Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Surfing Lake Superior: Day 1

The April gusts brought grey skies and rolling waves to the shores of Lake Superior. Suprisingly I stepped out my door, kayak and paddle in hand, to find it warmer than expected. I jumped in my fellow adventurer's vehicle, and raced for the body of water that so beautifully graces Duluth.

When we reached Lester river we could see the large waves curl towards the shore line in long breaks. Having seen a few sets come in it was clear we needed to get on the water. Clad in neoprene from head to toe we set off into the wind swept waters. We paddled furiously against the breaking waves and broke through their peaks until we were past the break line. There we found we were not alone seeing five surfers on their boards working tire-less for the prize of a long ride.

With this same goal in mind I paddled hard, and found just what I was looking for. It is an indescribable feeling, dropping over the crest of an 8 foot wave and carving down its slope as it curls down and crashes around you in a explosion of water. For a small momentum you're blinded then you emerge from the spray surfing sideways in the continuing wave of whitewater then carefully placing a paddling stroke and turning an edge to turn slide down the wave backwards: watching a wall of water curl up and reach out for you as it block your view of the dark horizon of sky and water. You couldn't ask for a more exhilaratingly beautiful scene...

After leaving as darkness slowly crept upon us, you felt like an excited little child having just discovered candy: speaking in half sentences usually ending within exaggerated exclamations of awe at the experience. That night when my friends asked me what I did, there came the normal frustration at my inadequacy to conveying the experience of surfing a wave... then suddenly finding a better way to describe the undescribable... I let out a sign while I smiling wide and stared off into the distance.

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