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Showing posts with label Westport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Westport. Show all posts

Washington Adventures : Take Your Kids Surfing

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If you can surf in Washington state, you can surf anywhere !

Surfing in Washington is a pretty miserable experience. Dipping occasionally into the mid-40s but generally hovering around 50 degrees, the ocean water temperature is just one of the "discomforts", along with gale-force winds, massive swells, demonic currents, and razor-sharp rocks.

The Best Surf Towns In America - Westport, WA

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The beauty of great surf towns is that they combine great waves with a laid-back beach atmosphere.

The West Coast is dotted with dozens of diverse and attractive surf towns. While California and Hawaii remain the most popular surfing destinations, their PNW neighbors - Oregon and Washington - are gaining popularity and respect among the more hard core crowd of cold water surfers.

Wesport's Westheaven State Park is probably the  most popular surfing destination in Washington state.

Skimboarding - Fun For All Ages !

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This summer I finally got to try skimboarding !

As I wrote in my previous post, most people know skimboarding as “that thing kids do on the sand,” but the truth is , skimboarding is not just for kids. I have to admit, I didn't see too many adults skimming along the beach. And after the first ( dozens ) of falls I realized why :)

Skimboarding is as simple as : throw the board down, run after it, and hop on. Yet, for adults, it can be quite intimidating and frustrating.  It takes technique, balance, good hand and eye cordination, and allows little room for mistake. But once you can grasp the nack of jumping onto the skimboarding without falling you'll never loose it.

But at first, expect to wipeout a lot, nearby kids will make fun of you, and by standing adults ( quietly ) judging you. But pay no attention to naysayers and their negativity. Skimboarding is tons of fun ! Besides, it can be done anywhere there is a pool of water !

In fact, tumbling into sun-toasted water can be a pleasurable experience. Then there’s the simple joy of wiggling one’s toes in sandy flats while watching skimmers slap their boards down and race to hop on.

Like the fleeting days of summer, catch ’em while you can.

Surfing In Washington : Kids Have Fun In Cold Water

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While thoughts of surfing may evoke summertime and warm, sandy beaches, there also exists an entirely separate sect of surfers who brave freezing temperatures to catch waves on frigid waters.

Washington is not Hawaii, and though, surfing remains an outdoor activity for a very dedicated and tight group of people, the sport is growing in popularity !

A new generation of surfers brave cold water, gusty winds, and pouring rain to get stoked catching mushy waves at the popular Wesport's Westheaven State Park, Washington most popular surfing destination.

As I wrote in my previous posts, the best way to introduce your kids to surfing is to do it in some place warm. But if your kid is brave/crazy enough to surf in the cold waters of Pacific Ocean, you know you have a life-long surfer on your hands.

My son celebrated his 7th birthday by learning how surf in the most miserable conditions one can only imagine. Yet, the smile on his face told me he had the time of his life !

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5 Tips To Teach Your Kid To Surf

Surfing Westport, WA

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They say : "Westport is Washington's premier place to surf..." .

I was looking forward to my first visit to this unofficial " surf capital of Washington". I heard a lot about unpredictable coastal weather : the average water temperature ranges from 40 to almost 60 degrees, enormous changes in the tide and wind that create gritty, unstable conditions, and waves that go from small in the summer to overhead in the winter making it tough getting good surf here.

It was all true. When I arrived there in the morning , it was ...depressing. Cold spring temperature, high, powerful wind, and dripping rain almost killed my desire to go into water. Besides, ( as usual ) I showed up unprepared, not even knowing where to surf.

Without even knowing it, I was just a mile away from Westhaven State Park, which is " Surf Central at Westport ".

Westport's waves are often too big to surf in the winter, but late spring and summer bring smaller waves, lighter breezes, and more surfers. At some point, I thought I would be the only " crazy " person with a board, but to my relief, there were more people than I expected.

The park has plenty of parking, bathrooms and hot showers. Westhaven offers three main places to surf: The Cove, the Jetty and "the Groins ".

As I still consider myself a beginner, I started at at The Jetty, that has lots of nice whitewater waves, and those are the best to learn or to improve your rusty skills on.

The water was cold, but I was ...super hot. I was wearing my diving 7 mm suit, and after spending 1.5 hours, I was sweating and couldn't really notice I was in cold water.

In the afternoon the sun came out, and for a moment it felt like I was in Hawaii or, at least, in California during winter.

Surfing In Washington State

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Ask any Washingtonian to list a number of outdoor activities, and he will spill it out : hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, climbing, camping and so on. What about surfing ? " Not really our Northwest thing " - you will be told. Not true.

Surfing may not be as popular as skiing, biking or hiking in Washington , but there are people who are brave ( or crazy, you would say ) enough to take on cold NW 4-9ft summer swells .

Two popular spots are Ocean Shores and Westport, with Ocean Shores being more of a recreational spot and Westport - " NW surfing mecca."

Westport is a pretty good bet in the summer, and believe it or not it gets crowded on week ends. Late spring and summer bring smaller waves, lighter breezes. Spring through fall is the time for most surfers. In the spring, the surf starts to dial down, and in fall it starts to dial up again.

No matter the season, surfers need full wetsuits - including gloves, hoods and booties - as the water is always in the 50-degree range. But with a good wet suit, it’s no longer painful to spend a few hours in the water ( make sure you wear full body skins under wetsuit and wool socks with your booties ).

If you are new to the sport, start on a long board. A 9 (10 )-foot long board is for more powerful movements, and its size makes it more stable, easier to stand up and keep your balance.

If learning through trial and error is not your thing, check out local surf shops for lessons and rentals. Learning how to surf is challenging ( in NW - miserable ) , but fun experience.