Who needs an Ocean or a River to get your surfing fix?!

While the number of flowing rivers in Wisconsin are minimal compared to most regions of the US. We have many “hidden gems” to help us get our fix for the year. First there are some of the best creeks in the country on the shores of lake superior which run for a short time in spring and then we have one of the best whitewater parks at Wausau. But the most forgotten even by many who live here, is the benefit of having the Great Lakes surrounding our state. When the winds blow right, the waves on the lakes make for some of the best surfing around.

Even today, in mid November, when the evening forecast calls for snow, we  chase the water. a 3.5 hour drive led me to the shores of Lake Michigan, where I met friends who live nearby the lake and surf it often. This was my first time surfing lake waves and it did not disappoint! Christa Gornjak and I first went to the Revolution board shop in the mall and rented a surfboard and wetsuit for the day. Sometimes you just gotta try something new too! So after carrying this board out of the mall and strapping it on the roof off we went, and met Aaron at the lake.

It was too much work to change from surfing gear to paddling gear. So I attempted to fit in the rockstar with the penguin suit! not the easiest thing...

When we got there, the place was packed with surfers! We geared up and headed to the beach to find perfect waves from an Eastern wind. I felt a little funny in the heavy wetsuit and cap, but realized when I got to the water that I fit right in with all of the surfers around. If we all walked together we would look awfully similar to a pack of penguins! :)

Due to the strong winds, I had a smaller board than I had used in the past so it took a few attempts to really stand up and surf. But after I had my fill, Christa and I traded gear and I jumped in the rockstar for a bit of fun in a more familiar craft. A few hours later and we were exhausted!

It’s hard work fighting the waves on the way out of the beach break. Sometimes you really wonder if you are getting anywhere, other times maybe you are even going backwards and don’t realize it. But eventually, you make it out. It took a little getting used to the difference in the waves and how they push you around as they change on their way to shore. Then, if you get flipped, reorienting yourself while the next waves continue to hit is a new challenge. But after a short amount of time you can continually catch surf after surf on all of the great waves strolling into shore.

On our way out, a few other friends had made their way to the beach. Bruce and Josef  arrived and were heading out for their round of fun. It’s great to know that in wisconsin, I can pretty much go anywhere there is water and expect to run into a few good paddling friends without even making plans. Around here, there aren’t so many of us. And because of all the time we spend in Wausau together, I’m glad to say I probably know nearly every midwest boater! So when I head to the water, I’m not only excited for my time to play, but I look forward to seeing some familiar faces.

 

Keep Paddling!

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April 19th, 2014

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