in. We teach you "long boat" wave riding in a progression: straight in surfing, zigzag turns, diagonal run, and how to stay in the pocket. How to select the best wave and how to position yourself to catch that wave.

It is envisaged that these clinic sessions will take place in the mornings and leave the afternoons free for most participants to practice on their own, and at their own risk.

Short Boat surfing- this is separate from the above; we have instructors with supplementary training to teach wave riding in "short boats" (specialty surf kayaks, white-water kayaks, and smaller sit-on-tops). Instructors from Levels 1-3 will have priority in these afternoon sessions.

Both Friday and Saturday will be half-day instruction and the other half will be available for attendees to practice on their own. This also permits instructors for the lower levels to be surf boat clinic participants.The clinic portion of the days will be led by leaders but the independent surf play will be on your own, so participants in this independent activity must have basic surf zone experience and be comfortable managing their own safety. You may choose to stay in the “soup” zone rather than venturing out into the break zone.

On the Sunday and Monday following this clinic, there will be opportunities for further surf practice or to take part in a coastal, caving, or rock gardening clinic if your surf skill level has progressed far enough that the trip or clinic leader gives permission for you to go. These are described in a separate activity bracketing this clinic (Surf Zone & Beyond June 26-July 1). Administratively, you will be able to sign up for both even though they overlap, the conflict check has been removed.

A helmet and dry suit or wet suit is required, gloves are recommended. A roll is not required, but is useful.

This clinic will provide progress or completion toward the Intermediate Kayaking Badge requirements for Surf Zone and Rock Gardening. Open to Mountaineers members only.

A Makah Recreational Use Permit is required for each car ($10, purchased at the Hobuck Beach Resort campground office or store in Neah Bay.) Camping fees at the Hobuck Resort are $25/car/night and you do not need to make a reservation. A limited number of reservable (opens Jan 1 at 9:00am) cabins are available (check the Hobuck Beach Resort website for information.)  Carpooling in encouraged and halves camping fees in addition to reducing your carbon footprint.

The campground is basic. It has a men's and women's shower (1 each), multiple porta-potties, and irregularly distributed and insufficiently numbered picnic tables. Alcohol or recently-legalized mind-altering drugs are not permitted per local (tribal) laws.  There is a grocery store in the nearby town of Neah Bay.

Non-kayaking spouses/partners/children/pets are welcome to camp with us and would find enjoyable activities such as beach walking, hiking to Shi-Shi, a short hike to Cape Flattery overlook, and visiting the Museum at the Makah Cultural and Research Center.  Non-kayaking family members do not need to sign up for this clinic.


Hobuck Beach

  • Custom Correct North Olympic Coast

    Green Trails Cape Flattery No. 98S

    MapTech Cape Flattery to Whidbey Island No. 103

    Sea Trails Strait of Juan de Fuca & Crescent Lake WA301

    Sea Trails Roadless Coast, Neah Bay to Ruby Beach WA302

    NOAA Cape Flattery No. 18485
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment


Gloves recommended

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