Friday, March 8, 2013

Big wave surfing in Lake Superior

Professional big wave surfer Jamie Sterling hopped on a plane with a mission to find and surf decent waves in the great lakes. At Beaver Bay in Duluth (lake superior), Minnesota amongst freezing cold temperatures, Sterling was able to surf some remarkably big waves despite being in an actual fresh water lake.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Lakes Surfer

Great Lakes Surfer Magazine is releasing it's first edition soon.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good day/Bad day

You're either going to have a very good day or a very bad day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Goal: March 2008

At this rate, I'm never going to get out in the water. So I'm putting a goal down in writing. I'm shooting for catching my first waves in March of 2008.

Why wait so long? A few reasons:
  • I need to get in the kind of shape required to surf the Lake Superior waves, both because of the temperature and unpredictability of the lake.
  • I need to save up some cash to be able to buy a wetsuit, booties, hood and board. That's at least a $700 investment.
  • I'm waiting until March so that I can catch the Spring waves and not have to deal with the lows in January and February. I'm not a glutton for that kind of punishment.
I figure I need to shed about 50 pounds by then and build up my paddling muscles. March it is then.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Think surfing on a lake isn't dangerous?

I found this link on the Superior Surf Club forum. As one guy said, on the lake you have less time to recover because the waves come in much quicker than on the ocean. Also makes me want to invest in some epoxy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Favorite surf movies

So the free DVD turned out to be pretty bad; just a marketing piece slapped together to get a few more people to buy the latest edition of the magazine. And speaking of marketing, there was an article in Surfing Magazine about some of the top surfer's favorite surf films. Only two of them listed my personal favorite, Endless Summer II.

Maybe there were too many expectations that the film would be like the first film. Or maybe some surfers saw it as a marketing gimmick to make money off of the Endless Summer name.

I saw ES II when I first moved to Minnesota, in the middle of winter after just getting married. It was a life-saver on a cold winter day. Maybe that's why it's still my favorite.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Filmmaking Issue

I bought the latest issue of Surfing Magazine at lunch today. Can't wait to get home and pop in the DVD that came wrapped with this issue on filmmaking.

Maybe it will inspire me to make the move to one of the coasts where I will become the next Bruce Brown.

Most likely, Charlie Brown.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Big changes

I haven't posted here in quite awhile, mainly because of two big changes in my life: I started a company and my son was born. But now more than ever I need a diversion from the realities and responsibilities of life, and searching for waves in Minnesota will do me just fine.

I was reading the Green Issue of Surfing Magazine over lunch in Borders Bookstore, and am excited by the upcoming issue focusing on filmmaking and surf movies. I always wanted to shoot a surfing movie, Endless Summer XIII or something.

I'm still perusing Craig's List and eBay, looking for a cheap wetsuit and surfboard that will support me in my middle-aged weight. I've been meaning to get into shape this summer, it just never happened.

Gotta' make it happen. Give me a heads up if you have an extra longboard or wetsuit and you live in the Midwest. (I'm sure my comments box will light up after that request.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Surfing and Spirituality

(excerpt from Peter Kreeft)

Many of us love the ocean. It's our favorite place in the world. As soon as we have the vacation time and money, we spend it there. We feel a mysterious longing for the sea as some kind of secret to our own identity, as if our blood had salt water in it. (It does, by the way.)

I'm not a good surfer, but surfing—well, that is my "thing." It's not only one of the most delightful experiences I know but also one of the most profoundly suggestive. I know only a little about the spiritual life, much more from others than from myself. But what I know well (surfing) is a powerful teacher, by analogy, of what I don't know well (the spiritual life). That's the purpose of analogies: to use the better-known to better know the unknown. I here share my favorite analogy because I suspect many readers will reply, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one!"

The key elements in the symbolism are pretty clear: I, the surfer, am—myself. The body with which I surf in the sea symbolizes the soul, with which I "surf" in God. The sea is God. The beach is the approach to God. Surfing is the experience of God, or the spiritual life.

In my surfing experience I can distinguish twelve steps. In my experience of God I can also distinguish twelve steps. The twelve clear, physical steps in surfing help clarify the twelve more mysterious steps in the journey into God.

There are four main divisions, with three subdivisions in each.

The first three steps are preliminaries. The first step is the knowledge of the sea. No one will ever experience the sea without going there, and no one will go there without wanting to, and no one will want to without knowing about it. Thus, the first three steps are: (1) knowing about the sea; (2) wanting to go there; and (3) going there.

Parallel to these three necessary preliminaries for surfing are the three necessary preliminaries to God. They are the three "theological virtues" of faith, hope, and love.

First, we must know that God exists, and is good, and is our joy. That knowledge comes by faith. (It can also come by reason for some, but it comes by faith for all.)

Second, we must hope for God and seek him. "Seek and you shall find" implies that if you don't seek, you won't find.

Third, love (charity, agape) is the fruit of this plant of hope, whose roots are faith. For Christians, love means a life, not a feeling. As Kierkegaard puts it, love is "the works of love." Faith blossoms into works. Faith works. The plant—roots, stem and fruit—is one. Faith, hope, and love—works are not three things but three parts of one living thing: the spiritual life, the life of God in the soul. This is "the one thing needful" (Lk 10:42).

Faith in God is our knowledge of God. This is like our knowledge of the sea. Hope in God is our desire for God. This is like our desire to go to the sea. Love of God is our actual movement and growth toward God, or in God. This is like our actual travel to the sea.

All three are delightful. Planning a vacation is almost half the fun. Foreplay is as much a part of love as consummation.

Our knowledge of the sea need not be deep, like the sea, for it to be sufficient as the first step in our journey. We needn't be oceanographers to be vacationers. Similarly, we needn't be theologians to be saints.

But our desire for the sea must be deep if we are to take the time and money to travel there. Mild curiosity isn't enough. Most of us have to move a lot of schedules, people, and suitcases to take a vacation. We won't do it without longing.

The next three stages in our journey to the sea happen only when we are already there, in its "presence": (4) seeing the sea; (5) smelling the sea; and (6) running down the beach into the sea.

The gift of understanding is like sight. No amount of words or verbal explanations can substitute for seeing. You only believe the truth of the words in a travel folder. But you see the sea when you arrive there, and that sight strikes a chord in the heart, a chord of joy and homecoming—and at the same time of further longing. It's a mysterious mingling of deep satisfaction and dissatisfaction, a divine discontent. For the restless heart that God has made for himself is not only restless until it gets to God; it's restless until it rests in God.

The faith-hope-love pattern is repeated here. Seeing the sea is the fulfillment of the faith-from-afar that we had from travel folders. And seeing God is the fulfillment of faith: "If you believe, you will see" (Jn 11:40). Smelling the sea is the fulfillment of desiring hope from afar. Smelling is a most mystical sense. The thing itself enters into us, or we into it, when its very molecules enter our noses. And smells move us more deeply and mysteriously, sometimes, than any other sense. Finally, running into the sea is like self-forgetful, self-offering love. It's an obligation, an offering of self.

The next three stages deepen our relationship with the sea and with God. First (7), we get our toes wet. Spiritually, we experience a little of what we have first believed and then understood.

Second (8), we get wet halfway up. Getting your bathing suit wet is the essential step. Bathing suits cover our private parts, our tenderest spots. This symbolizes the hopeful investment of our lives that is pain, sacrifice, and death. The starkest difference between the saints and ourselves is their willingness, even eagerness, to suffer for God.

Finally (9), getting wet all over symbolizes the total consecration of our whole self, whole will, and whole life to God, leaving absolutely nothing left for ourselves, not a penny or a second or any other thing we call our own.

The last three stages cover what is usually called "mystical experience." Getting in over your head (10), with your feet no longer on the ground, symbolizes the mind plunging into the divine mysteries, the "dark night of the soul" that no words can mediate. We lose all footing. We are no longer in control. We're a part of the sea, it seems. Thus, even the orthodox mystics say pantheistic-sounding things, for they see and feel only God, not themselves at all. Of course, they're still there—who's having the mystical experience, anyway? But they don't know or feel themselves there any more. They're in over their heads. This sounds scary only as heaven sounds scary. For it is heaven, the beginning or foretaste of heaven. All of us will be mystics there.

Then comes the actual surfing (11). Here, our unity with the sea is greater than the passive getting in over your head (10); it is the active doing what the sea does. What the sea does is waving. So we wave. We become one with what the sea does as well as one with what the sea is.

Steps 1-9 were all dynamic process, motion. Step ten was the end, peace. But that's not the end. On the other side of the end there is more dynamism and movement, but this time from the end rather than to it, from within it, as waves come from within the sea. After we are moved to God, we find that once we are in God we are moved again, this time from God, by God. God is dynamic, like crashing surf, not static, like a stagnant pool. Living in God forever is the most dynamic, exciting thing there is. Surfing is (for surfing freaks like me) a remote but intimate analogy, a weak yet powerful foretaste of heaven.

Finally, the analogy breaks down, as all do. The last physical stage (12) is not joyful, but the spiritual stage it symbolizes is supreme joy. The last stage is drowning (something I would not advise!). It symbolizes mystical union, death not just of concepts (stage 10) or of self-will (stage 11, when we're moved wholly by the sea's waves) but of the very ego-self itself. Something in us longs to die, for only death brings resurrection. Something in us that we cannot understand, something we both fear and love, cries out to God:

Blow, blow, blow till I be
But the breath of the Spirit,
blowing in me.
And, "I live, nevertheless not I, but Christ lives in me."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer surfing in MN

Click here to watch some summer waves in Minnesota.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Lake Superior surfing videos

I posted some Lake Superior surfing videos on my video page here (it's also under my "Links").

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I've got to face the fact that if I tried to go surfing today, I would most likely drown or wash out within a few waves. My sedentary life of video editing has left my attention for detail sharp and my muscles, well, not so sharp. I've not only got to shed the pounds put on during long edit sessions fueled by Mountain Dew and Whoopers, I've got to build up some strength and develop my balance. I like the balance board, known as the Indo board, which you can use almost anywhere. I'm not planning on forking out $100 for one any time soon, not when all you need is a board and some PVC pipe.

I'm not much for weight lifting, so maybe I'll check out the swimming pool down the street. I don't want to paddle like Patrick Swayze in Point Break.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Minnesota Surfer

I'm not really a surfer.

I have "surfed" - a lot. Actually, I've floundered - a lot. I used to live on the East Coast. Florida and then North Carolina. I spent years on the beach, helping to pay for a dermatologist's college education, body surfing, scuba diving and trying to learn to surf. I spent most of my time getting in other surfer's way, swallowing unhealthy amounts of sea water and learning to hold my breath for long periods at a time. I had an old 6'2" Rusty surfboard that once belonged to my brother, a true surfer. It had thick rails and floated nicely, but was sluggish and a little water-logged.

Whenever the waves would rise, I would paddle out and attempt to take at least one of them back to the shore. I struggled wave upon wave, never getting beyond that embarrassing half-stance we wanna-be surfers have turned into an bizarre art form. I usually stayed out an hour or so, then paddled in, chucked the board and went back out to body surf. I never got into boogie boarding.

These half-hearted attempts at surfing frustrated me, and my surf sessions grew shorter and shorter. Then one day, I moved away from the coast. That was over 15 years ago. But those few waves that I did catch, those few moments when I felt the water push me toward land, those short rides have stayed with me all these years.

Now that I think about it, I am a surfer. At least at heart.

These entries will capture my journey back up onto the waves. In Minnesota.