SURF'S UP! On Lake Superior

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Bill Thompson of Down Wind Sports in Marquette, MI is used to people surfing on Lake Superior during weather that has most people hunkered down in their houses. He tells us more about the surf scene in Marquette.

"The surf scene has a long history in Marquette....over thirty years and has been gaining in popularity over the last ten. The most popular time to surf is during the winter months. The reason is that the best surfing is found during the months of October – March. The more volatile weather in these months brings the wave-producing low-pressure systems required to generate the required conditions on Lake Superior.

Between January and March, Superior has the most frequent and cleanest surf, provided the lake is not frozen. Summer and late spring/early fall have less frequent surf and it tends on the sloppy side. 30 ft waves are not unheard of on Lake Superior, but there is such a thing as “Too Big” and these definitely fall into that category. Surfable waves can reach 10-12 ft in height, but are typically in the 6-8ft range. Waves on the lake are different than ocean waves. The period is much shorter and the waves are typically accompanied by a large amount of wind.

The photos you see are of the "Zoo" in Marquette. This break is by far the most popular surfing spot in Marquette. If the surfs up- this is where you will find all of the locals. The Zoo, is named after an old zoo that was once located on Presque Isle. Presque Isle is a city park minutes from downtown Marquette and Northern Michigan University. When standing on the beach and looking out into Middle Bay, you will want to surf the area along the rocky shore. For the best rides, surf the rocky shore to 100 feet parallel with the shore. After each ride simply walk the shore back to get into position again. This is the cleanest break in around Marquette.

The surfers out during the last storm were: Nate Longton, Corey Steinman, Tim Gort, Jason Schneider, Jeremiah Baumann, and Ella Skrocki."

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