An Unlikely Swell

Lake Tahoe is an alpine lake sitting at about 6,225’ feet above sea level and located on the border of California and Nevada.  A unclassified natural wonder of the world.  Summer’s offer incredible hiking and waterspouts on the lake and winter offers some incredible skiing and snowboarding.  The seasons in the middle of those two make it hard for locals to find activities to keep them happy and healthy.  Autumn always brings cooler temps, amazing cloud structures and of course early winter season storms that kick up some serious wind.  Now we all know Lake Tahoe is just that, a lake, but when the wind comes and it does.  It can blow pretty fast, sometimes even up to 60 mph!  Some adventurous board sports loving locals find ways to actually surf these waves produced from the storm winds.  It is some sight to see.  Way above sea level you would think no one could ride a wave on a surfboard designed to ride ocean waves and swells.  


The wind speeds were up so I called up my buddy Logan Knutzen, a Tahoe local who also loves ripping his water stick, to see if he was interested in getting out there to shoot some photos.  Of course if there were waves then he was onboard.  Now these spots are considered “find it yourself” spots, so no beach names will be used.  The first spot we hit had decent waves.  The biggest difference between ocean and lake surfing would probably have to be the inconsistancy of the waves on the lake.  You never know if the wave behind this will be better or worse, unlike the perfect swells that come and go on the ocean.  Logan stayed out there for about an hour and we got some awesome shots.  The first day was legit, but the next day was supposed to offer even more wind, so we planned on hitting it again tomorrow.

The next day it actually snowed in the morning.  This is just to show you what these riders go through to catch some waves.  It is definitely not 65 degree water surfing the shore of San Diego!  Wetsuits, hoodies, booties, and gloves are all necessary.  A duck dive with no hoodie in 45 degree water doesn’t feel too good on the brain.  Ever heard of a real brain freeze!?  Well I got to Logan’s house around 10:30 or so and we set off to search for waves along the edge of North Lake.  The spot we hit yesterday offered no good waves like it was delivering the day before. Passing through Incline Village we drove to the East shore where from the road we spotted some serious waves crashing into shore.  Yeah by the way, submerged rocks near the shore break are a constant fear.  Falling from the board onto a boulder or riding over one is not ideal, but hey where’s the fun if there’s no risk!  This spot had good amount of break.  the wave was probably about 4-5 feet!  Insane for a lake at 6,225’ feet and a depth of 1632’ feet.  We had a solid day running up and down the coast of Tahoe searching for the best waves.  The photos show how sick it was those days!  

Check out the full gallery below!

- Sawyer

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