Grand Rapids Press  Wonderland Magazine  July 18, 1965

New Thrills for Surfers

Press Magazine Editor

   New surf thrills for Muskegon’s Susan Acterhoff, Grand Haven’s Ed Brandel.                                       Photo by MICHAEL A. DABAKEY      

   WEST MICHIGAN enthusiasts of the sport are finding out they don’t need that famed California surf to get a wild ride.

   They are being made happy right at home in a variety of ways—on land, sea and skate wheels.

   One of the most daring stunts discovered of late by the surf set is sliding down West Michigan’s plentiful and steep sand dunes on so-called skegless (rudderless to the uninitiated) sandsurfers.

   Speeds up to 40 miles an hour have been claimed by this method and spills on the hot sand can be uncomfortable to say the least.

 SLIDING BACKWARDS down an 80-foot sand dune on a sandsurfer, top photo, is Ed Brandel’s idea of a surfer thrill.  Speeds up to 40 miles an hour have been claimed by this method on steep slopes.  Rick Sapinski, left, and Craig VanSinglel, both of Grand Rapids, in bottom picture, prefer the conventional way of surfing.

   For those who like their surf thrills strictly the wet way, a Great Lakes Surfing Association has been formed for stokes, those who are really smitten by the sport, and grennies (beginners).

   THE GROUP CLAIMS 54 members and today a large contingent of its hot-doggers, the real pros of the sport, left for St. Ignace where the Lake Michigan shore faces south and the waves have been known to be 10 to 12 feet high.

   Most of the Great Lakes group uses a square back tail board instead of a pointed one to get the biggest ride from the smaller Lake Michigan waves, explains Terry Heaton, spokesman for the group.

    “We don’t need those 20-footers like they have in California to have fun,” he pointed out.  “We’re happy with six-inch ones.  That’s all that is really needed to get a push.”

JON WICKLAND of Muskegon shows good form as he takes his skateboard through the downhill slalom course during the Muskegon Seaway race.  He was the senior boy champ.

   THEN THERE are skateboarders.  All they need is a slight slope and they’re happy.  A recent contest during the Muskegon Seaway festival attracted more than 50 entries who did everything but dance the frug on their boards.

    Slalom runs, and idea borrowed from skiing where contestants rip around obstacles while racing down a slope, having added more challenge to the sport.

    Among stunt division winners, one youngster copped the top prize at the Seaway festival race by going down hill while standing on his head.

    Other popular feats are the “360,” doing a complete turn on the board with the back wheels remaining in one place: the “720,” doing two complete turns, the same way; “hanging five,” placing five toes over one edge of the board and “hanging ten,” which, of course, is hanging ten toes over the board.

   ONE OF the out-of-state entries in the Seaway Festival skateboard championships, 14-year-old Douglas Martin of Lawndale, Calif., seems to be having difficulty in this race.