High Winds, Big Waves Draw Lakeshore Surfers to Ludington

Wednesday was a windy day up and down the lakeshore, for most, they bundled up inside. For a few, they hit the beach.

Gale force winds in late November are a combination that most people stay away from, beach season is over. For a small community, these are perfect conditions. They are the surfers. They are making their way up and down the lakeshore, literally going wherever the wind takes them.Lake Surfers Vsv 11 24 2100 00 25 11still001

“If you want to jump really high, you want those gale warnings,” said Ryan Ritsema, a kite surfer from Grand Rapids.

Big winds, means big waves, means big day for the lake surfing community in Ludington Wednesday.

“This is pretty good, I mean like probably in the Top 5, Top 10 days of the year you’re going to get out here,” said Ritsema.

Whether you’re a wave surfer or a kite surfer, these November winds provide perfect surf conditions. Ludington was the spot to be with the winds coming from the south into the breakwall.

“That’s usually a good sign that the waves are going to be good,” Said Bryan Littlejohn, a wave surfer from Grand Rapids, “So that’s when we start paying attention to it, about three days ago.”

“The beach is really long here, the waveform is wonderful, like the space between the waves is excellent here,” said Ritsema.

While Lake Michigan may not be the first surf destination that comes to mind, these guys don’t mind

“California is so crowded, there’s so many people doing it. It’s just all individuals and small groups of buddies,” said Littlejohn, “Here, everybody knows everybody.”

The obvious drawback is the water and air temperatures in the 40s but that means a tighter community in tight wetsuits.

“I’m warmer in this than most people are standing out here watching,” said Littlejohn.

Littlejohn said the temperatures  can get cold but that’s not going to stop him and others from surfing. The only thing that puts an end to the surfing season in Michigan is the ice cover. If there’s open water, it’s open season.