COVID-19 means you can’t head to balmier climes to ride waves. But why would you when you have the cold water of Michigan right here?
watch the video compilation of this feat here), has built his reputation by seeking out “novelty” waves, like the wake of a ferry boat or water park pools, and just showing that surfing—which often prides itself as an elitist sport—can be fun and accessible anywhere.hen New Jersey–based surfer Ben Gravy set out to ride a wave in every state, he expected his time on Lake Michigan would be mellow—why would an ocean boy care about big waves on a freshwater lake. He was wrong. Gravy, who completed his 50-state quest in Alaska in August, 2019 (
Along the way, Gravy, who has 122,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and 128,000 on Instagram, found out that Michigan had in his words “epic surf.” When he set out to tick off the Wolverine State in February 2017, he and New Jersey friend Rob Kelly had not had much experience with the state’s classic freshwater waves. They found what you might expect here: 14-degree temperatures, wind, snow—and their renal car got stuck off the road (twice) and needed a tow before they even reached the break. But the 9-foot, and perfect barrels rides, made it all worthwhile and Gravy half-jokingly sad the break looked like Maui. You can watch the whole adventure here.
Ready to make like Ben Gravy?
Surf season is in on now in Michigan, with storm systems strafing the Great Lakes, and it’s the type of experience you would expect in this state: not for the faint of heart and packed with rewards. Located in Empire, near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak (sbsurfandkayak.com) is the place to go to find info on conditions, buy and rent gear, and learn how to surf. With shops in St. Jospeh and NewBuffalo, ThirdCoastSurfShop (thirdcoastsurfshop.com) caters to wave riders in the southwest corner of the state. No matter where you surf, remember it’s Michigan; wear a wetsuit.