Up North: Surfers Hang Loose on Lake Superior's White Caps

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: January 01, 2020 10:46 PM

Conditions can get nasty when Lake Superior shows her force. Icy rocks, cold wind and crashing waves can make for a dangerous combination. For some, it's perfect.


"This is great weather. you know when the weather is really bad like you were just saying that's when the waves are the best out here because it's really stormy and nasty," said Erik Wilkie, who spent his weekend surfing on Lake Superior.

In the recent storm that hit Duluth, wind gusts peaked around 63 miles per hour, sustaining betweeen 25 and 40 miles per hour. Instead out staying of the elements, Erik Wilke and Quinn Evenson embraced them.

"It's pretty cool it's just way different. Fresh water surfing is just a little bit different. I don't know it's just so cool, such a different experience than being in the ocean," said Quinn Evenson about surfing on Lake Superior.

Armed with surfboards the two men tackled the white caps off Stoney Point last Sunday.

"We've surfed here when it's a lot colder. You know it's been below zero at this time of year before so it's really kind of balmy by standards," said Wilke.

During the Balmy outing, air and water temps hovered just around 35 degrees.

"My friend told me there was going to be swells so i figured I'd give her a try and it's pretty interesting it's pretty fun," commented Evenson.

Riding these waves takes a little more than a sense of adventure.

"Its very dangerous out here so you're going to want to be careful. Don't just go out and go surfing by yourself the very first time," warned Wilke.

If you're preparing for a cold water surfing trip, strong nerves, practice and proper gear will help.

"This is like six millimeters so it's super thick. It's got the hood, and then you have these gloves and then these booties. So just kind of full body protection," Evenson said when describing his wetsuit.

"this is a good adventure is what it is. Everytime we go out here, I always refer to it as making me feel like a teenager again," added Wilke.


Alicia Tipcke

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