The Third Coast
Though it is believed that Great Lakes breakers were first surfed nearly a century ago, and possibly much earlier by native peoples, the first significant wave of participants arrived in the 1960s. The California surf craze was leaking into Middle America, and small surfing communities sprouted across the Great Lakes. Slowly but surely surfing spread throughout the region, and today surfing on the "Third Coast" is more popular than ever!
The sheer size of the Great Lakes is what makes surfing on them possible. Containing six quadrillion gallons of water and more than 10,900 miles of shoreline, the Great Lakes are the largest fresh water system on earth and have more coastline than the East and West coasts combined! Furthermore, while ocean waves are created by distant storm systems, waves on the Great Lakes are formed by localized winds. Thanks to ongoing improvements in wetsuit technology, surfers are now able to comfortably ride lake waves year-round, including in winter!