Great Lakes question?

Are there tides in the Great Lakes? Is there normally surf? We were having a random discusion at lunch and these questions were asked.

Heck yes!
Sing just posted a link you might want to check out.

Tides, no. Surf, yes.

Tides? Not exactly, but…
…winds of long duration can have a dramatic effect on water level, especially on Lake Erie. The effect is similar to blowing across a saucer filled with water. The water will bunch up at the far end and lower at the end you are blowing from.

I am also a sailor, and have noticed the water level at some marinas change 12 inches overnight!

Several years ago, I docked at Lake Erie Metropark, on the west shore of that Great Lake. A pretty good wind was blowing from the northeast. We decided to stay over a day as several storms passed. The following morning, the wind shifted from the west, and the water level decreased. We barely made it out of the marina!

Of course, this has little effect on us kayakers, unless we plan on exploring shallow, marshy areas.

I’ve noticed it up on Lake Superior, it’s called a Seiche. We had a “wind day” at the Slate Islands two years ago, and noticed that our boats were about 2" above the water where they were pulled up onto the beach. Less than an hour later, the water was several feet away down the beach (probably less than a foot lower). It came in and out a few times.

It was very windy that day, so there was some pretty serious surf out there that day…

Not really
You often have a sietche, but you don’t have to worry about tidal currents. A sietche is caused by wind. There are some big waves though.

Forecast: Lake MI. 5-8’ on Sat.

– Last Updated: Oct-01-04 3:42 PM EST –

I think they're expecting some 15'-20' waves on Lake Superior!

Basically all you need for surf is a good 50 mile stretch of water and and stiff wind to make surfable waves and the longer and harder it blows the better. Finding a perfect break is another story. If you want to find the good breaks you've got to get in with the board surfers.

Here's a surf movie trailer too:

Lake Michigan does have a tide (other than the wind effects mentioned earlier) of about 2", but don't ask me how they check it. Typically the moon's gravity lifts land masses, so lakes are lifted with the surrounding land.

Last year, at Union Bay in the U.P.,
I got to watch everything from placidly calm waters one day to ten foot rollers the next. The down side to these waves was that they were right on top of each other. They might have been twenty feet apart at the most.

You know, I was going to ask
why there might not be at least some lunar tide effect, but did wonder how they’d go about measuring it. Interesting.


Google search

– Last Updated: Oct-01-04 4:44 PM EST –

The google link didn't post right, but this page seemed to be a good explanation:

If anyone is interested…
you can take a look at the animated wave forecast for the great lakes. It’s a good visual aid. You can see how the waves are building on the great lakes.

yee haw
to the U.P. god waves up there. Saw some small waves this month up there. About 4-6 ft. high. Have been swimming in 6-7 ft. waves and was it fun. Yes we get waves that get bigger too. Do a search and read about the Edmund Fitzgerald.

yes, tides no.

See airwave’s video on GL surf.

We get some good days in fall, the surf weather is coming!!!

Thanks everyone.
The Great lakes are another world to us.I swam in lake Ontario once as a child, but not for long.

What you haven’t seen Step Into Liquid?
got to see that movie if you see any movie and you have a feeling for surf.