Traverse Magazine: Great Lake Surfing in Northern Michigan

Six Northern Michigan surfers talk about why they love to surf in the Lake Michigan waves.

by | Jul 17, 2015

“I used to sit on the beach and watch people surf in Hawaii, and I used to feel sorry for them when there weren’t any waves coming. But once I started surfing myself, I realized that that is part of the fun. It is amazing to be on the water and part of the water. Sometimes, especially when I paddle out, I will just sit on my board and let waves go by, just because it feels good to be there bobbing on the water.” Lori Darling

No matter the conditions, being out on the water, surrounded by gorgeous scenery, “is pretty magical,” he says. “You definitely never surf the same way twice, which keeps it interesting. You can go to Frankfort beach and every day you’ll see a different beach.” Rod Robertson

“Being in the water with my board, either paddling, sitting and watching the waves, taking a drop or cruising down the line of a wave, brings me the greatest, most inexplicable joy. Many surfers will describe it as the stoke, but I believe it to be much more than that. It brings me into a state of meditation—a trance—where I can feel free from all ties on land. Where time ceases to be a virtue, and where I can just merely be.” Ella Skrocki

“What really stokes me the most is when it’s least expected. You go out there just because, and the forecast doesn’t look that good. You get there and no one else is there, and then for whatever reason it turns into an epic day.” Larry Bordine

“I’ve always been the type of person who feels most at home when I’m outside … I think the unforgiving weather that goes hand-and-hand with the waves here on the Great Lakes also makes it more challenging, and ultimately more enjoyable when everything finally lines up and you score a great day. Not to mention, it’s phenomenal exercise.” Nick Brown

“The learning curve is pretty steep. But if you just work at it and work at it, you can get a little better … you walk out of the water and you feel spent. You feel like you’re expending the most incredible amount of energy, but you feel so invigorated, too.” Janet Hessler


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Photos by Beth Price Photograhy