These are from a Sunday this late November, or early December on Lake Superior. A few locals were out as well as a lineup of students from the Traverse City area. The lake was providing some clean waves with minimal wind. I was tempted to grab my longboard and join but was happy enough to be the media crew for the day.
The best surfing days on Lake Superior are usually accompanied by arctic temperatures and aggressive wind. Surfers keep warm with thick neoprene wetsuits, vaseline to cover exposed faces and the occasional thermos of hot water to get some instant warmth. These bold Great Lakes surfers tend to be able to withstand the freezing temps for hours if they can remain active enough from paddling and surfing. The gear quality and durability of their gear shouldn't be overlooked either. A warm, proper wetsuit for freezing water temps and a properly attached surfboard can be a matter of life or death for riders.
I have gotten a handful of questions regarding which wetsuit I wear or recommend for new riders. I wear currently wear a 5/4 Furnace from Billabong but would love some extra warmth of a 6/5 Furnace Chest Zip Hooded Wetsuit. For a male rider, I often recommend Vissla & sea series. They have a handful of styles at the thicknesses of 5/4+ to keep any rider warm in frigid temps. These suits often need to be accompanied with equally or thicker boots and mitts to ensure hands and feet stay protected from the water. In early season, one can opt out of boots or mitts. Some other fan favorites for warm wetsuits among Great Lakes surfers include Xcel Wetsuits and Hyperflex USA suits.
From my buying experience and usage of wetsuits, try and size down or try them on it person to understand of tight you ideally want the fit. Hope this small piece of writing brought some insight to the few emails I have gotten over what wetsuits I wear. As always, I am an open resource and am happy to answer any other questions via the email form on the contact tab.
Billabong 6/5 Furnace
Vissla 6/5 7 Seas
Other Commonly Seen Brands of Wetsuits for GLS