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post Aug 20 2007, 12:55 PM
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Last Tuesday (8/14) I had the chance to make a trip out to South Manitou Island off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore.


This is an awsome place to camp and hike, and also proved to be a sweet riding spot with amazing views. I stayed on the southern end of the island at the Weather Station campgorund, about a mile and a half hike from the dock. We were greeted with 30+ Knot SW winds and huge waves splashing over the top deck of the ferry on the 1 and 1/2 hour trip. I decided to bring my "light wind" gear allong as they were only calling for 10-20 and rain the night before. :roll: When I saw 30 and sunny I nearly went ballistic and couldn't stop giggling the whole way there.

I had the intention to camp near the North end, but after talking to the ranger on the ferry and looking at the forcast, I stayed on the relatively shallow southern beach. For the hike, I tied all of my gear together and strapped it to my board using the harness. It was well worth the 25 min walk through the forest.


This is an amazing spot. It was shallow as far as I would venture out, at least 150m out, and the waves were coming onshore about 2-3 ft high. Wind was side shore all day giving me ideal conditions to larn riding in surf. It was a bit intimidating, even though it didn't look so bad standing onshore. The bottom was sandy part of the way, scattered with smooth rocks of different sizes as you got farther out. I had to walk to a little sandy point towards the lighthouse, which was just wide enough to launch from.

Most of the day I spent with my lines laid out, in disbelief, waiting for the wind to die down. When it dropped down to ~20kts I decided to launch, and rode super-powered for about 45 min. I had to be extremely careful, as there were two huge submerged bolders, coming back from each tack, and some also further downwind. I had an area of about 100 m along the shorline with no obstacles, and since wind was side shore I could ride straight out. So on this dirrection it was just perfect. Great views of the mainland dunes and the S. Manitou Lighthouse on each tack. Emerald waters and really thick wind.

Though I didnt get the chance, it looks like most of the island might be rideable on different wind conditions. Gull point on the NE tip is off limits, and the shorline of the bay is rocky and narrow, but you can ride easterlies on the southern shore. *Hiking 2 miles with gear is not as easy as it sounds, but it's doable and worthwhile for this sweet set-up. Definately not a beginer friendly area though, with the narrow/rocky beaches and submerged boulders. Northern Lake Michigan is something else. Damn those Travers guy who get this everyday. :wink:

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concretesurfer   South Manitou   Aug 20 2007, 12:55 PM

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