DULUTH, Minn. - The first winter storm of 2017-18 came in a fury Friday, Oct. 27 — causing mayhem for municipalities and travelers across the Northland and dousing a warm fall in a coat of snow and slush.
Lake Superior waves caused major damage to the Duluth Lakewalk and Brighton Beach, causing city officials to close large parts of those popular recreation areas until further notice. The waves — pushed by wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, and coming on top of already-high lake levels — caused flooding in Canal Park, on Park Point, on Madeline Island and near Ashland, among other areas.
A few hundred feet west of Brighton Beach, a group of six surfers took advantage of the waves near the mouth of the Lester River.
“This is the best big day I’ve seen,” said Cole Grotting, 20, a junior at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He’s been surfing for two years.
His friend, Josh Huninghake, 20, had watched the forecast since Tuesday, Oct. 24 and drove up from the Twin Cities to surf.
“It’s only a two-hour drive. It’s definitely worth it,” said Huninghake, a junior at the University of Minnesota.
The two agreed their 5-millimeter-thick wetsuits were “surprisingly warm.” The wetsuits use body heat to warm a layer of water around their bodies.
“I mean, how can you beat this?” Huninghake said. “It’s a freshwater lake, and you’re surfing like it’s the ocean.”
You can watch the full video in the scroll above.