When thoughts turn to surfing, the general public easily envisions the rolling and thunderous waves of Hawaii and California.

But the exciting water sport actually has a strong culture in the Region and throughout Chicagoland.

Filmmaker Pat Noyes is intent on letting people know that the surf is definitely up in Northwest Indiana.

Noyes is the man behind the documentary film "Southend: The Place Where I Go Surfing," which sheds light on the surfing scene throughout the Southern Lake Michigan area.

The film was originally screened at the Wilmette Theatre in July and this month Region residents will have the opportunity to see it in Hammond and Michigan City.

"Southend: The Place Where I Go Surfing" will be screened Sept. 14 at The Towle Theater in Hammond and on Sept. 22 at Fire and Water At Washington Park in Michigan City.

"I feel really good about the fact the movie will be shown in Northwest Indiana,"said Noyes. "I hope people will find a way to connect with it somehow and I hope it will make them happy about where they're from," he said. The filmmaker also wants to bring awareness to the fact that the surfing culture surely exists in the area.

During a reception and short program at the Wilmette screening, Noyes told audience members about his passion for the surfing sport and also introduced many members of the regional surfing community who appeared in the film.

"Basically, (my love) of surfing inspired me to do the film," he said, adding getting to know the fellow surfers and about their lives, through the years, was also a great inspiration.

Noyes, who has been surfing for a decade, said he was attracted to the excitement of the sport as well as the overall lifestyle of surfers.

He originally learned to surf in Hawaii while taking lessons during a trip to the islands. A college friend, who was from Holland, Michigan, later told him there was a surfing culture in the Southend and Noyes began to explore it.

"The first time I came to the Region to surf, I went to Hammond," he said, adding he surfed at The Shoe, which is near the Horseshoe Casino. Other popular areas in NWI where surfers take to the waves include Whihala Beach in Whiting; Michigan City Pier; The Whiting Public Park; Portage Lakefront and River Walk; and Michigan City Breakwall.

Film viewers meet a variety of surfers or what Noyes calls the "hearty souls" who are part of the local surf scene, in his movie.

At the Indiana showings of the film, audience members will also have the opportunity to meet the filmmaker as well as others who are featured in the movie. During the July screening, a number of surfers attended including Steve Arnam, Tommy Shimenetto, Jack Flynn, Bernie Konrady, Terry Richardson and others.

Konrady, a surfer for 20 years, said there's a "core" group of dedicated surfers in Northwest Indiana. "I'm honored to be a participant in this film," Konrady said, during a past interview.

Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project offered some advice and tips during his portion of the program which focused on avoiding accidents and incidents while surfing Lake Michigan. Benjamin, a surfer who had an accident which almost cost him his life, is now dedicated to delivering much needed information about safety in surfing. At the Indiana film showings, The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project will also have a presence.

An art exhibit inspired by surfing will accompany the film screenings as it did at The Wilmette Theatre. The exhibit, curated by Younsoo Flynn, in July, featured works by Mike Killion, Jack Flynn, Jason Lukas and Frank Dudley. Some of those artists and additional ones are expected to be a part of the Northwest Indiana events.

FYI: Screenings of "Southend: The Place Where I Go Surfing" will be Sept. 14 at The Towle Theater, 5205 Hohman Ave., Hammond and Sept. 22 at Fire and Water at Washington Park in Michigan City. A reception starts at 5:30 both days with film at 6 p.m. and a Q & A at 7:10 p.m. For more information on the event and to make a reservation (reservations are free) call the One Region office at 219-933-3300.


Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.