SHOREWOOD — It might surprise you, but surfing is growing more and more popular in Wisconsin.
"Right now we are in the golden age of Great Lake surfing," Jacob Bresette said.
Jacob is one of the people responsible for this growth in the sport. He owns Lake Effect Surf Shop, 1926 E Capitol Dr. in Shorewood. It is one of just two surf shops in the entire state.
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They sell “everything that you need to go surfing wet suits, wet suit boots, wet suit gloves, anything to get you out in the frigid temperatures of Lake Michigan.”
The surf season normally goes from late summer to the New Year. That tends to be when there are more storms too. Storms bring wind, winds make waves, waves bring surfers. It is why you might not often see surfers out at Atwater Park or Bradford Beach.
"A lot of people don’t go to Lake Michigan around the beach when it's cold, or windy, or 40 degrees outside, so a lot of them don’t see the waves we get here," he said.
Did you know some of the nicknames for Lake Michigan are the Fresh Coast, the Third Coast, or the Unsalted Seas?
But at the time of this article, we are in February. The high season of surfing is past and parts of the shore are frozen given single-digit temperatures. It means business slows down.
"The winter is always slower for us. The first quarter in general we don’t see too many people," Jacob said.
So he makes up for it with skateboard sales and his own brand of clothing printed in Wauwatosa.
The pandemic put a dent in business too, but given that he sells outdoor sports equipment, he was, fortunately, more or less okay.
“A lot of the pools were closed around here, so people needed to get a wet suit so we were one of the main places that offer a selection of those.”
While the waves might be hard to find, the gear isn't. It's all at Lake Effect Surf Shop in Shorewood. It's open 11 am to 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday.