Surfing….. Lake Michigan in the winter.


As a surfer for Florida we all have our vision of what cold is.  Today I learned what cold can be like, not really what it is, since I stayed dry.

I am in Michigan this week unfortunately for my grand fathers passing.  I difficult time for me but my dad I and made the most of it with exploring the coast and the winter storm that was hitting.

Every new years a group of Michigan surfers, (hardcore for us) meetup where ever the swell might be best along the west coast of Michigan for the first surf or in some cases just the first dip if there are no waves.  Last year the lake was already frozen over so they couldn’t surf.  Usually thats not a problem for us tropical wave riders.  We headed to the inlet of Muskegon, Michigan where the strong west winds had a shelter.

Because of the last minute trip I didn’t have a coat, so I borrowed one from my aunt, along with mittens, hat and bunch of over things to hopefully keep me warm.  We arrived there about sunrise, which wasn’t until 8:15am.  The winds were about 30mph and the air was about 25 degrees.  Water was in the 30’s.  Hmm, not my idea of surfing conditions.  The reason they are all come out?  Stoke.  The same stoke we all have whatever the conditions might be.  We all live to get out in the water and slide on the waves.  No difference here except a lot more dedication.

They all gathered in the parking lot in there respective cars with the heat blasting in their full suits, booties, hood, gloves, etc.  It was cold, standing outside with all my clothes on.  The wind was blowing hard.  My fingers were numb inside my mittens after shooting images of this scene in 20 mins.  Going surfing?

Everyone gathered on the beach with their “sleds” and then walked across the ice on the sand and went out for a surf. About 20 of them.  The waves were about knee high, really weak.  Smiles were had and stoked was earned.  Definitely earned.  Most lasted about an hour before they came in with a red face and icicles.  Once guy was out atleast 2 hours and his beard was frozen when he came in.  This is what we do to surf.