Great Lakes Go Off

We didn’t even know it was coming. Like a train in the night, the swell came charging down from the icy reaches of northern Canada—with what was rumored to be 18-foot faces at it’s apex. Lake Superior was getting hit with gale force winds from the East, and we hoped it would switch direction and go offshore in time for our arrival…

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Secret Lake Superior left point...

Like a train in the night, the swell came charging down from the icy reaches of northern Canada—with what was rumored to be 18-foot faces at it’s apex.

There were three of us packed into a little Toyota Camry for the eight-hour drive from Chicago. South End ripper Artem Abakumov and filmmaker Ben Leitschuh took turns driving while I slept in the back seat. We arrived in Duluth around 4am to meet up with Milwaukee surfers Burton Hathaway and Will Wall. “Just pull up man, don’t wake us up though ‘cuz we’ll be sleeping,” said Burton. We’d been playing phone tag the whole way, trying to catch up to the guys, but they were far ahead. For the night we planned to tough it out in the car just down the road from our destination.

Will Walls leans into a sweet freshwater cutback at Stony Point, Minnesota. Photo: Mike Killion.

Will Walls leans into a sweet freshwater cutback at Stony Point, Minnesota. Photo: Mike Killion.

I awoke to someone checking the surf in front of the car. It was 7am, freezing cold, overcast, and drizzling. I got out to take a look and watched clean left lines wrap around the point as a bald eagle flew overhead. Unreal. I woke up the boys as quick as I could—after all we came here to surf not sleep. “F—k, where’s the surf?” Artem questioned while staring out at the flat lake. Burton reassured us that if there was any movement out front, Stony Point would be macking. Needless to say, we were outta there.

Minutes later we got to Stony Point and without disappointment clean A-frame peaks reeled off like a machine, the kind you only see in dreams. But this was real. We watched in amazement like a kid in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, savoring every moment. It didn’t take long for the guys to gear up and get out there. Late drops were made, drop in artists went over the falls, and full rail turns were executed perfectly. I sat on the shore with Ben as he filmed for his upcoming film, Suits Of Armor, and did my own documentation of this magical place, the still way.

It couldn’t have been any better—arms were noodles, film was exposed, memory cards were filled, and smiles were glued to our faces.

Twelve hours later we packed up and hit the road. Was it all a dream? It couldn’t have been any better—arms were noodles, film was exposed, memory cards were filled, and smiles were glued to our faces. We totally scored…a one day trip couldn’t get any better than this!

—Mike Killion from www.greatlakessurfer.com