Oregon’s wave-lashed coastline is 360-plus miles long, with amazing surf breaks set against the backdrop of sea cliffs, rocky shores and sand dunes. For surfers who can brave fifty-degree water, there are incredible waves to be found in this state, which has made its beaches free and open to the public since 1967.
Lincoln CityThis coastal town enjoys more than seven miles of sandy beaches with rugged stretches of coastline and an exposed reef that features consistent waves. The rugged stretches are the best places to catch Lincoln City’s biggest surfing waves, where conditions include groundswells and wind swells, with the best swell direction coming in from the west. This cold-water, big wave break features powerful swells 6 to 8 feet, and is best for the more experienced surfer.
A giant bluff protects Otter Rock from wind and giant swells, earning it a reputation as a favorite spot for beginners. It sports reliable surf year-round, and is often referred to as the Waikiki of Oregon. Otter Rock starts working with a swell of around 2 feet and can hold shape with a swell of up to 8 feet or more, with the best wind direction coming in from the east. On a sunny day, the beach is crowded, but there is plenty of open water for surfers of any level.
NewportAgate Beach offers loads of respectable beach breaks, and is protected from northern winds by a massive point. The break here is consistent and produces quality barrels and nicely shaped waves. The wind swells and groundswells are in equal measure, with the best swell direction coming in from the west. Waves at the beach break both left and right. The swells, as well as the sharks, are big here, so keep an eye out for both.
Battle Rock is situated at the south end of this tiny, artistic town. The northwest winds blow offshore at this south-facing beach, and the big northwest swells are usually blocked by Nellies Point, but if the variables come together, it can be a great ride. These waves are best ridden by intermediate to advanced surfers and short boarders, but whatever your board choice is, beware of the bone-crushing shore breaks.
FlorenceSouth Jetty extends out from the mouth of the Siuslaw River and boasts mostly right breaks at this wide, due-west facing beach. South Jetty juts out and angles to the south, creating a sheltered nook to ride the south and southwesterly swell. Surfers will find solitude while dropping into the small, westerly summer swell at high tide.
Pacific CityCape Kiwanda is a stunning beach with a number of impressive breaks. It features a right reef peak along the south side of the cape and clean west-to-northwest swells of up to five feet. There are more peaks to the south. These are less suited for beginners, due to thrashing beach breaks and ripping longshore currents. Cape Kiwanda is more crowded than the other beaches in Oregon because it is more consistent, so if you’re looking for a spot that won’t disappoint, this is the one.