Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan
Finally got to experience windsurfing at Muskegon on Sunday. The breakwater is quite large and you can sail inside it if things are scary outside. Both the north and south side are accessable for launching and sailing.
Sunday the NW wind kicked in around midnight and blew up some good swell. (the mid-lake bouy reported 10 ft) Then around 2pm the wind clocked around to the North. The shore there angles NNW so it was a bit offshore.
When the wind clocked, the waves on the south side of the breakwater were unreal. Big clean and smooth, they were wrapping around and coming in almost perfectly 90 degrees to the wind. They were definitely the sweetest waves I've ever sailed on Lake Michigan. I was riding my 82 liter wave board with the 4.7 super freak and was often overpowered. Of course the inside was a windless crunching danger zone...
If the conditions were like that every day I'd move.
Big thanks to Chris Johnson for getting me there :-)
Muskegon is one of the best launches for North & South wind directions. I have sailed this location for 30 years and it is one of the best on the West side of Michigan. We can sail Easterlies on Muskegon Lake at Harbour Towne Beach.
See you on the water.
I have only managed to hit good conditions on Lake Michigan a few times. I've always encountered onshore winds and waves coming from the same direction as the wind, making a difficult shorebreak when it's big. I would LOVE to get a magical day like the one you described! I have a couple of questions.
1. How is it getting out at Muskegon? If you launch from the leeward side of the breakwater are you fairly sheltered from the shorebreak, but still getting decent wind? Can you select your wave size by how far downwind from the breakwater you venture?
2. Any idea why the inside is a "windless crunching danger zone?" My experience in Lake Michigan has been the same. Why is there a dead zone close to shore? So many times I've stood on shore thinking the wind was fantastic, only to launch and barely be able to get a water start, or take off like a bat out of hell only to fall in in a lull 30 yards later. Never understood that. Maybe I just suck.
3. Is it practical to launch in the area protected by the breakwater (i.e. in the channel) and sail out into the big lake to play in the waves?
Any advice would be appreciated. I am hoping to spend more time in Michigan and eventually retire there.