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


Elwha River Mouth - Washington's Newest Beach (Seattle Times article) Trip #40

I've had the opportunity to watch the Elwha River dam removals over the past few years. I surfed the river mouth pre-removal when the beach was cobble. Over the years, soft sediment began to not only cover the cobble but also extend the beach into the Strait several hundred feet. The sediment changed the river mouth from shallow reef style waves preferred by short boarders to sandy beach waves better suited for paddlers. Pre-removal, I was able to paddle up the river mouth nearly a quarter mile to a class 2 rapid, now the sediment has choked the mouth to where it's nearly impossible to make that trip.  The sediment is so thick that you lose sight of your hand just below the water's surface.

Paddling the mouth is best at high tides when you can skim over shallow submerged sections of the delta. At low tides, you can paddle around the entire delta.

Be watchful of waves. The Strait can be flat calm, or not. Despite the differences in wave types, large waves can break on the west and north sides of the delta at any tide level. If you prefer a calm no wave day, use the following sites to forecast swell 4' or less, and no or little wind. A NW or W swell over 4' can deliver substantial waves to the delta. Or a strong W or NE wind (over 15kts). Use surf etiquette if other surfers are present.

Launch from Place Road (right fork) but be prepared for a 10 minute walk on gravel to the beach. Check out the book for additional launches. Trip #40

Read a great article on the post-release Elwha delta.. (posted 2/14/17)

Surf Forecast Sites I Use: - PNW surf forecasts
NOAA - Puget Sound to WA Coast Marine Forecast
WindAlert - Real time wind data

Looking west towards Freshwater Bay and Striped Peak  (courtesy of Doug MacDonald) / Seattle Times

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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