Frequently Asked Questions about Surfing Lake Superior:

How frequent is the surf?
Compared to most ocean coastal areas, lake surf is somewhat infrequent. During the season, there is an average of 10 surfable days per month. Of those, 2 days may be of good quality.

How do you know when there is going to be surf?
You must become a weather junkie to maximize your surf days on the lake. Check the Surf Forecast tools on this page. For the western end of the Lake, you are looking for a strong NE system, winds 15 kts or more, to be blowing for a 12 hour period or more. The optimum conditons is a very strong and long duration NE wind, followed by NW. The NE generates swell, and the NW winds are the offshore cleanup conditions.

What is the surf season?
October to April is the high season. The more volatile weather in these months brings the wave-producing low-pressure systems across the great lakes basin. January - March have the most frequent and cleanest surf, provided the lake is not frozen. Summer and late spring/early fall have less frequent surf and typically sloppier.

How big does the surf get?
Strictly speaking, the wave action can and has reached 30 ft on Lake Superior - but that occurs during the throes of a raging storm. Surfable waves often reach 10-12 ft in height, but are typically in the "head-high" range.

What kind of wetsuit is needed?
For the high season, a 5/4/3 hooded wetsuit is recomended, with booties and gloves. Many guys wear a 6/5/4 wetsuit. New wetsuit technology has made these thick wetsuits much more flexible than they used to be. The most popular wetsuit used in this area is the Rip Curl Ulitimate Elasto 6/5/4 hooded zipperless wetsuit - cost about $370 new.

What kind of surfboard is needed?
Longboards or shortboards can be used on the lake surf. Many guys keep both for the varying surf condtions. Shortboarders often will custom order a board to be slightly thicker and wider as to accomodate the extra wieght the full wetsuit adds.

Are there any surf shops in Minnesota?
There are no surf shops in Minnesota. The nearest is Third Coast Surf Shop in St. Joe, Michigan. Great shop, great proprietor, and only dedicated surf shop in the whole of great lakes.

Where do I buy equipment?
Third Coast has a good variety of equipment for sale. There are also retailers who advertise on this site.

Is there a place to rent equipment?
No place to rent equiment. The surf scene is not big enough, and the surf not reliable enough, to support such a venture.

How do I find the surf spots?
The well known surf spots are known by their "map" names, so you can look on any roadway map around Duluth, MN, and find Lester River, Stoney Point, or Park Point. Further details are covered in our own Lake Superior Surf Guide pamphlet.

What is the driving time to Duluth from Mpls/St. Paul.
2.5 hours.

What is the surf scene like?
In the last 5 years the surf scene has grown rapidly from just a few guys, to an active surf community of about 40 folks now. Most everybody knows everybody. All are great people and stoked to share the great surf we have. Just observe the general rules of surf etiquette when out in the water. Join up on the forum here, and get to know the crew.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

For more details, get a our Lake Superior Surf Guide