(UPDATE 6/8/09: Here's my Flickr set from Friday night and Saturday, June 5-6. Alas, no waves on Saturday — but we had fun, anyway! … and a very successful Surfrider Foundation beach clean-up. Several surfers stayed on for waves forecast at 4-7 ft Sunday and Monday.)
It's that time again, surf fans! For the annual celebration of Lake Superior surf culture: Coldwater Surf Fest, brought to us by the Superior Surf Club. Time to gather for food, laughs, maybe a brew or two, and your chance to take a dip in the Big Lake They Call Gitchigumi. But, regarding the latter (unless you're just wading), do bring your 6-mil or 5-mil wetsuit, hood, booties & gloves, as one never knows what the water temp may be, even in June (let alone the air temps and wind). The surfers in the group, of course, will be hoping for big winds blowing out of the Northeast to produce rideable waves! Readers of this blog may recall I wrote about the 2007 Coldwater Surf Fest. And, for those of you who don't think surfing on Lake Superior is for real, here's a shot of our own Bob Tema surfing Stoney Point, north of Duluth:
FRIDAY NIGHT 6/5/09: Gather at Fitger's in Duluth for brews and grub, starting about 5:00 pm. (Map and directions.)
SAT MORNING 6/6/09 10:00 am: Beach clean-up at Park Point "First Turns" Beach, sponsored by the MN-Superior Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. (Map and directions. Street parking available.)
SAT 6/6/09 NOON: Party! Pavillion at Park Point. BBQ, drinks, stories, trade/sell equipment, memorabilia. Raffle to benefit the Tom Blake Memorial: tickets $5. (More info on the Tom Blake Memorial.) Map and directions. Lots of parking available.
SAT EVENING 6/6/09: After-party at somebody's place.
SUN MORNING 6/7/09: Brunch at Pizza Luce's.
Come for part or all of the event — stay as long as you can! I'm driving up Friday afternoon and staying over through Saturday. All are welcome: surfers, friends, relatives, spouses and kids, participants or spectators, and anyone who thinks they may someday want to take the plunge into surfing the Big Lake… whether that be regular surfing or stand up paddleboarding (SUP), as shown in these two pics from last year's event — when, unfortunately, surf conditions were totally flat. (All photos of last year's event courteous Bob Tema. The guy in this shot actually teaches surfing at the U of MN-Duluth!)
Whatever the conditions, though, you will be guaranteed to have fun at CWSF! Bring a board and wet suit if you have one, or maybe you can borrow someone else's and paddle out! You'll meet great people, including many of the top surfers on Lake Superior, eat some good grilled grub and partake in some cold(!) libations, all the while enjoying the wonderful outdoors in our great State of Minnesota!
The Park Point peninsula is really a natural treasure, if you haven't experienced it yet: wide, sandy beaches, stretching out from the Canal Park bridge, which is the heart of Duluth's tourist center. Park Point is a thin strip of sand with beach houses and lake-front condos, reaching all the way out to a small airport at the end of the peninsula, adjacent to a great park that has a picnic pavilion, barbeque grills, even a beach concession building — with birch and pine forest lining the wide stretches of pristine sand.
Well, it's pristine when people keep it that way! But we're out to do our part in that regard at this year's Coldwater Surf Fest — because our new MN-Superior Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is sponsoring a Beach Clean-Up the morning of the main event (Saturday, June 6). We'll take an hour or so to each don plastic gloves and grab a garbage bag to pick up trash and debris to ensure our favorite Duluth Beach is left better than when we got there! It's all part of giving back to our environment.
For more info on this year's Coldwater Surf Fest, just ask in the comments section of this post. Or visit the Superior Surf Club site — where you can even order the limited-edition event T-shirt (long or short sleeve). Here are some more pix (again, courteous Bob Tema) from last year's event…