Overhead surf on Tahoe's North Shore

The Line of the Week
North Lake Tahoe

Surf’s Up !!

I hope these Tahoe surf days aren’t getting too redundant. I thought I had hit my quota for photos of people paddling out on Tahoe and hoping to catch a ride on a four foot wave. That was before last week…

I was sleeping so soundly the other night when all of  sudden I was awoken to the sound of trees swaying violently. Leaves, pine needles and cones were smacking the side of my house so I hopped out of bed to check out the scene. I was blown away by how hard the wind was blowing. I knew the lake must look awesome! I grabbed my camera and dashed out of the house in my pajamas and slippers. Down at Dollar Beach the waves were raging. The light was spectacular and spray from the lake was flying 20 feet from the waters edge. I had never seen Tahoe in this state.

About an hour later I got a return call from Scott Gaffney regarding the surf conditions. It was on!

I got in my car and headed towards Incline. At the traffic light at Tahoe Vista my attention was immediately pulled lakeside. I couldn’t believe the view. The waves were rolling in massive sets. I pulled the car over only to see the first wave smack into the side of Captain Jon’s restaurant. These were hands down the biggest waves I have seen on Lake Tahoe. It was hard to shoot as the repetitious spray from each wave doused my camera gear. I snapped off a few on the limited battery life I had left and moved on.

Huge waves smack into Captain John's in Tahoe Vista

At Incline I noticed surfers in the water. The winds were heavy and the surf was big. It honestly looked like the ocean. If there have ever been waves larger than this please let me know. As I hung out shooting pics I got soaked by the waves crashing against the rocks. I could tell from watching that choosing the right wave was difficult. One guy would drop in and catch a beautiful ride to shore while another would get rocked! It seemed difficult to paddle back out in the messy sets.

Wipe out

While most of Tahoe has been sitting back watching NOAA for the most recent snow forecasts November has proven to be one of the most impressive lake surf months to date. It’s hard to believe that one day the lake can be smooth like glass and others can see dudes in wetsuits dropping in on waves over head high.

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The Line of the Week is a weekly photo piece by Ryan Salm featuring some of Tahoe’s finest athletes doing whatever we deem rad. We will be using the term “Line” loosely to describe anything resembling chutes, big airs, pointers or any general madness. All images are the property and copyright of Ryan Salm Photography. All images are only to be used in conjunction with the Line of the Week. Any other usage must be cleared in writing by Ryan Salm.

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  1. Miles Clark says:

    That’s the biggest wave I’ve seen ridden on Tahoe.

  2. DirtySanchez says:

    should have moved out with my suit and board. might as well betting SOME turns in before squaw opens

  3. lachnload says:

    today would be a pretty good day to surf the west shore minus the cold wind. some of the biggest waves i have ever seen on the lake.

  4. kathrine says:

    why are there oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


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