Man vs. Nature

Winter wave warriors of the South Shore

Photographs by Michael Schaeffer

Biting winds and frigid water temperatures are no match for the passion of winter surfers. Here on the South Shore, the best waves usually occur during the winter months and when the conditions are right, a die-hard crew of wave warriors comes out of hibernation.

“I absolutely love the surreal experience of sitting out there on my board on a snowy day with just a couple of my friends,” says Norwell resident Michael Schaeffer whose dramatic photographs capture the essence of this dramatic sport. “It’s actually not that unpleasant until you get closer to the frostbite danger zone. We go out when the air is 15 degrees and the water temperature is 34 degrees. In those conditions it starts getting a bit nippy after an hour.”

An avid sports enthusiast who has traveled all over the world working as a designer, creative director, and design executive in the athletic apparel industry, Schaeffer still likes to surf locally, often heading to Hull or Scituate to catch waves because, “You can’t beat a 3-minute drive to a break.”

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