Surf’s up at Gary’s Marquette Park for Minnesota visitors
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/302-0949 September 5, 2013 3:22PM
George Lemson of Minneapolis, Minn. watches his friends kite-surf Thursday at Gary's Marquette Park. | Carole Carlson/Post-Tribune
Updated: October 7, 2013 1:17PM
GARY — Four kite-surfing buddies from Minneapolis launched their weeklong vacation Thursday at Marquette Park, where they surfed in the high waves.
“We don’t have waves like this in Minneapolis,” said George Lemson, who’s been kite-surfing about four years.
Beachgoers gawked at the kite-surfers as they maneuvered and jumped in the waves.
Lemson said it took about eight hours to reach Gary from Minneapolis.
Lemson, Jesse Johnson, Peter Pavek and Jason Leske are following the lake north, planning stops along the way in St. Joseph and Traverse City in Michigan. They’ve been planning the trip about two months.
Previously, they’ve kite-surfed in Cape Hatteras, N.C., and at Padre Island in Texas.
“It’s nice not to take all this equipment on a plane,” said Johnson.
A park ranger for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Johnson plotted the trip stops and rerouted the men to Gary after conferring with an Indiana Dunes State Park worker about wave action.
“It’s amazing how desolate the beach is today,” Johnson said. “The lake is at the top of its temperature peak.”
Even though the lake was relatively warm (the water measured 72 degrees at nearby Michigan City, according to the National Weather Service) the four men all wore wet suits. “We are from Minnesota,” Johnson said.
The recent start of school and a warning from the National Weather Service may have helped clear the south end of Lake Michigan for the vacationing Minnesotans.
The National Weather Service warned beachgoers Thursday to stay out of the water because predicted 20 mph winds could result in waves as high as 6 feet. Life-threatening rip currents were also possible, according to the weather service.