Lake Superior

Spring swell on Superior

The winds were howling from the northeast on Saturday, May 18. Stefan and I made the drive up the shore early, hoping to find a spot that wasn’t blown out - but prepared to wait until Sunday for the swell to organize. As it turned out, the wave train hadn’t arrived and some of us stayed the night at the cheapest motel available on Highway 61, whose nocturnal guests’ overactive salivary glands caused us to affectionately coin this “The Loogie Motel”.

The winds grew even stronger overnight and didn’t seem to be letting up, so we headed further north to a spot that offered a bit of protection. This slopey left was working perfectly and everybody was all smiles, despite the freezing rain gradually turning into snow - in May. Only in Minnesota…

Ice-out on Lake Superior

Ice-out finally happened at one of the more consistent surf spots on Lake Superior while some light but favorable winds created waves just big enough to goof around and have a little fun on. So long as you kept an eye on the remnant ice chunks floating around the line-up you might not get pelted.

A New Year for North Shore Lake Superior Surfing

A group of surfers ended 2018 riding waves on the big lake amidst the falling snow and cold temperatures. The waves lasted well into the evening and many planned to ride the leftovers of that swell on New Year’s Day 2019.

As the sun dipped below the horizon and my zoom lens couldn’t bring in enough light, a long exposure motion blur shot seemed to be in order.

To everyone’s surprise, conditions were even better on New Year’s Day. These were no “leftovers.” Lake Superior surfers began the first morning of 2019 surfing glassy A-frames on "The Other North Shore.” The air temperature dropped from 18F to -9F overnight and the cold air passing over the (relatively) warmer waters of Lake Superior created steam rising high above the lineup. There are no clouds in these photos. Most surfers in the lineup could only see those that were immediately next to them.

Stefan commented that the amount of ice caked onto his head, neck and back made it difficult to look where he wanted to turn on his board - his entire body was fixed in one position and to look left or right he had to twist his whole body.

With the heater in the car cranked on high, the ice started to crack and 2019 started to thaw out.