Surf's Up in Lake Tahoe!
By: Alex Silgalis
Surfing culture across the golden state runs deep in its veins. So, when the legislature declared September 20th as California Surfing Day and the state’s official sport, we KNEW we had to hop on board. While skiing and snowboarding the slopes surrounding our beautiful lake is world-renowned, what many don’t know is that you CAN surf Lake Tahoe too.
We know what you’re thinking. How? Well, due to the mountains, landscape, and the fury of storms roaring over the Sierra Nevada crest, winds can generate speeds up to 100+ mph at the ridge top. This amount of wind up high can generate massive waves large enough to surf down low. Although the water can be frigid and winds can whip up to 40+ mph at lake level, Lake Tahoe surfing is possible in the right conditions. In fact, there’s a group of dedicated residents that do it multiple times a year.
Although there are some similarities to surfing coastal waves, Big Blue does add a few other elements that’ll keep you on your toes. The waves are normally a bit choppier. They also don’t usually break with the same consistency or location. And typically to get consistent winds of 40-45 mph, it happens on the frigid side of the calendar. But, just like other northern California surfing, you just need to break out your wetsuit. To be the most comfortable, grab a 6/5 wetsuit along with a hood, gloves and booties.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for the “perfect storm.” Instead, you can enjoy California Surfing Day by catching a wave via the back of a boat, go standup paddleboarding, or maybe even go windsurfing! There are lots of opportunities to surf Lake Tahoe.
Even hundreds of miles away from the Pacific Ocean, we at Lake Tahoe celebrate California Surfing Day with actual surfing. So yes… seriously, Surf Tahoe isn’t just a dream but a real possibility if the weather cooperates. Share your celebrations online using the hashtag #CaliforniaSurfingDay & #TahoeSouth to show the world how our region rides its waves.