Incredible Photos Showing How These Surfers Braved The Polar Vortex

By THP Team


While it is that time of the freezing winters that make us want to cover ourselves under a zillion layers, these surfers didn’t look for a single excuse but went for their regular sports. In a temperature as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit, we would literally not move an inch away from the fireplace. Forget about the offices, schools, and colleges, we wouldn’t want to leave the blankets for having our meals. All we could think of at that moment would be drinking gallons of hot chocolate. But wait did anyone say trekking through the frigid lake?

Daniel Schetter (famous by the name ‘Surfer Dan’) from Marquette City in Michigan wasn’t ready to take a day off from practicing his regular sport. Even when the whole country was freezing under ice sheets, Daniel and his friend Allen Finau decided to cruise across Lake Superior. The Sub-Zero temperature and the polar vortex couldn’t obstruct their will to surf in the chilling winds and frigid water.

Devos Hains, an excellent nature photographer captured them trekking and surfing in Lake Superior, Marquette, Michigan. He shared the photos in a Facebook post where he also mentioned how polar vortex helped them have more fun. He also talked about the carefulness to be kept in mind while surfing as the wetsuits were made especially for frigid conditions.

“The polar vortex made for some fun conditions to go chill in Lake Superior for my friends Surfer Dan and Allen Finau. I had a blast photographing these two in the sub-zero temps this past week.

Marquette, Michigan

(always be careful in and around the great lakes, these wetsuits are made for frigid conditions)”

Hains is friends with both Daniel and Allen. He grew up in ELK Rapids and completed his graduation from Traverse City Central High School. He shot them both on two different days at Presque Isle Park.

“The photos were shot two days last week, Sunday, January 27 and Wednesday, January 30th.

“I’m not very experienced with surfing at all,” he said. “I’ve only tried a few times with Surfer Dan. He’s the experienced surfer and also the feature of my photos. I mostly photograph Dan from a safe spot on shore.” He further added.

But it turns out that even the safe spot had a bundle of difficulties. Hains talks about how challenging it was for him to shoot them.

“As the photographer, the most challenging part was being able to see through my viewfinder. The cold windchill caused my eyes to water a lot and it would freeze in my eyelashes. The cold air temperature meant I couldn’t exhale with my face raised to my camera because it would cause a layer of water vapor from my breath to freeze over my viewfinder and sometimes my lens.”

If this is what happened at the safe spot, we can’t even imagine the conditions of Daniel and Allen. Hains was also concerned about Dan but he confided in Dan’s limits.

I’ve photographed Dan surfing in both sub-zero temperatures and pretty intense waves. Each time I feel a little concerned but I’m confident he knows his limits and it shows when he gets out there.”

But the question is how did they gather all this courage? Hains had that to discuss too!

“So, after trying to get some waves on Sunday, but struggling with ice buildup on the surfboards, they decided to get out their tridents and we shot that with the waves for a while.” “I think all Lake Superior surfers have a certain element to their personality many other people would call crazy… makes them excellent subjects to point a camera at.”

We totally fell in love with these photographs and truly admire the courage and will of these surfers.


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