Did you know that people surf on Lake Superior? And would you believe that surfing on Lake Superior is nearly a year-round sport?
A few years back, we happened upon surfers where the Lester River flows into Lake Superior. It was intriguing for several reasons.
First, seeing such big waves on the lake —a lake! — is mesmerizing.
Second, surfing is not something that immediately comes to mind when thinking of outdoor activities in Duluth.
Third, the surfers wear full body suits, including hoods, so there is a bit of intrigue.
Fourth, for the conditions to be right, it needs to be extremely windy, which makes the outing an adventure. The kids love feeling the wind whip against their faces, and in some cases, nearly knock them off their feet.
Fifth, due to the required conditions, these outings are spur-of-the-moment, adding another element of excitement. If we are out-and-about when the wind speeds are high and coming from the Northeast, we head to the parking area of that tan building with white gingerbread-style trim at 6008 London Road. The sign in front of it says, “University of Minnesota Duluth – Limnology.”
Yes, we had to look up the word limnology. But first, we all guessed.
Kristina’s guess: the study of limericks
Tim’s guess: the study of something to do with water
Daley’s guess: something to do with science…because of “knowledge” (i.e., “lim-nol-olgy”)
Finley’s guess: “Limnology…is it a French word?”
According to Merriam-Webster, limnology is “the scientific study of bodies of freshwater (as lakes).” The building used to be a government fish hatchery.
Recently, we talked with a surfer who was resting his arms (it takes a lot of work to swim against the waves) and learned, when Daley asked, “When are they going to actually stand up?,” that it takes patience to wait for the right wave – and thus, patience to watch surfing on Lake Superior.
It’s a thrill for everybody when the perfect wave comes and the surfer catches it.
A Few Ideas: If the weather is warm, pack a picnic and enjoy the downtime between good waves. If the weather is cold, pack a thermos of hot cocoa and blankets and be amazed at the awesomeness of our lake — and the people who embrace it during inclement weather.
Have you watched surfing on Lake Superior? Share your experiences in the comment box below. Thanks!