This blog covers trips from the book and other favorites. Contact Rob in Seattle: or 206-465-7167


Paddling Seattle - Golden Gardens, Shilsole Bar to West Point Lighthouse - Trip #18 -

West Point at 30kts of Southerly Wind.
Sometimes the best paddle route is the one closest to where you live.  A friend once told me that he got bored paddling on Shilshole Bay from Golden Gardens to the West Point Lighthouse at Discovery Park.  For me, it's different every time, and I've been doing it nearly weekly for a decade.

6 Reasons Why I love paddling on Shilshole Bay:
Shilshole Bay
- I enjoy the light outgoing always present current below the Chittenden Locks. I can teach my SUP students to ferry across the current, use eddies to go upstream then get a sorta free float back downstream.  After heavy rain eddy lines form behind obstructions giving myself and students practice in currents up to 4kts.  Picturesque homes on stilts line the shores.  Know anyone selling one - give me a holler!  Note: SUPs aren't allowed to transit through the Locks.

- Freighters put off up to chest high (5') surfable waves across from Ray's Boathouse at low tides. We also surf tug waves in deep water offshore once a week.  Wave faces can reach up to 6' with rides nearly 1/2 mile long.  Read article on our surfing exploits in the Seattle Time, Here.  I also surf behind most boats coming out of or going into the Locks.  Learn to surf Freighter Waves

Tip: Give boaters the right of way and make eye contact before getting their wave.

- High wind days create fun conditions if you're into that sort of thing. North winds over 20 knots create surf at Meadow Point and at the mouth of Salmon Bay. Southerlies create surf on the south side of West Point and fun downwind conditions between the point and Golden Gardens. Friends and I have paddled in up to 41 knots, our limit.
Shilshole Bay, Seattle

- Wildlife. On every paddle I pass a section with a half dozen harbor seals who frolic below my board or kayak, or follow me around. Sea lions bark in the distance, and sea life dart below my water craft on clear days.  Whale sighting are few.

- Shilshole Marina, nearly 1.7 miles long provides protected paddling about 350 days a year.  I take my SUP students in there for calm water and to work on directional control weaving through the many channels and pathways.  Tip: Slow down for each aisle opening in case a boat is coming out.

- Paddling to West Point.  From my launch at the Elks Beach below the Locks, the lighthouse is about 1.7 miles. It looks easy but currents and back eddies can hinder your speed.  A straight line to the lighthouse isn't always the easiest route.  If there's an outgoing tide or strong southerly, the bay on the north side of the point becomes a big gyro or back eddy pushing current along shore to the point. Going point A to B would be bucking current the whole distance.

Webcam from a house on Magnolia:

Learn more about my book Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips. I also offer SUP and Kayak lessons available throughout the year at Salmon Bay Paddle. Questions about paddling on the Salish Sea, give me a holler anytime at or 206-465-7167

Support the Washington Water Trails Association and the Cascadia Marine Trail. The wwta works to create and protect access for paddlers on Puget Sound as well as provide an extensive network of over 60 paddle-in camping sites -

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