State of the Beach/State Reports/OR/Surfing Areas

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Oregon Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access108
Water Quality65
Beach Erosion6-
Erosion Response-6
Beach Fill5-
Shoreline Structures6 5
Beach Ecology6-
Surfing Areas48
Website7-


Inventory and Perception of Status

Oregon's 71 surf spots are in good condition, and there are no particular areas that are directly endangered at this time. However, concerns have been raised about water quality and loss of beach access trails due to shoreline development. Localism can be an issue at some spots.

Check out the book and Facebook page Oregon Surfing: Past and Present.

Recognition by State

There is only a relatively small population of surfers at present and it is not a highly visible sport. As a result, it is not generally recognized as an economic, cultural, and recreational resource. However, surfing is an identified activity in the interactive Oregon Coastal Access Inventory.

Although OPRD does not recognize waves as a valuable natural resource for recreation, wave-related sports such as surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and body boarding and the sites used for these sports are recognized as an important recreational activity, and the Ocean Shore Management Plan supports continued use of surf sports where there is not conflict with other resource protections like western snowy plover.

Steps are taken to protect identified coastal recreation activities and restrict practices (such as driving on the beach) that would impair recreational opportunities.[1]

In addition, individual permit decisions can take into account wave-related resources, and the effects that projects may have. Case-in-point: mitigation required for USACE project at Tillamook North Jetty.

There are no surfing or swimming restrictions on coastal waters, with one exception (City of Seaside – this is an historic law restricting surfing north of Avenue U). Other restrictions (e.g. beach camping, vehicle driving, beach fires, dogs, horseback riding, indecent exposure), may be found under the rules of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, OAR-736-021. NOTE: There are draft revisions to these rules:

"Rule change allows certain department officials and peace officers the authority to order rule violators to leave or to exclude them from the ocean shore area for a period of time; establishes an appeal process for exclusions; requires domestic animal handlers to maintain control and be responsible for animal behavior; establishes specific standards for natural product removal for personal use; prohibits seasonal collection and prospecting in Western Snowy Plover areas; prohibits altering the natural environment or disturbing natural resources; prohibits or regulates certain activities to ensure safety, preservation and access for all; clarifies rules for items of value found on the ocean shore; etc."


The following State Statute can be used to restrict surfing or other recreational activities, as necessary:

390.660 Regulation of use of lands adjoining ocean shores; rules. The State Parks and Recreation Department is hereby directed to protect, to maintain and to promulgate rules governing use of the public of property that is subject to ORS 390.640, property subject to public rights or easements declared by ORS 390.610 and property abutting, adjacent or contiguous to those lands described by ORS 390.615 that is available for public use, whether such public right or easement to use is obtained by dedication, prescription, grant, state-ownership, permission of a private owner or otherwise.
[1967 c.601 §7; 1969 c.601 §16]


Oregon's Ocean Shore Management Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan (January 2005) has the following to say about surfing and windsurfing:

Near shore activities/surf sports: In the far northern portion of the North Coast, surfing is the most prominent of the “surf sports” as a primary activity. The numerous jetties play a big role in supporting this level of use, as they create necessary surf conditions and allow for public access. Also, many of the jetties are located closest to the larger Portland area where most of the surfers come from. The percentage of participation in surfing as a primary activity drops gradually from north to south, and then jumps up a bit at the far south where beaches are closer to the California population centers. Windsurfing is markedly higher on the far South Coast, where prime destination sites such as Pistol River and Floras Lake are well known and heavily used.


Other documents that discuss shore and statewide recreational use in general are:

  • An observational survey and on-site survey of beach users in 2001 showed that surfing represents 6% of recreation pursued on Oregon beaches and 2% of the primary recreation activities pursued on Oregon beaches.
  • The report mentions windsurfing as a distinct recreational activity (as a boating activity) but not surfing per se.
  • There was an 11.3% increase in recreation participation of beach activities including swimming (fresh & salt) statewide from 1987 to 2002 (8.5 million to 9.4 million).
  • Reports that there is a need to acquire high-value coastal properties for public recreational use. Specific acquisitions include areas identified for public beach access and those necessary to maintain a natural experience for beach users (e.g. undeveloped coastal areas in proximity to beach access points). Key coastal parcels should be identified and purchased before development occurs.
  • Surfing accounted for 1.3% of the trips to the coast or ocean by surveyed Oregonians.


Surfrider Foundation Chapters

General information about Surfrider Foundation activities and issues in Oregon can be found on the Oregon Chapter Network website.

Surfrider Foundation has chapters in Portland, along the North Coast (Cannon Beach), Central Coast (Newport), a Siuslaw chapter based in Florence and South Coast chapters or organizing committees based in Coos Bay and Port Orford.

Surfrider Foundation has an Oregon Field Coordinator and an Oregon Policy Coordinator.

 LocationWebsite
Coos Bay Chapter43° 21' 59.4036", -124° 13' 4.404"http://coosbay.surfrider.org/
Newport Oregon Chapter44° 36' 45.4212", -124° 2' 55.4208"http://newport.surfrider.org/
Portland Chapter45° 31' 24.4272", -122° 40' 34.3452"http://portland.surfrider.org/
Siuslaw Chapter43° 58' 57.4356", -124° 5' 59.4276"http://siuslaw.surfrider.org/


Coos Bay Chapter Coos Bay Chapter Website



Check out the Coos Bay Chapter blog at http://coosbay.surfrider.org/

You can contact the Coos Bay Chapter via email at chair@coosbay.surfrider.org

Newport Oregon Chapter Newport Oregon Chapter Website

Surfrider members have conducted water quality testing at area beaches since 1999. In 2004, Newport Surfrider volunteers partnered with the Ocean Coast Aquarium Youth Volunteer Program for weekly beach water testing along a 20-mile area of the central Oregon coast. Water quality "hot spots" at Nye and Agate beaches have been documented by this testing and brought to the attention of the City of Newport and the Dept. of Health Services. The City responded by forming a Mayor's Water Quality Workgroup which meets monthly with the public to improve health advisory signage, streamline notification procedures, educate the public on water quality issues and identify cumulative and source contributors to water pollution at local beaches.

Check out the Newport Oregon Chapter blog at http://newport.surfrider.org/

You can contact the Newport Oregon Chapter via email at chair@newport.or.surfrider.org

Portland Chapter Portland Chapter Website



Check out the Portland Chapter blog at http://portland.surfrider.org/

You can contact the Portland Chapter via email at chair@portland.surfrider.org

Siuslaw Chapter Siuslaw Chapter Website

Latest Posts on the Siuslaw Chapter Blog:



Check out the Siuslaw Chapter blog at http://siuslaw.surfrider.org/blog/

You can contact the Siuslaw Chapter via email at chair@siuslaw.surfrider.org

Surfrider Staff Contacts

Charlie Plybon
Oregon Policy Manager
Surfrider Foundation
P.O. Box 99
South Beach, OR 97366
Phone: (541) 961-8143

Ryan Cruse
Oregon Field Coordinator
rcruse@surfrider.org

Information Sources

The summary of surfing areas comes from Surfer Magazine's The Surf Report issues for the state. Surfrider Foundation's Oregon chapters were also surveyed to establish surfing conditions in the state.

Other sources of information on surfing in Oregon include:



Footnotes

  1. Paul Klarin, OOCMP. Surfrider State of the Beach Survey response. November 26, 2002.



State of the Beach Report: Oregon
Oregon Home Beach Description Beach Access Water Quality Beach Erosion Erosion Response Beach Fill Shoreline Structures Beach Ecology Surfing Areas Website
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