DULUTH Minn. — Mark Anderson, left, of St. Paul, Minn., and John Benzick, right, of Minneapolis, talk as a wave breaks around them Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 at Stony Point near Duluth, Minn. (Derek Montgomery for MPR)
In a rocky bay about 15 miles up the North Shore from Duluth, eight-foot waves curl gracefully before breaking and smashing against ice-coated boulders along Lake Superior.
Though it might seem impossible to many, a thriving scene has emerged on the beach where about 50 surfers are braving the frigid water for waves they swear can compare to some of the best surfing in Hawaii or California. Wearing thick neoprene wetsuits, they congregate at a cove, where 15-foot waves can curl and break on icy rocks.
"This is a hairy day," said Erik Wilkie of Webster, Wis., where he moved from California two years ago. "This is the biggest day we’ve had this year."