Lake Michigan surfers embrace winter waves - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Lake Michigan surfers embrace winter waves

CBS -

Battling the winter blues with some time out on Lake Michigan sounds impossible this time of year, but a group of surfers say it may be easier than you think.

The thermometer out on the lake reads 34 degrees, and the air temperature is even colder at 29 degrees, but 11 people were spotted out on Lake Michigan one cold January day.

"It's a beautiful lake! These waves need to be ridden, so why not?" Dave Benjamin said.

The surfers said Lake Michigan's waves are much more fun when the weather turns cold.

"I've been swimming in Lake Michigan for 48 years. And for 38 of those years, I didn't know about winter surfing, so I was only using Lake Michigan in June, July and August. The best waves start rolling in in September, October, November," Benjamin said.

"The waves are much stronger in the wintertime because we get a stronger north wind, and the waves have a chance to build over the long fetch of the lake," Steve Hobbs said.

Winter surfing is not for everyone.

Experienced surfers said the waves can be too big for beginners, so it's not the time to learn. You will need the proper equipment, which includes a wet suit, boots, gloves and a hood, because the water is dangerously cold.

The Lake Michigan surfers said even in below zero conditions, when ice will develop on their beards, they really don't get cold.

"Once you get moving, you build up a lot of body heat in this thing. you will be a lot colder out [on the shore] than I will be in the water," Hobbs said.

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