Fellow Surfers and Water Lovers,
The State of Michigan is considering a new order that would ban people from entering the water on "red flag" days at state-managed beaches, many of which are eagerly pursued by those of us in the Great Lakes surfing community. Think Grand Haven, Holland, Muskegon, Warren Dunes, Sleeping Bear Dunes, etc. This is no joke, and a serious concern for all of us.
I am writing to join the chorus of people that believe the proposed order to ban people from entering the water at state-managed beaches goes too far. As a Michigan surfer with 22 years of experience, I understand the potential dangers in our Great Lakes, including those involving inexperienced swimmers entering the water on "red flag" days. I have been involved in multiple rescues where someone else was at risk; thankfully, I was on a surfboard, which acted as the perfect flotation device to assist a swimmer in trouble.
Surfing, though still relatively unknown by many in Michigan and the Great Lakes region, is a pursuit enjoyed by thousands of people throughout the Midwest and Canada. People drive hundreds of miles to visit the best surfing areas in our region, including state-managed beaches, just as they do on coasts around the world. This ban would effectively erase this opportunity for all of those people, including me.
The Great Lakes surfing community applauds the efforts to reduce the risk for swimmers and the general public on our hallowed beaches, but a widespread ban to prohibit anyone from entering the water on red flag days - which is every day when a surfer is engaged in his or her pursuit of catching waves - goes too far. Please do not take the ability to pursue the perfect wave in Michigan away from us.
Thank you for your consideration, and have a great day.
Third Coast Surf Shop