From our friends at evo, a skate shop, bike shop, surf shop, wake shop, ski/snowboard shop, camping store, and lifestyle retailer all under one roof[Editor’s Note for Summer 2020: Check the location’s website for the latest updates on closures or changes before heading out. Follow social distancing best practices and prepared to be flexible with your plans if you find an area to be crowded.]
Just because popular culture sometimes relegates surfing exclusively to Hawaii and California, doesn’t mean those are the only places you can catch waves. Case in point: the Oregon coast. The Oregon coast is home to some world class surfing, complete with uncrowded lineups, consistent waves, and beautiful beaches. And for more family-oriented surfers, the slower pace of life and lack of crowds elevate the Oregon coast to the top of the list for anyone looking to bring their kids along on their next surf trip.
Although it sometimes comes as a shock even to longtime residents, Oregon is home to several top-notch surf spots, as well as great surf shops, restaurants, coastal camping and apres-surf activities. So much so, in fact, that it’s hard to give a comprehensive guide to all of the breaks along the coast, so instead we’ll break down some of our favorite spots that also happen to be family friendly.
For those that are newer to the sport and plan on surfing with your kids, we’d highly recommend renting surfboards and wetsuits from a local surf shop. There are plenty of great options, that stock high quality boards and suits from brands like Catch Surf, XCEL, Rip Curl, Imperial Motion, and more. If you determine that you and your family love it, then you can always graduate to owning your own gear, but initially rentals are a great way to try out a variety of styles to determine what you like best.
Once you’ve got the whole family geared up, here are a few of our recommendations for surf spots with something for everyone. We’ll start on the northern coast and work our way south:
Short Sands is a great place to get your feet wet with Oregon surfing. This spot has great views, easily accessible bathrooms, and a mellow break that makes it easy for beginners to build skills and catch waves. This is a popular spot for beginners, so there’s less of a chance of running into crusty advanced surfers. Everyone is here to learn and progress, which builds a great environment. An added bonus is the beautiful path through an old growth forest to the beach.
Oceanside is another slightly less popular beginner destination. The waves here might not be quite as consistent, but when they’re firing, they’re clean and friendly. Park on the shoulder of the highway or walk for a few minutes from the day use area.
While it can be crowded on sunny weekends, Agate Beach is a stereotypical beginner-friendly spot. It’s sheltered from northern winds and has a variety of consistent breaks that are great for less confident surfers, and longboarders, as well as some more interesting waves that sometimes pop up. It is important to make sure to park in the public parking at Agate Beach, as there is some private property that is not open to the public.
Otter Rock may be the most popular central Oregon surf spot, for good reason. Its small, consistent beach break is perfect for anyone just learning to catch waves, and longboarders will enjoy its clean waves. Just be aware of its popularity, holiday weekends at Otter Rock are a little too crowded for younger kids to feel comfortable in the lineup.
Oregon’s southern coast is home to some of the most popular surf spots in the states, and these beaches live up to the hype, especially if you’re looking for an area with smaller, kid-appropriate waves, as well as bigger options to keep the adults occupied. It is worth noting that all these southern spots grow considerably more technical and challenging at extreme low tides and are not beginner appropriate at during these low-tide periods.
Coos Bay is a popular area, with most of the good waves lying between the Yoakam Head and the south jetty. Coos is worth a trip for the camping alone. There are camp spots available on the bluff overlooking the bay, perfect for an all-day surf experience.
Finally, the Brookings south jetty area is a must-surf. The sandy bottom makes it beginner-friendly, and the fact that it’s protected by the jetty from northwest winds means the waves are generally clean and consistent.
So pack the van or buy some plane tickets, and rent the kids some surfboards. It’s time to take the family on a surf trip up and down the Oregon Coast!
About the Author
evo is a surf shop, bike shop, skate shop, wake shop, ski/snowboard shop, camping store, and lifestyle retailer all under one roof. In addition to retail, we provide bike repairs, mountain bike demos, electric bike rentals and more! With flagship stores in Portland, Seattle, Denver, all evo locations proudly showcase evo’s trademark blend of sport, culture, art, retail and service.