Surfing Minnesotans brave the cold

by Cody Nelson

Sledding or building snowmen may be the most popular forms of recreation for Minnesotans after a winter storm. But some took advantage of the weather with a different activity uncommon for a landlocked state: surfing.

Surfers congregated at Stoney Point on Minnesota's North Shore to ride waves as large as 15 feet tall, MPR News reports.

About ten people came out to brave Lake Superior's icy waters Monday morning, WDIO News reports, including Hawaii-native Bob Tema.

Tema grew up surfing in Hawaii and said he got "antsy" when he moved to Minnesota and couldn't surf. To satisfy this urge to surf, he found a colder alternative in Minnesota's North Shore, MPR reports.

"On those really cold days your eyelids will sometimes get stuck, freeze shut for a bit, you have to kind of pry them open," he said, according to the MPR report. "Your eyebrows and eyelashes will get ice build-up on it."

Wave conditions are more sporadic in Lake Superior than in the ocean, so Midwestern surfers have to check the forecast and hope for good conditions, WDIO reports.

"There's no ice floating around so it's all good," said Luke Kavajecz, another Minnesota surfer, WDIO reports. "We're going to hit the waves for a little bit. We got a nice swell today left over from the storm yesterday."

Prospective surfers can also check the Superior Surf Club for conditions and other information related to North Shore surfing.

In addition to the unpredictable conditions, cold waters, ice and rocks can make North Shore surfing more dangerous.

"This is a hairy day," said Erik Wilkie of Webster, Wis., according to the MPR report. "The danger factor is right up there as high as it can be, the adrenaline is pumping."