Most people think of surfing as something you do in California or Hawaii, but Duluth has its own group of about 30 diehard kahunas who take on serious wave action mostly during Lake Superior storms in spring, fall and winter.
They like the mouth of the Lester River and a favorite spot a little further north called Stony Point, but there are also places to surf all the way up the coast to Canada.
Though the water is a bit cold (often about 34 degrees F) compared to Oahu’s 78-degree surf, the waves during an epic Lake Superior storm can rival those of Oahu’s Pipeline on the island’s north shore. To deal with the frigid temps, surfers here wear wet suits, with hood, booties, and gloves, or a regular surfing suit, 6mm with built-in hoods.
Any surfer who puts on such a suit and toughs out a Great Lakes noreaster is about as hardcore as they come. The siren that lures them in seems to be the spirit of adventure and braggin’ rights to “the most unlikely places to surf.” Untapped rocks, coves and cliffs along Superior’s north shore are hidden treasures just waiting for these boys to explore. It’s too much too resist. They seek out all the great surf they can.
Some of the best locations can’t be reached by roads. So far, they haven’t been known to take jet skis to get into those nooks and crannies, but that’s the challenge that lies ahead.
Even if you are not a surfer yourself, it’s fun to watch these guys ride the waves and catch a little of their zeal. Stony Point is just over 30 miles from Indian Point Campground, and Lester River is 12 miles north on Hwy. 61. It takes about 20 minutes from the campground.