22 S. Smith St., New Buffalo, MI 49117
Third Coast Surf Shop is a cool and funky sports store in New Buffalo where, believe it or not, they surf on Lake Michigan. That’s right, I said surf, and if there’s any other water sport that involves a paddle or a board, they’ll teach you how to do that too.
Ryan Gerard is one of the owners at Third Coast, and he’s a true wizard of the water. When the conditions are right, he and his friends actually hang ten along Lake Michigan’s southern shores. Even though surfing in Michigan is a bit under the radar, it’s been going on there since the late 1950s. Winds coming across the lake can sometimes create swells as high as twenty-six feet and surfable waves up to ten feet high. Ryan’s been riding Michigan’s wide surf for over fifteen years.
Since the surf wasn’t up that day, Ryan took me to a nearby river and showed me the fastest-growing water sport in the world: paddle boarding. You actually stand on what looks like an oversized surfboard with a two-ended paddle and propel yourself along the river. I honestly thought I was doomed to dunk, but it turns out paddle boarding was an absolute blast. It’s almost like I was walking over the water. It was very different, and very cool!
If (or should I say WHEN) you come to Harbor Country, stop by the Third Coast Surf shop. If it involves water, they’ll make sure you have fun with it.