7 Milli Armor and Passion for the Surf

Courtesy of WFXD.com

First Time Out on the Lake Surfing

Doug Kozeluh and Manny Rhoades fight the strong currents.

Windy and miserable for a journalist. Perfect for a surfer. These guys had been waiting all winter for the ice to melt.

I caught up with Manny Rhoades and Doug Kozeluh before they waded out into the bitterly cold waters of Lake Superior. Ready to tackle great waves caused by the windy weather, they were stoked to finally be out on their first surf of the year.

The ice has melted away from the shoreline and there were waves to be conquered. But Manny and Doug had to forfeit their attempt at one beach due to strong currents, so I followed them to another area.

So Cold, Yet So Many People

The "smoother" side of Lake Superior

Plenty of surfers were already lined up to catch a wave as Manny and Doug navigated through the more forgiving waters. I could tell these surfers would be out in that bitter cold as long as their 7mm wetsuit would allow. Following them from one beach to the next, I compared them to tornado chasers: eager to dive head-first into danger with a thrill and a smile as the prize.

With winter on its way out, it’s great to see the lake filled with people again. But there’s something about Great Lakes surfers that always draws my attention. Maybe it’s because I never thought surfing existed on the Lakes until a few friends of mine picked up the sport. Or, I think it’s really because surfing the Great Lakes is like living on Hermosa Beach without all of the California lifestyle.

Surfing Lake Superior is a U.P. thing. Rarely will a tourist make the trip through hundreds of miles of state forest just to get the opportunity to freeze your face off and battle the currents of Lake Superior. These surfers are the real deal.

So, one of these windy days as you drive down Lakeshore, take a glance out on the lake. You’ll probably see Manny, Doug or any of their fellow surfers riding a Superior wave. And not just riding it, but enjoying every minute of it.
Lake Superior Surfing

Written by Brian Downing
Brian Downing is an employee of Great Lakes Radio, Inc. Click Here for more info.