Choose a Break

Galveston Tanker Surfing

Surf/SUP Adventure in Galveston, United States

Surfing a glassy tanker wave
Surfing a glassy tanker waveWOW! Surfing next to huge oil tankersA-frame tanker wave breaking in the distanceWaiting for waves as a tanker passes byAnother perfect day tanker surfing on the bayA good sized Tanker WaveThe isn't wakesurfing, the wave breaks far from the shipIt's not always this glassy, but when it is... WOW!The action is quick when the wave shows upTime hanging out on the boat waiting for the next wave

Please contact for availability.



About this property

You've heard about Tanker Surfing, you've seen it on "Step Into Liquid", now it's your turn!  Capt. James Fulbright runs the original Tanker Surfing operation in Galveston (yes, the one from the movie) and now you can join in for an incredible day riding the longest waves of your life.

The majority of tanker surfing is done in open water, over submerged shoals, miles from any shoreline. Surfing tanker waves is best on longboards 9-10′ in length, due to sloping waves without a steep face. Riding a longboard will not only allow you to catch the wave, but also give you a better chance of staying on the swell when it passes over deeper water and stops breaking, sometimes for over a mile. Riding distances can be anywhere from 1/2 mile to 5 miles, depending on a multitude of factors mentioned above.

Riding the tanker waves on a shortboard is possible in specific areas and from the right ship. The real challenge though lies in connecting the dots between water depth changes, the overall length of ride and the ability to catch waves created by smaller vessels. There are also small islands in the bay complex where the tanker wave will break along their sandy and/or rocky shoreline, and some of these waves, although shorter in length, can be fun to ride on a fish type shortboard. Having the right equipment equates to more fun and a much longer, leg cramping ride.

Cost of $200 per person includes everything you'll need for a full day on the water - SURFBOARDS INCLUDED (getting in and out of the boat can be hard on your favorite surfboard, leave yours at home and use the great longboards provided).  The Capt. will bring water, ice, snacks, etc. You are welcome to bring your own food and drinks as well and store them in the ice chests.  The boat holds 4 surfers, groups of 4 will receive a $25 discount per person.  If you're a single rider you will be put on a wait list and the Captain will attempt to make a full boat of single riders. Be prepared to arrive on the island very early (around 5am) and stay all day. This is a full day surf adventure... and worth every minute of it!

Don't be fooled, Tanker surfing is not something you can just "figure out" on your own. HIRE CAPTAIN JAMES FULBRIGHT. He knows the sport like no other! The most important requirements in producing a ridable ship wave are the ship’s size, speed, design and draft, but both the bottom contours and water depth, as well as the tides, dictate whether or not the wave will break, or even appear for that matter. Accessing these factors takes years of surfing, boating, safety, and shipping industry experience as well as an intimate knowledge of the 30 mile long Galveston Bay.



Note: We are requiring each group to submit a window of up to 3 days' flexibility on expeditions. Each charter is allowed to reserve a Monday-Wednesday three-day in succession window or a Wednesday-Friday three-day in succession window. Please indicate your three-day choices in the form below. Your choices must fall on the Monday-Wednesday schedule or the Wednesday-Friday schedule.

A $200.00 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking. Note: a minimum of a 24 hour notice is required by the client (s) to re-schedule or the deposit and charter is forfeited.

The decision to initiate (launch) or continue the charter is strictly at the Captain's discretion and his decision alone. Note: this decision is based on the water conditions, weather and the safety of the passengers, the vessel and it's Captain.

You must be in good physical condition and have intermediate or better surfing skills before booking a tanker surf charter. Note: a tanker surf charter is physically demanding and challenging and not for the beginner!

You must agree to and abide by all rules of the tanker surf charter. Note: Passengers are not allowed to bring any illegal drugs or alcohol on board the vessel. No GPS devices or bananas are allowed on board the vessel!

Our Captain and crew (if applicable) work very hard before, during and after our tanker surf charters to provide our clients with the best possible experience. A 10 - 15% gratuity is customary in this industry and greatly appreciated.




Period Cost
Per Night $200
Per Week
Per Month Call for Info


This property is located near Galveston Tanker Surfing. Join surf shop owner James Fulbright on an epic adventure as seen in Step Into Liquid. He offers 6 hour charter trips to surf Galveston Bay's tanker waves. Waves can last up to 5 minutes and a mile long!!! Bring a long board and plenty of sunscreen!

Surf Type

  • Point break
  • Right
  • Left
  • Longboard
  • SUP
  • Warm water

Surfer Reviews

Surfmatt took a Wavecation in August

Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2012 - 12:38pm from Austin, TX

Surf Rating:

Overall Satisfaction:
Breaks Surfed: Long tanker waves
Favorite Break: Don't know the names?
Wave/Swell Conditions: Mainly waist high with a mid-day glass off

Thoughts I want to pass on:

Wow, one of a kind type surf experience. For years I'd seen the footage of Tanker Surfing but it seemed too good to be true. Capt. James is the man to go with, he knows the bay and those waves like no one else!  The waves were a bit mushier than I thought, but longer than I ever imagined... you measure your ride in miles, not seconds.  Be prepared to spend all day on the boat, bring sunscreen, water, food etc. The Capt. provides all that for you as well.  Tanker surfing reminded me of fishing or hunting - a lot of waiting around then BAM, a few minutes of pure excitement.

This is a great Wavecation for:


capobeachboy took a Wavecation in September

Posted on Friday, September 21, 2012 - 12:18am from Capistrano Beach, CA

Surf Rating:

Overall Satisfaction:
Breaks Surfed: Tanker Surfing
Favorite Break: all of them
Wave/Swell Conditions: Some chop early but improving throughout the day. Waist to chest high with some head high sections were the norm.

Thoughts I want to pass on:

Tanker surfing has been on my bucket list for the last 10 years, and my recent session with Tanker Surf Charters far exceeded my expectations. Most of the videos I’d seen just don’t do it justice – the size and speed of the waves surprised me and the rides were super-long. The boat is very well equipped for the job and getting in and out in a hurry was a breeze. It’s uncanny how well Captain James knows these waters, and the stoke he brings along really makes the adventure extra special. Thanks again for one of the most amazing days in my 40+ years of surfing. I hope to get back again real soon.

This is a great Wavecation for:


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Property Images

Surfing a glassy tanker wave

WOW! Surfing next to huge oil tankers

A-frame tanker wave breaking in the distance

Waiting for waves as a tanker passes by

Another perfect day tanker surfing on the bay

A good sized Tanker Wave

The isn't wakesurfing, the wave breaks far from the

It's not always this glassy, but when it is... WOW!

The action is quick when the wave shows up

Time hanging out on the boat waiting for the next wave

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