Moving to the Pacific NW

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by mattybrews, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. mattybrews

    mattybrews Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    So after months of deep contemplation, I've decided I'm going to just pick up and move out to Oregon or Washington. I'm going there for the mountains, and from what I understand the surf can be pretty damn good too. Job is an afterthought.

    Does anybody have experience surfing either of these two states? Where are some good areas to surf? How is the crowd factor and its vibe? Is it tough being the new kid in town? I hear Oregon surfers can be a bit territorial in places.

    Also, any recommendations on cities/towns that would be within a reasonable drive to surfing areas? Right now my plan is to stay at a friend's place in Seattle for a few months until I can get myself set up out there.
  2. ClemsonSurf

    ClemsonSurf Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    I know two guys that live and work in the Walla Walla area and they love it. THey're definitely not surfers since its about a 6 hour ride to the beach but they get out in the wilderness a lot. There is some kind of tax loophole between OR and WA where you work in one state but live in the other where you don't have to pay income taxes or something.

    I was gonna check it out for myself but I decided to watch all of Portlandia on netflix instead.

  3. mattybrews

    mattybrews Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    Haha! It just about sums it up. Where young adults go to retire.
  4. Paddington Jetty Bear

    Paddington Jetty Bear Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    Matty, though you seem more interested in mountains than waves, you are the best person on Swellinfo. Go to the Pacific Northwest and don't look back. This will give your surfing life a whole new kick in the groin. A good kick in the groin. The east coast sucks. Seriously, the east coast sucks.

    Since you are on SWELLINFO.COM I'm sure you can hit websites that will give you some heads up on the area's more popular spots(Surfline Travel Section). You've heard of Seaside, Oregon, right?

    The mountains, huh? Maybe you'll become friends with Gerry Lopez one day.

    You may be running for cover many times in the winter as them NW swells can be large and crazy. If you are in Washington - The Straight of Juan De Fuca(good luck with access and Indians).

    Oregon has sharks but Washington doesn't seem to have them. A dude named Pepsi rules the line-up in Westport. And those Seaside, Oregon dudes are llama-loving punks. F Them. You may have to dodge restless native Americans at some of the off-the-radar spots. HINT: Bring alcohol and confuse and distract them with a few carefully hinden bottles of Kasser's vodka and Keystone Ice 12 packs.

    Dude, at first you'll be stoked out there just by the friggin coastal scenery and surviving a real ocean that is alive and rugged. It can be two foot garbage and you'll be more stoked than a head high day at IRI. Adventure will actually become a part of your vocabulary. It ain't that adventorous parking at 48th St., paddling out and looking shoreward at endless rows of hotels.

    GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE. GO. I mean c'mon, how cool is the vibe on Portlandia? Imagine the coast. Plus, you'll be in marijuana land.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  5. chicharronne

    chicharronne Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2006
    watch this before committing yourself.

  6. mattybrews

    mattybrews Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    meh, still better waves and now maybe i have a shot at growing that pair of gills i've been longing for!
  7. seldom seen

    seldom seen Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    Hahaha! Enjoy dude, I'm sure it's quite peaceful out there.
  8. brewengineer

    brewengineer Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2011
    May want to think about that yourself, chich. :p
  9. Bill Cosby's nephew

    Bill Cosby's nephew Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2013
    Check out Salem, Oregon. Cost of living is pretty low and its very close to the beach
  10. AtanticO

    AtanticO Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2013
    i lived there. you'll be stoked at first. then you realize your surrounded by emo-hipsters, paranoid meth-freaks and super mushy waves. trust me on that last point. in fact, i'd argue the east coast is better in winter than the NW is. east coast has epic beachbreaks. better then most west coast beachbreaks. NW is big all the time, but it's non-stop south wind and everything breaks way off the beach. you'll be lost at sea when it's only chest high. other than a certain wedge spot on the rez, facing Canada, the waves really do suck. the strait kinda gets waves and has south wind protection... but only 1 spot is any good. think damn removal.
    as far as snow or whatever the cascades mostly suck. too many tight trees. super crowed small resorts by west coast standards. too warm most of the time. go to tahoe. not the biggest terrain, but tons of features and super rideable. dumps there. way more fun.
    summer and early fall are fun in the NW though. only 2 or 3 spots actually get any south swell, but they get super fun. short sands (gets epic) and la push. and its the only time they are worth the 4+ hrs drive out there.
    i'd visit it first if i were you. just go to santa cruz instead. more waves just in town then the entire NW. easily best surf town on earth. and tahoe is the same drive from SC, as the beach is from anywhere you could live in the NW. trust me, when summer is over... you'll regret moving to the NW.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  11. User Name

    User Name New Member

    Jul 9, 2013
    Last September I finished a climbing trip in the Cascades with 2 days of surfing in Westport, WA. The surfing was really good to say the least, and the place very picturesque. You could even camp out on the beach and make a fire. Even though this was the weekend and there were quite a few surfers out in the water, it didn't feel crowded at all. There's not much going on in Westport, which is both good and bad. The surfers out there keep pretty much to themselves and there's not much of a local vibe or surf culture. The town is very close to Aberdeen, Kurt Cobain's hometown, which is a total sh*thole, so I can't guarantee much as to the long-term effects of the place ...

    But Wesport is only about 2 hours away from Seattle, which I think is the greatest place to live in the Lower 48's that offers you a healthy ratio of ocean and mountains. And if by "going there for the mountains" you mean climbing, then you're in great luck! Some of the best crags and alpine playgrounds will be at your fingertips (Leavenworth, Index, the Northern Cascades, just to name a few). Seattle is also close to Squamish in BC, Whistler for skiing/riding in the winter, and withing a days drive from world-class skiing in Revelstoke & Kicking Horse, Rogers pass, etc, and world-class ice climbing (Banff & Canmore). You can also add mountain biking and whitewater kayaking to the list ...

    You get the picture. I've been traveling to this part of the country for over 10 years now and I'm wondering how come I don't live there... Good luck!
  12. rodndtube

    rodndtube Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2006
  13. mattybrews

    mattybrews Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    Thanks for the input guys. I want the mountains mainly for climbing and hiking, though snowboarding is a definite plus. If there is surf as decent as here, that's all I need; I just don't want to have to give up surfing entirely again.

    I've spent several vacations out that way in the past ten years, and every single time I fall in love all over again.

    And Paddington Jetty Bear, that was hilarious and helpful, though I'm not sure what parts were serious and which ones were jokes.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  14. mop

    mop Well-Known Member

    Jul 24, 2010
    AtlanticO summed it up the NW is for a select few for sure VERY WET AND WINDY OH AND A LOTTA PUSH. Its (only) for surf fiends and NWERS. If you ski or snowboard or mountain bike you'll be sooooooo pumped. Those that haven't diversified their addiction really struggle. So Norcal can give you more quality surf but less **** face factor as socoool! Its a personal pursuit, just like every swell so just go.
  15. AtanticO

    AtanticO Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2013
    BAAAAHAHAAHHA! WAY more super cool fu#k face factor in the NW. mindless 'outdoor gear' consuming kooks. has high levels super unique, super cool, know-it-all's. hipster central. emo f*gville. WA more so than OR. you'll laugh at all the GoPRO f**s who can barely surf. in winter... im serious...there is only 1 good surf spot. 1. the novelty spots aren't worth caring about. 5 days a year doesn't make a surf spot. but go to Santa Cruz and norcal and you'll never leave. trust me. you laugh at even considering anywhere else. and there is mountains. the sierras get way more snow than the cascades with better quality. baker is the exception in the NW. but it's wet, sh*t snow with TONS of college kids beating it all out in 30 min on a pow day.
    hell, i spent a long time in Alaska too and would definitely suggest that over either if you want to climb and surf. nothing can top AK mountains. the surf can be fun. hard to access though. and heavy weather for sure. i've seen macho NE dudes tuck tail and run for their life. but the adventure aspect cannot be matched. good paying jobs too. awesome place.
    bottom line, the NW (seattle area) is a good place to move to if you want to paint your nails black, hangout in a coffee shop discussing politics while exploring your 'emotions'.... but for what your looking for... weak.
    and westport is 3.5 hrs from seattle. minimum. anyone claiming westport is good is either cooking meth, or a coffee shop, emo dork who doesn't actually/or just learned surf. . its just the closet spot. thats all it is. have fun paddling non stop. good luck.

    **** all advice though. go for a visit first. figure it out for yourself. better that way.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  16. kidrock

    kidrock Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2010
    Wow, some pretty strong opinions from a few blow-in's.

    I lived in WA for over 10 years, and still have a home on the other side of Gray's Harbor across from Westport. PJB is a bit cryptic about some of the spots, but seems to be about the most accurate...without giving away too much info. Cool.

    Yes, most of WA is big, cold, drizzly and blown out. The funny thing about it though, is that there's a lot of spots that not everybody knows about that point in funky directions. If you get the place wired, you'll usually find some kind of surf. Show some respect in the lineup and share a bowl of sticky dank with the right guy, and you can get hooked up sick.

    Westport is the "hub" of WA surfing, and is probably the most consistent spot(s). It can be really bad, or really epic. As with most surf spots, you just gotta get it wired. La Push is also popular, pretty much average beach break. Between Westport and La Push are many hidden coves and reefs that very few know about, and access is a royal PITA. There are also some darn good breaks around La and ye shall find.

    Then there's the Strait (not "straight", nor "straights"). Believe me, there is more than one "dam" surf spot there. But getting to most of these spots is like going total commando. A couple people up here use zodiacs to get to the primo spots. Sure, a couple of spots are "novelty" spots...but there's not too many places where you can surf nice glassy 2-4 foot peaks over 60 miles away from the coast. The locals have it dialed.

    During long period SW groundswells, you can take a ferry (expensive) over to Vancouver Island. Some excellent right points, guarded by territorial Canucks. But a little respect goes a long way over there.

    Generally, the surf in Oregon is considerably better and more consistent. The best spots seem to be controlled by aggro tweaker locals, or gigantic whiteys.

    Seattle's not "emo hipsters". There's actually quite a bit of culture. Check it out for yourself, and form your own opinion.
  17. AtanticO

    AtanticO Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2013
    nice name... kidrock. you reading some surf guide as you type? blow through? yep. sorry im not in your little club. is this website private? too much NW info?? it's ALL over the internet already! ocean shores home owner huh? no wonder your name is 'kidROCK'. 10 years? bet you've had a for sale sign out front of your house for 10 years like 90% of that town. love north coast surf shop though. kerry rules. great guy.
    i served in the coast guard at several stations in the PNW for 12yrs. i know most of the 'original locals' out there. i know that area quite well in fact. i have an inflatable stashed at a buddies house in neah bay. friends at taholah which allows me to go where white people can't/aren't allowed. i have access to private land at some of the points east of port angeles, via the 'locals'. i have seen that entire coast as much as anybody. day in day out. waste of time mostly. too tidal dependent and narrow a swell window. if you can actually surf (i assume kidrock is a funboarder or something) you'd see what i mean. weak, weak , weak as waves up there.
    besides the 1 consistently good spot out by neah, there is only novelty spots that break for 1 hr on the right tide and a huge swell. the expection being just west of PA. it actually has a little power. look at a topography map of the west coast and you'll see. oh, and sharks don't turn around at the state line. there is a big rookery between la push and neah they love it! besides, they go everywhere. in the 80's a 20ft white washed up in tacoma. yes tacoma.
    seattle is full of emo hipsters. more psych meds prescribed per capita than anywhere else in the US. psychologists dream city. portland is better and only 1 hr from the best wave in north america...but you ain't getting that action. seaside boys have that on lock! try'll see.
    im just saying you should plan on giving up surfing at some point (or loooong stretches) if you move there. like i said, stoked at first, then you'll regret it. don't do it. the east coast is better. lotsa tubes when it goes.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  18. Kahuna Kai

    Kahuna Kai Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2010
    That's amazing! Didn't Greg Noll move to Oregon?
  19. Paddington Jetty Bear

    Paddington Jetty Bear Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    DUDE, the east coast is NOT epic. The east coast is all aboot onshore windswells that throw you one clean day as the winds switch offshore, the low pressure heads towards the North Atlantic, and the surf starts to receede.

    There are a lot of you misguided confused souls that by into this, " THE WEST COAST HAS NO GOOD BEACH BREAK" thang. ARE YOU NUTS ??

    The west coast has great beach breaks from Mayhego all the way through Canada. Let's see Puerto Escondidio is pretty good, as long with numerous other beachies south of the border. Better than the east coast and most Mexican beachies snap harder than Deal, NJ.

    California's surf media focuses on the cobblestone points, but they have miles of beachbreak thta can get real good. Can anywhere on the east coast ever touch the size, power and class of Black's Beach? Can any east coast beachie handle a 10 foot, long period swell like Ocean Beach(SF)? Hey, Moss Landing is pretty good too. Ventura........Oxnard.....

    Shucks, Newport Beach outclasses east coast beachbreaks. The east coast is on par with the red headed step child breaks like El Porto. Dude, if you looked you'll find plenty of good peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

    Anyways, just the whole surfing experience is more raw and authentic in the Pacific Northwest. Hiking through redwood forrests to get to spots untouched by man and surfing in a natural unspoiled environment awakens the senses. Not like some dull session in front of condos and hotels in VA Beach. Man, you feel like you are on Deadliest Catch when you surf in the Pacific Northwest.

    Santa Cruz is a GREAT place......except that it is completely overrun. Too crowded, with friction from the generational hotshot locals, UCSC students and dudes from Victorville(could be a wrong inland town reference but hey I went for it).
  20. Paddington Jetty Bear

    Paddington Jetty Bear Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2013
    Oh yeah, let me add..........I rather deal with emo hipsters and some comical meth stars than the thugs and heroin addicts in New Jersey. People get shot around here all of the time. It's very scary. And everybody is on heroin. Really, everybody is. Just go to any train station that leads into Camden or Newark and you'll see them all just standing there........OMG I just shruddered at the thought.

    Some people might bag on the Pacific Northwest because it's just not their bag, man. Rainy, foggy, desolate, scares people, just like those thugs in New Jersey. Oh, the red triangle ceases well below Washington state and sharks do know not to cross any borders(hain't been no atttacks there)...kind of like when Roscoe P. Coltrane would chase the Duke boys and would have to stop at the end of Hazzard County. Oh man, remember Sherriff Little over in Chickasaw County. Wow, he was a mean one. Thems were good times.

    Anyways Matty, it sounds like surfing isn't main priority so, if it sucks as bad as Atlantic0 says, you can do your other thangs and then hit it when it's on. Word. Hey can I come with you, man?