Catching the Perfect Winter Wave
Newport’s beaches offer some of the best year round surfing
Surfers have long known that the Central Oregon Coast offers some of the best waves available anywhere. We have miles of uncrowded beaches, excellent breaks and clean waters that are perfect for surfers of all skill levels. Whether you are an experienced surfer, new to the sport, or interested in learning how to surf, Newport’s beaches are ready to exceed your expectations!
Since the 1950s, the Newport area has beckoned to surfers from near and far, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that local surfing culture became firmly rooted in the area. By the early 2000s, surfing started to become more than just a summer sport, with more and more people surfing through the winter months. Advances in wetsuit technology combined with a growing interest in the sport have enabled an increasing number of surfers to enjoy our waves all through the year.
Local surf shops are also playing an important role in the increased popularity of surfing in the area. With inexpensive equipment rentals, surfing lessons, and concise reports on daily surf conditions, local shops have become an essential resource for surfers in Newport. Their knowledgeable staff are eager to share their love of the sport with you, and to make your experience the best that it can be.
Surfing lessons are readily available and inexpensive, and will teach you the basics of the sport. You will learn how to balance on the board, paddle out to the best waves, or “breaks,” and how to avoid dangerous conditions like riptides. Once you’ve mastered a few of these first steps, you’ll build confidence in your ability and be able to try more advanced moves. Don’t worry if it takes a while to perfect your skills, because even the best surfers say that they never stop learning new things about the sport.
You’ll probably start out with rental gear, which will help you determine what kind of board and wetsuit is best for you without the initial expense. As your abilities grow, so will your enjoyment, and before long you may want to purchase your own gear so that you can surf anywhere at any time. You may choose a longboard or a short board, depending on which one feels the most comfortable to ride. You’ll definitely want a full body wetsuit, complete with a hood and booties, because even in the summer months the Pacific Ocean is too cold to go without one.
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned surfer trying out Newport’s waves for the first time, or are new to the sport, there are some things you need to know about surfing in the winter. Winter waves can be much rougher than the calm, safe winds of the summer, and wind speeds over 20 knots can be hazardous. The height of the wave, or “swell,” can also be dangerous in winter months. Daniel Hasselschwert from Ossie’s Surf Shop in Newport explains, “as a general rule, double digits mean danger.” While swells of 8 or 9 feet can indicate that waves are becoming dangerous, any swells over 10 feet should be avoided.
“Know before you go,” Hasselschwert says, “There are winter days that are just like the summer, but there are winter days when no one should be out surfing.” He further advises that you should always know current wave and weather conditions before you head into the water. If you are unsure of current surfing conditions, you can always call a surf shop or visit local surfing cameras (www.ossiessurfshop.com/About_Ossies/Surf_Forecasts) for daily weather forecasts and predictions. The conditions at surfing spots vary too, and surf shop staff can give you specific details about where you want to go.
In addition to rentals, lessons, and equipment sales, Ossie’s Surf Shop is one of the only shops in the world to offer tow-in surfing during the winter months. Instead of fighting rough winter water to get to the breaks you want to surf, a jet ski will tow you out into the ocean, and you’ll be pulled into the best waves. Ossie’s also offers paddle board and kayak rentals for use in local lakes and rivers when conditions are too rough or dangerous to surf.
Great winter surfing can be had on many of the beaches from Newport all the way to Lincoln City, but some of the best local spots include South Beach, Agate Beach, and Otter Rock. Give winter surfing in Newport a try, we’re sure that you won’t be disappointed!
Click here for info on Newport Surf Shops!