Surf’s Up!


I got out tonight for my first run since my race rehearsal Saturday. Oh, my joints were creaky. I cursed the whole first interval as my brain begged me to give up this sport. The saving grace was the strong, cool breeze that reminded me that the hot, steamy runs of the last few weeks may have been my last. “I imagine the waves will be up,” I thought to myself as I turned toward the beach.

Sure enough, downtown shoppers donned jackets, and there were no bikinis or beach toys to be seen. With the rain today and the cool breezes tonight, beachgoers would be enjoying dinner downtown and some souvenir shopping. I headed down to Silver Beach for my third painful interval. Grumpily, I walked when I wanted and said to hell with my pace. This was not going to be a great run.

As I walked through the parking lot at the beach, two pickup trucks careened through the parking lot. Surfboards peeked out of the truck bed. They slammed to a stop right in front of me. Young men and a few young only at heart jumped out in their wetsuits, grabbed their boards and raced onto the beach. I knew I was in St. Joe, but my eyes told me I was somewhere else. The normally calm waters of a summer Lake Michigan had changed the pace.

I read an article just the other day about surfing on the Great Lakes. Apparently, this younger generation has gotten more creative as they grew weary of waiting for a big trip to tropical beaches for surfing. They are starting to surf on the Great Lakes in the fall and winter and even on rapids in mountain streams. I have at least one friend who surfs here in the winter. I find it fascinating.

Our little sleepy Silver Beach was turned Southern California cool as the waves rose and fell to the whip of a windy cool front. People in cars stopped to watch the show, and several photographers with tripods shot from the shore. A wind surfer warmed up with his kite on the beach while another glided across the waves behind him. The sun, hidden behind the clouds, provided the perfect backlight for the unusual surfer’s paradise.

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