Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

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Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by West » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:53 am

I find that the thrill of the unexpected is one of the most satisfying motivations for continuing to search.........that is the reason I never hesitate to drive to wherever may have the best conditions on the BIG LAKE!!

I decided to head over to ST JOE on Sunday afternoon. The South buoy was pumping near 30 and MC was reading 31 to 38, both a bit NW; I figured by waiting a bit the waves would build and eventually it would turn N....the rocks ashakin' and Little Wing acrankin', I drove on through the rain, past the Casino, on through Miller, leaving MC behind, and pulling into SILVER BEACH. I had stopped at the roadside lakebluff park on the Bluestar Hwy that offered the first view of Ol Mother Michigan, and was stoked at the ruffled surface of the lake, and the continuous lines of waves that bordered the shore!!! As I pulled into the parking lot with the sand streaming through it, and looked out over the pumping waves, I noticed a lone Caution kite in the air, it was TG; it was on like Donkey Kong!!!!!!!!!

I took my 9m and my 7m to the beach in a hurried frenzy and knew instantly that it was a 7m day. As I pumped up my kite, I let out a few wails for TG as he was boosting as BIG as I had ever seen him throw 'em; just skying off the 8 to 10 foot ramps. There were waves peeling 5 to 6 deep all the way down the beach, thick and barreling as they hit the lower section at Silver.....I rushed to the car and suited up, enjoying the cooling temp of my WET wetsuit as I pulled on the hood. There is something quite exhilirating about the feel of a cold suit that seems to acclimate me to the conditions I am about to step into...the air was a steady 42!!

I took a few deep breaths as my 7m popped off the beach with authority, and hummed a line or two of Little Wing as I made my way past the thumping shorebreak to the hoots and hollers of my buddy as he turned off an inside wave. I was lit, and easily lifted over the foam of the crashing waves, and headed out to tag the first wave of the day. I passed up a few overhead offerings and settled on one a bit bigger with nice shape to it. After turning on it, I headed to shore and positioned myself a little upwind of the peak, waited for it to jack-up, and screamed down the face laying into a nice drawn-out bottom turn, dragging my back hand on the slightly rippled surface of the wave, cutback off the top and headed down the line for a few more turns before kicking out as it began to double up and crash. Yep, it was on like DONKEY KONG!!

Slightly side-on, filled in, steady, and an endless amount of waves to choose from.......to boot, I had a buddy to share in the MAGIC; I must say it was all I could ever ask of Lake Michigan.........well, just like on Christmas morning, when the first present you unwrap is a spectacular gift, and you know that even bigger and better gifts are just waiting for you....I knew that this was gonna be one of those Special Sessions. I watched as TG disappeared in and out of the increasingly bigger sets, as the wind slowly turned more North...we tagged wave after wave; TG launching bigger and bigger, my bottom turns getting tighter and tighter....the waves that had been sectioned out, but never closing out, began to join into one long wave that broke further and further out, slowly creeping towards the end of the South side of the jetty, ever closer to the red and white lighthouse that sits at the end. I had heard stories for years from Matt Mulligan about the incredible waves that would break in the fall at Silver, aided by the colder temps and perfect wave-forming variables; of waves that would form and break from the jetty's end all the way to the pavillion and on past, all the way to the end of Silver to where the beach ends and the rocks line the shore, 1 WAVE, all the way from the lighthouse to the beach!! Lo and behold I saw this starting to happen as TG and I continued to tag the set waves.....3 bottom turns turned into 5, 5 into 7, 7 into 9....9 bottom turns on Set Waves at Silver Beach; picking the right waves became the key, became the necessity, as the conditions became "seriously" bigger and bigger"!!

TG and I had worked our way into a noticable pattern of catching the bigger sets next to the jetty, when I saw his kite go down on a wave starting to form on the outside, BOOM!!, he took one on the head as his kite was on the water....but he kept his lines tight, the kite didn't roll, the next wave moved over to spare him another pummeling and up came the Caution....relieved, I had come in to grab his board and drop it off to him, but it had caught the right current and headed towards him, he was able to retrieve it himself, got on and headed in. He had been kiting for over 3 hours, and exhausted, he was calling it a day. I followed him in and helped him land his kite, as the wind was so strong and steady, with the sand aflyin' that his kite just refused to "sit down". I headed back out to waves that had increased to 10 to 12 and were still building!! I was stoked, it was the best I had ever seen TG kite...what a thrill to share it with him.

On Maui, we had a saying about the "elephants marching"; this refers to the feeling one gets when the waves increase to a size that alarms you, waves with faces as big as houses, ones that when they begin to break you can drive an 18 wheeler through; a feeling where the stomach churns, where you feel as though there are elephants marching around inside you.....well, the elephants were marching, and I could hear there trumpeting calls with the tune of Little Wing in the background. When it gets that big, I invariably begin to talk to myself; at times to whisper reminders to myself, at times to actually shout commands to myself...."pick the right wave", "Start your bottom turn, Go, Go", "Kick out, KICK OUT", "not this one, the next one"...the breathing must remain steady and calm, sometimes I go further to the inside after a waveride and sit on the sand to steady myself, I know I must not stay over-excited at this point....as INTENSLY MAGNIFICENT as the RUSH is, I know I must steady myself and my breath......each wave ride was getting more demanding, the wind turning NNE and getting a bit lighter for my 7m, the wave faces becoming as SMOOTH as I had EVER seen ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. The waves now 12 to 16 and jacking up quickly, and getting heavier and heavier...bottom turn (1), fade, set it up, "GO, NOW", set the rail on the waveface (3), traverse, down the line, lay it down (5), "UP THE FACE, YOU IDIOT", huge roundhouse right below the throwing wave (7), "NOW, NOW!!!", fade-fade, doubling up on the inside, "GO, GO", off the top, "FASTER", screaming along the top spray flying, "ONE MORE" (9), floating the section, back onto the face, all the way to the beach, "WHEW".....best ride I ever had....On Lake Michigan.....not a Gulf of Mexico wave, not a Pacific Coast wave, not an Island of Maui Wave.....a Spectacular, Silver Beach offering; an Ol Mother Michigan gift, a BIG LAKE murmur, a LAKE MICHIGAN WAVE!!! :wink:

Yeah, you're right Mulligan....the godfather spoke, and I stored it away......"you know West, the best wave on the Lake is down at St Joe in the Fall, at Silver when the Northerlies pump and the waves build....they will break all the way from the lighthouse to the beach, the end of the beach....thick, standing up, peeling...one wave.....ONE WAVE!!!!! Thanks buddy.......I always knew, but now I KNOW!!!

As I was driving over I expected to ride a bit, but I never expected the conditions I found at Silver, and am still quite flabbergasted that it could have even been half that INCREDIBLE, but that's part of the MAGIC and MYSTERY of driving around the BIG LAKE.....you just never know until you GO!!!!!!!!!!!! :D That's the thrilling part about it..................

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Eric A.
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Re: Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by Eric A. » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:54 am

Yes you did BUDDY!!!!!
I'm so glad you finally caught it good at Silver.
It's my mini San Carlos.
BEST and longest wave I have ever ridden on Lake MI.
Stoked you got the hook up and rode the train from the lighthouse to Ursilas's....that is a great ride if your legs can hold out. Gets really heavy down near Ursilas...heavy and thick, with speed and power.
No don't say another word, it's already crowded enough with surfers on good days. Those boys make it look good too.

Dude, Your quest for water time has me quite envious as my quest this season and last has been cut short due to injuries, lack of time and hate to say it, but work.
Where do you get all of these free days brother....I am so envious and you can keep a girl too....simply amazing.
You are the MAN. Don't know how you do it, but I live vicariously thru you at times bro....keep em comming.

Great to see you and the crew at Wallys.
SO glad you and the fellas helped get the gear into the club.
Thanks fellas....IVO, John, Greg....don't remeber the names of others, but THANKS big time.
I was in really bad shape that night....still dealing with my back injury.
Rode in the haven for an hour or two Friday and had to stop...no fun when it hurts. Next season I'll be back with no back injuries....I'm just sayin.

Thanks for the posts buddy.....Cool runnings mon.

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Re: Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by schuss8899 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:10 pm

Outstanding...its always nice to feel the power of the engine when it is finely tuned......hee hee.... :D

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Re: Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by FSP » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:03 pm

If you boys let one of them elephants get away, I think we may have caught him down at miller.... after gaining some weight!!! Just outside the parking lot, we may have seen the grand finale to this mega day. Just before coming down the road to miller if you see it breaking within sight then prepare for the big one. And that we did.. all six of us Pier, Ivo, greg, john and ben rigged to deal and broke out past the break to trip on the size. everyone drifted away from each other mainly becasue the sheer size dictated where you would ride but what a soul search for the wave of the year for me anyway. Strange how some days you have butterflies and other ominous days you cant way to be part of the mayhem. Beauty was in the easy out but massive sets way off shore which made it pretty special. Not sure what everyone else snagged, but somewhere outside the parking lot out past the pier a pseudo set would just block the horizon and for me anyway, that would turn into a deep dive frontside, off the top and then swing back backside following the transformations of that one wave the whole way to shore at times. Drive home, i had a hard time getting past what a bad move might have rendered, but i guess thats why we were there.

A toast to sunday and all who charged!!!

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Re: Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by IVO » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:59 pm

As I read on the other topic as well,everyone scored the best waves on the lake ever "again" :D

Although I have good time with friends sharing and riding

a reality check on Miller...good on the size,but very unorganized,fast closing,fat pigs.Usually I pay close attention to where the waves are moving,which one to choose,to position myself well ect.,but I couldnt make much out of this mess.I did catch couple good ones,but nothing worth to saying about.Foam,foam,foam...

I like riding big stuff,but If to choose between big or quality I would choose the second!
Kajun Rule #1-Never try to teach a pig to sing.....It wastes your time and it annoys the pig.

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Re: Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by WaWaZat » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am

West, when I got to your 1st line in your 4th paragraph, I quickly hit play on Little Wing and let me tell you buddy.... it made perfect sense as I read the rest of your literary! If your words were video... which they always inherently are when you give your accounts around here... we'd have one heck of a youtube feature!!
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Re: Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by West » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:30 am

You are a music man Mike, I know you understand the significance of having a tune playing in your head.....over the years, I have learned that having a tune locked in my mind helps to keep me focused. Inevitably when the conditions become extreme I lock onto a certain tune....While on Maui and windsurfing it was often the Beatles' "Helter Skelter", or Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond"......While kiting I have gravitated towards Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain" or Hendrix's "Little Wing"; being a Texan, I prefer the instrumental extended version of "Little Wing" by SRV......bottom turning to that blasting between my ears,while on an otherwise empty Lake Michigan in numbing temps is beyond surreal to me!!! Give it a try sometime....you might enjoy "And The Cradle Will Rock", "Ain't Talking Bout Love", or "Jump"..... :D

Yeah, Ivo....rare is the day that it wasn't "the best ever" for me......my best kiting day is the one I just finished, and the one yet to come...but I must say that I have caught waves on Lake Michigan at Two Rivs, Shesablowin', Racine, Kenosha, Zion, Keegs, Wilmette, Casino, Miller, Burns Harbor, MC, New Buffalo, Weko, Da Haven, Saugatuck, Holland, Port Sheldon, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Honey Hole, LSP, Onekema, Frankfort and Pt Betsie, and downwinders connecting almost every spot; NOTHING compares in any way, shape, or form to the waves that I saw forming at St Joe that day....from the Lighthouse at the end of the pier all the way to the beach at what Eroc is calling Ursilas....better than any wave I have ever kited anywhere, ONE WAVE that never closed out, but peeled on and on....what legends are made of, what Mulligan had told me about, what Eroc is "echoing"....just simply unbelievable. The thing about it is that I watched it go from outstanding sections of waves, to the unfathomable connection of the sections into ONE.....It only lasted for about 2 hours; after coming in to warm my hands, I went out for a second session and the Magic had disappeared, it had gone back to sections, and even to a few close-outs....I came in, and just called it a day....a DAY that will never be forgotten and one that will be continually searched for again and again in the coming years.....and believe me I will get it again Trooper, I just hope to have you ripping it up with me, if you haven't moved to MAUI yet.... :wink:

You know Eric, I have heard you Michigan boyz talk bout that wave on a NNE for quite some time...3 years ago I began to go over to Michigan on NNW days to South Haven to ride with the crew instead of hitting the Casino or Miller...Last year I began to travel the extra distance on a N to get a shot at the clean conditions at Da HAVEN or a crack at St Joe to find the "famed" wave madness.....I got Silver in a snowstorm last year with it about 6 to 8 solid, peeling, and thick...but to see it go off like it did last Sunday just blew my socks off.....A wave as long as you would catch in Baja, with as much form as you would see on Maui, and a surface as glassy as Corpus Christi's "Laguna butter"...at fetch's end on the BIG LAKE, wrapping around the long-ass jetties at St Joe, pounding the shores of Silver.....like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.."and the dreams that you dreamed of, dreams really do come true"....www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1bFr2SWP1I

Gotta love it!! :D

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Re: Spectacular Sunday at Silver.....11/27/11

Post by FSP » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:10 pm

true way to tell if you found that world class, endless wave is whether a short board surfer is catching that same wave and riding the distance you are as a kiter-this is the true test whether the wave is holding up or reliant on a kite to make it happen. the ideal, obviously is to vert surf whatever you can without the help of a kite to feel the most pure power, energy, freedom and presence of that wave. and though many times we are linking swells and connecting sections long or short, its so special kiting was even discovered for this. Sure i myself kid myself, and think this one wave exists here on certain days, but down deep i know i could not surf it without the kite in the same way, which makes me appreciate the happy posts i read from others and their experiences when they happen.

Since we do have a kite, I guess I am still amazed at how you can go to the third sandbar at miller with on shore winds (beyond the froth IVO-hhaaa) and pick off big, animated waves( if you want to call them that), to bottom turn to the lip and then connect on and on for the rest of the day. point is, never take kitesurfing for granite and give the kite a big thanks because whether we think is a long wave or just a one hit wonder, our kite makes this happen, and how lucky are to be doing something with this lake, that was never possible that surfing cant offer.

dane reynolds, one of the top surfers in the world right now, sought out and built his career on chasing junk surf to develop a skill set the others never thought of or could produce. Its amazing because this taught him an incredible, spontaneous reaction that is so sick to watch. This makes me think, that if i lived in perfect surf than i would surf, but because i live in less than perfect wavy conditions that you mostly cant surf, kitesurfing really makes life great making it the perfect solution for making use of longer or cleaner or chunky and junky just the same. Could outside onshore be the new clean side shore- i must now quewstion that over the winter while IVo is in maui.

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