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FAQ's

Learning?

Rules?

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Wetsuits?

Boards?

Q: Do I really need a wetsuit?

 A: Only if you want to surf more than once a year in August.

 

 Q: Which wetsuit is the best for the Lakes? 

 A: Wetsuit selection is highly personal and subjective. In short, there is no one, perfect wetsuit for the lakes. If you intend to surf all year you’ll need a few different wetsuits. Going from a 3 mil jacket to a hooded 6 mil for late fall and winter. Don’t forget those booties and gloves, they are a whole selection process unto themselves.

 The best method for wetsuit selection is to try all different brands and styles, find the one which best fits your body type.  Talk to other surfers in your area and find out what they have had the best luck with. Don’t worry if the suit is hard to get on and off remember the closer the fit, the warmer the suit. Besides you can always rely on your buddy to help you, you should never surf alone anyway. Women should not wear men’s suits and vice versa. Let’s face it we are built differently and wetsuits need to be built accordingly. You don’t want a lot of water sloshing around inside your suit. Not only is it uncomfortable, it’s significantly colder.

 Be careful about buying used suits. You generally get what you pay for and when a used wetsuit goes on sale it is usually just that, “used”. When it comes to cold water, there is no such thing as a small hole! Remember an effective wetsuit is snug to your body.

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Q: Where can I buy a surfboard?

 A: Surfboards are a highly coveted commodity in the Midwest. Most board builders are located on the coasts so shipping is a cost which needs to be considered when making your purchase. The best option for a beginner is usually to locate a used board near you. Talk to the locals or check the for sale section on www.lakesurf.com . There are however a few board builders on the lakes, who build custom boards. Keep in mind when shopping for a board that you’ll need to figure in a different equation for fresh water when estimating the correct size board. 

 

Q: Can I rent a surfboard?

 A: Rentals are really not a convenient option. The few surf shops that are located near the lakes usually sell surf gear as a sideline, so selection is somewhat limited and good rentals are non existent.

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Q: Where can I learn to surf?

 A: Generally speaking the Great Lakes do not provide the optimal conditions for teaching one to surf. Surf is somewhat infrequent and as such surfers rarely want to take their water time to teach others. There are surf camps set up in Florida and California which run all year. This is what they do, you are better off with a few solid lessons from a qualified instructor before attempting the lakes. Be careful when selecting a surf camp or lessons in general that the instructors who will work with you are qualified, experienced individuals not some impatient kid.

 

Q: Where’s the Best place for me to surf?

 A: Wherever there are waves, it is not illegal, and you’re not endangering yourself or others. Newbies are generally welcomed at most surf spots on the lakes as long as they are courteous, stay out of the way of others and obey these generally recognized rules of the road. Never surf alone!!!

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Q: What are the rules?

A: THE RULES IN GENERAL

  DON'T DROP IN:  The surfer closest to the breaking part of the wave (the inside or the peak) or the first surfer to their feet has the right of way/priority.
Before taking off on a wave make sure no one is on your inside, always check behind you before taking off.


  
DON'T PADDLE OUT THROUGH THE BREAK:  Do not paddle out through the lineup or where the breaking area/impact zone of the waves are. By paddling around the breaking or surfable part of the wave you will not interfere with another surfers ride and will also reduce the risk of getting hit by the surfer on the wave. No one likes having their ride ruined. If you get caught inside, stay in the white water and always paddle around the break or go in and paddle out again.

  
DON'T HOG THE WAVES: Don't try to catch every single wave that comes through. You will only create animosity amongst the others in the line up and will be seen as a wave pig or hog. If you have the paddling power or a board that allows you to get into the waves a lot earlier remember this, learn to give and you will receive. Share the waves around and learn to give a few to the other crew. Respect gets respect.

  
KEEP CONTROL OF YOUR EQUIPMENT: Never ever attempt a move, maneuver, turn or Arial that will cause you to land or smash into some one else and always keep an eye on crew paddling out. Usually when you are about to take off on a wave someone might be paddling out right in front of you, avoid the hassle or possible injury to you or the other surfer and just wait for another one.

  
DON'T SNAKE: Don't paddle up inside someone as they are trying to catch the wave. This is known as "snaking" when a surfer who is nowhere near the point of takeoff where the other surfer is taking off, paddles over and tries to steal the wave from the surfer at the peak. "Snaking is a no, no and one that will get you little respect in the lineup. The surfer who has been sitting out the back waiting ages for that boomer while everyone else is on the inside always has the right of way. It's just common sense and courtesy.

  
GIVE A YELL: If it looks like someone is going to drop in on you, let them know you are on the inside or have right of way by calling out and letting them know you are taking off or already on the wave. Sometimes crew drop in because they think you haven't made the takeoff. A friendly reminder of a shout like "Mine" or "Going right" or "Going left" helps clarify the situation.

  
CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT: Always check the state of your equipment. Try and get all the dings (damage) fixed on your surfboard that have fiberglass protruding to avoid damage to yourself and others. Check the back edge of your fins, if they are sharp lightly sand the edge off them with a bit of wet and dry sand paper to dull the sharpness. Nose guards are relatively inexpensive to buy and can save you a lot of time and pain from receiving stiches because of the wound that some surfboard noses can cause. Buy one, their cheap and easy to put on.

  
SHARE AND RESPECT: Share the lakes, not only with other surfers, but also the marine life which lives in it. Don't practice your competition tactics (if you are a contest surfer) on those who enjoy the surfing for the life style and fun it offers. Leave that form of hassling for contests not free surfing. The Lake is there for everyone to use and share.                                        

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