Wisconsin surfers rule the week

Wisconsin surfers
“Totally worth it!” Josh Madryga lasted nearly two hours in the perfect surf. Photo: Mitchell Williams

Being a surfer in Wisconsin might make about as much sense as being a bobsledder in Jamaica, but oddly enough, last week a wave riders from Racine were scoring higher quality surf than any of their counterparts on the coasts. Mind you, frigid storms rolling through the Great Lakes region meant they had to brave water temps in the 30s and air temps in the -20s, but diehards like Burton Hathaway, Brian Tanis, Scott Slauson, and Josh Madryga don’t let that stop them. When waves come on the Great Lakes they’re always going to be there to greet them. And while East and West Coasters were whining about flat spells, these guys have been on fire.

 Racine, Wisconsin
While California has been enduring a lengthy flat spell of late, Racine, Wisconsin has been perfect. Photo: Hathaway
Surfers like Burton Hathaway catch as many waves as they can before their favorite breaks freeze over. Photo: Scott Slauson

[Related: Rare Great Lakes pointbreak comes alive after thaw]

Lake Michigan
Along the western shore of Lake Michigan glassy conditions are obtainable once the storm system passes. But swells last for hours instead of days. Photo: Hathaway
 lake effect snow
Not many surf reports call for powder, but lake effect snow does have it’s advantages. Scott Slauson, making fresh tracks. Photo: Hathaway

[Related: Surfing Alaska with photographer Scott Dickerson]

Great Lakes
Surfers on the Great Lakes don’t need total perfection. Anything that allows them to get some trim speed will do. Steen Grams, mission accomplished. Photo: Brian Tanis
 Burton Hathaway
The coldest part of every session is the walk back to the car. To that end, it helps if the car heater is already cranking. Burton Hathaway, defrosting.
Lake Superior
When Burton Hathaway and Brian Tanis saw the latest masssive cold front sweeping south from Canada, they drove up to Lake Superior to greet it. The quest paid off. Hathaway, floating. Photo: Tanis
Slauson had this nicely groomed run in Racine all to himself. Photo: Hathaway

[Related: Iceland: The next surfing mecca?]

Lake Superior
Lake Superior is known to produce the biggest waves in the Great Lakes, and Hathaway traveled a few extra hours for the extra foot of wave height. Photo: Tanis

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