New York Times — Surf Superior story

Surfing in a snowstorm may sound like a direct route toward hypothermia or certain death. But on Lake Superior, where surfers ride all months of the year, thick wet suits, gloves, hoods, booties and petroleum jelly smudged on exposed skin all form a protective shell against the crushing cold encountered by wave catchers in what is one of the world’s most unlikely surfing scenes.

photo: TC Worley

I cover this scene in my story “Hanging 10 (Degrees) on Icy Lake Superior” in today’s New York Times. All around the Great Lakes, from breaks on Lake Michigan to western New York and Lake Erie’s shore, a freshwater surfing scene has emerged in recent years. On Lake Superior, where winds swoop hundreds of miles across open water, surfers swim and paddle year-round to ride waves as tall as 20 feet, rushing tsunamis tumbling on an inland sea.

photo: TC Worley

Each fall, Lake Superior’s famous “gales of November” signal the start of the cold-weather surfing season, when snow piles up in the forest and waves pop off the lake. Wind moving from a Canadian front, coursing south and west against Minnesota’s North Shore, pushes water into rhythmic waves at more than a dozen breaks along Minnesota’s lake-hugging U.S. Highway 61.

Read the whole story here:

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Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.