In defense of surfing
To the Journal editor:
No coastal city or country that has good surf prevents its citizens or visitors from enjoying the sport. For some odd reason, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering the move.
There is no doubt, there have been many tragic drownings in our Great Lakes. Few of those drownings have involved surfers. In fact, on several occasions, surfers have assisted swimmers in distress.
We have to prevent this nanny-state mentality from taking over Michigan. Activities too numerous to list here involve risk. Participants knowingly accept those risks and master their activities by honing their skills. Something as simple as riding a bike can be a risky endeavor. Participants accept that risk every day and enjoy peddling bikes the world over.
Pundits will argue about the risk to rescuers on our Great Lakes. Rescuers in their own right acknowledge and accept the risks involved in their paid or volunteer positions as rescuers. The risk is inherent in the activity.
I, myself, am on a rescue team called the Superior High Angle Rescue Professionals. We at SHARP are called when high angle rope work is required in a search and rescue operation. We minimize our risk as much as we can, yet risk is still there as we assist others. We accept that fact.
Watermen and waterwomen who are able should be allowed to pursue our sport of surfing with no limitations or restrictions from our state government. Communication and education will keep our citizens and visitors safe in our Great Lakes.
If you do not have the training, fitness and water experience to enter our Great Lakes when the surf is up, please stay safe and dry on land and take some photos until next time. If you’re not sure, you’ve answered the question with a no. The old adage applies; if you don’t know, don’t go.
Our Michigan Department of Natural Resources should think through carefully its rules and regulations regarding our Great Lakes. Let surfers surf.