The Old Smuggler

Short Sands. Smuggler's Cove. Oswald West. Mushburgers. The Dump Hole. Purgatory. No matter what you call it, the most frequented beach on the coast has many faces. I can't even tell you how many times I've walked up the trail, face red, cursing and promising myself, with every fiber in my being, that I will never surf there again. It's inconsistent, it's crowded and the waves are mushy and soft.  But, just when you think the place is done, finished, dead, sure enough, a stream will open up, some sand will move around, the conditions will come together and the little bay will turn on. And when that happens, there's hardly a better venue to share some waves with your buddies.

Shorties is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spots on the coast. With jagged headlands to the north and south, the view from the beach and the water alike is nothing short of dramatic. There's usually always a waterfall spilling down the rocks on the north side and, after a good rain, you'll get a cascade down south too. Also, it doesn't hurt that you hike next to a river and through a lush old-growth forest on the way to and from the water. Again, truly beautiful and a staple amongst surfers and beach-goers of the Pacific Northwest. 

Good luck scoring it though. It seems as though the place gets moodier and more fickle with age. Hence the long walks up the trail trying to adjust my post-surf attitude. But last night, though far from legendary, there were some peaks serving up long lefts for the late crowd (first 3 shots). It showed a little glimpse of potential and we were amping to surf a pushing tide this morning (last 3 shots). In typical Shorties fashion, the waves were there, but not nearly as good or plentiful as the night before; you can tell by the body language. 

Until it's good, I'll never surf there again. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I like to call the Shorties spiel.


  1. Never heard of it. Will have to check it out some time.

  2. Oops. I better take the names down...this is a secret spot. I'm sure it probably was 20 years ago though. Actually, I was talking to a super cool dude that was born and raised "up north" and he said he and his buddies would go down there and surf 10-15 years ago by themselves with only a hand full of beach-goers. I bet the sandbars were reminiscent of Hossegor too. Times they are a changin'...

  3. gave up on Shawtys years ago. still go there though.
    undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the pnw

  4. what about low tide nori salad and the free beer cooler...natures gifts

  5. not much of a nori fan, but the beer cooler is great!