Tom Janicki, of St. Clair Shores, shares his Eastside adventures:
“I’ve been playing on Lake St. Clair practically my whole life. Being a longtime resident of St. Clair Shores, and living on the water, I have found many ways to enjoy the lake year-round.
Growing up as a kid, everyone in our neighborhood played hockey. It was just a short walk to the lake, and there we had it all; miles of wind-blown smooth ice on which to play hockey all day. I joined dozens of kids willing to spend all day Saturday and Sunday having the time of our lives stickhandling that puck around. Only things stopping us were the thaws and deep snow.
Entering my teens, I spent many mornings during summer waterskiing behind an old wooden boat that three of us friends had bought together. I remember one of our dads trailering the boat to the water, where we would launch in the morning. We wouldn’t come back in until later that evening. Those experiences hooked me for life on having a boat on Lake St. Clair. To this day, my wife and I love to hop into our little boat and head out on a hot summer day drifting around aimlessly enjoying each other’s company.
In the late 80s, a new water sport was catching on called windsurfing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsurfing). It looked like lots of fun, so naturally I had to try it. Once I learned how to windsurf, I was addicted to getting out as much as possible. Of course, it takes wind and water to windsurf, and Lake St. Clair is full of water. And the wind, well, it can be fickle, but when it showed up, the hard-core windsurfers would drop everything and head to the beach.
Then in the early 2000s, another new watersport was developing. It was called kiteboarding (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiteboarding). A few pioneers of the sport were learning it locally at Metro Beach (now Lake St. Clair Metropark). Eventually kiteboarding caught on, and shops opened to teach the sport and to sell kites, boards and gear. One of the best spots on Lake St. Clair for both windsurfing and kiteboarding is Lake St. Clair Metropark. When the wind is blowing from the right direction, you’ll see dozens of kiteboarders and windsurfers at the park’s day sail launch.
Now kiteboarding is a year-round sport, and with the proper cold weather water suits, you’ll be able to kiteboard on the water until it turns to ice. Then when the snow covers the ice, it really gets fun. Using either a snowboard or skis with my kite will do the trick. Imagine skiing/boarding endless miles of snow without any need for a chairlift ride back to the top of a hill.
Also catching on is stand up paddleboarding. Lake St. Clair is a great spot for this sport. One of the reasons it is catching on so quickly is its simplicity. All you need is a board, paddle and a nearby lake.
Yes! We’ve got it all here on our own local and beautiful Lake St. Clair.
Check out the local St. Clair Shores surf shop (http://www.greatlakessurf.com) which can get you started in any of these fun sports.”