I’ve been on a surf trip to Minnesota. Just miles from the Canadian border. In late winter. One of the most surreal experiences of my life. Yes, the beaches were covered in ice and it was punishingly cold, and there were icebergs on the horizon, but the whole lake surfing thing was very, very weird.

Lake Superior is a lake in name only (and technical definition, I suppose)—as you stare at it, it’s clearly the size of an ocean. Unfathomably big. But then, somehow, you can tell it’s freshwater all the same. The whitewater looks a little different. The beach sand is different. The surrounding trees too—different. There’s no ocean smell, either.

But you can be a surfer in the Great Lakes. This was mostly a secret until recent years. Now, however, it seems the action sports world has discovered the lakes boast quality surf, relatively speaking, compared to no surf, anyway. Lake Superior generates the biggest and best waves, and it is in this frigid inland sea “Surfer Dan” has made his surfing life.

Dan looks like he genuinely loves surfing that slushee goodness, and he can surf pretty well too considering he can’t have that many opportunities in the fickle, strange surf Lake Superior produces.

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