I can remember about 6 to 7 yrs ago when most thought that it was not possible to ride the Lake Michigan waves......determiniation and the development of kites changed all of that!!!!!!!!!
Leading the charge was Scottie G, whose bottom turns I would study and try to copy....many faceplants later I had an AHAAAAA moment, and it all seemed to flow from there....Scottie G, V, Greg and myself began focusing on trying to rip up the Big Lake's offerings....we tried to find the locations around the lake that had the best ridable kiting waves. Scottie had a wealth of knowledge from his many years chasing the wind and waves as a windsurfer, and began to apply that wisdom in our kiteboarding adventures (I hold to the idea that Scottie and my buddy Matt Mulligan up in TC know the lake better than anyone....each have somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30 yrs experience "sailing" Lake Michigan, and now that I think about it, Mulligan has sailed, windsurfed and kited the lake for over 40 yrs!!!!
As the years have gone by many kiters have acquired the skills to ride Lake Michigan's waves, and most of these kiters have turned to the surfboard in order to do so. Cory was the first to start this trend, bringing it in from Hatteras; and if you have never seen how nimble the big fella is on his board, it is something else to behold, he RIPS!!!!!!!! Leno came back from Florida sporting a "squash tail" and Herbie from Green Bay was on this path as well. Jens, Ryan and the Sheriff started to pick up surfboard skills, and began pushing their abilities riding the waves. Sometime around the day this photo was taken, I was down at the Casino watching Ivo, Pier, Slavi and Leno just "killing it" on surfboards.....VERY IMPRESSIVE!!! It has been awesome to see so many kiters focus on riding what once seemed elusive....the Great Lake Wave. Hell, last time up at Pt Betsie there were over a half dozen guys with Mulligan and Rorke, "slicing it up" on surfboards on their downwinders!! KUDOS
HOWEVER...............I still maintain that LAKE MICHIGAN'S waves were made to be torn-up by a twin-tip. The shorter frequency of our waves dictate that turns be tighter; the ability to kick out of a close-out, jump the next one and turn on the following wave is possible on a twin-tip; landing an off-the-lip into a screaming bottom turn is not only possible but plausible on a twin-tip..........that being said, look back at Scottie G's off da lip in photo 4......"perfect" form, extreme concentration, in the right spot, ready to land into another bottom turn and back up the face, or maybe he is gonna quickly turn and head back out and boost a 20 ft rail-grabbing forward.....ooooooh the many options available to the wave riding twin-tipper on the Big Lake!!
I am stoked that kiting offers so many ways to SHRED and to have FUN!!!!! Whatever board you choose to ride, keep pushing yourself, keep safe, and keep an eye out for your buddy as you ride WAVES on one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world. I just wanted to take the opportunity to give a little background on the history of kiting Lake Michigan's waves (from my Chicago-based perspective and recollection). And most of all I wanted to commend Scottie G on helping all of us to realize that it was possible, after all!!
Keep on leading the charge Scottie.....GREAT photos!!
LONG LIVE THE TWIN-TIP!!!!!!!!!!