My Favorite Surf Spot – Lake Erie
My favorite surf spot is good old Lake Erie. The smallest and shallowest of The Great lakes, Erie has some of the sweetest waves around. The east end of the lake which is near Buffalo, NY, is the shallowest part. And when the wind comes from the southwest and the breeze blows down the length of the lake, we get waves. The Canadian shore, The North shore, is where we go to ride these great waves. There is a shallow “reef ” about 100 yards off our beach where you can get 60 second rides and waves from knee high to head high depending on how windy it is.
Along with sailing, surfing, kiting, and stand up paddling we also have an old lake freighter just off shore where you can snorkel.
A brief bit of history is needed at this point. I have been surfing these waves since the late ’70s and early ’80s on a Hobie cat sailor.
As soon as windsurfing was born, surfing down the face of these waves was a natural transition, and then came stand up paddling. I was in my early 50’s (yes, I am an old guy but we all know “old guys rule”) when I first started stand up. It was on an old windsurf board and a homemade paddle. As soon as I got my first real SUP and caught a wave, I couldn’t get enough.
Here’s a quick rundown of what it’s like to be out on the water per season at Lake Erie:
- Late winter to early spring = water temps are around 35 to 50 degrees. If there is shore ice build up (think margarita ice), you have to paddle through it to get to the line up. Most people wear full 5/4mm wetsuits with hoods and gloves and booties.
Spring time = water temps can range from the low 50’s to the low 60’s. The shallow water warms up quickly once the days start getting longer. Depending on the conditions, wetsuits can range from 4/3mm, 3/2mm, and even shorty springsuits.
- By July and August the water temps can reach into the mid-70 degree mark. Rash guards are usually needed, mostly for sun protection.
- September through December is the windy season which brings more waves and a gradual cooling of the water. Temps can range from the mid 60’s down to the 40’s. The brave/foolish/hearty souls who windsurf and surf this time of year use anything from a 4/3mm wetsuit to a 5/4mm suit and hoods, booties and gloves. By the new year, the lake is often frozen and we all drink rum, tell stories, and look forward to the thaw.
I could go on about the wonders of Lake Erie and why it’s my choice as my favorite surf spot, but I will let the video I made do the all the talking. You will see me in a couple of cameo shots on my Hobie cat sailor and stand up surfing. Any of the GoPro shots are either of me or my lovely wife. (That is also yours truly sailing the Hobie cat pulling the boarder).
Thanks for watching, I hope you enjoy it.