This is What Surfing in the Great Lakes is Actually Like

Growing up in Chicago and going to the various Beaches during the Summertime you would never think of surfing. Only good music and Hot Ladies, But guess what, there’s always a first. The Great Lakes has some of the roughest waves in the world. Riptides and under currents are more deadly than the mighty waves of the Pacific Ocean. The story below gives in detail of a trailblazer and his surfboard.

Franklin White

Story courtesy of Eugene Buchanan Photo by Andru00e9s Garcu00eda on

When you think about the ideal surfing conditions, what pops into your mind? If we were to fathom a guess, we’d imagine you’re having visions of palm trees, white sand beaches, blue skies, warm water, and peeling A-frame waves. What you probably didn’t envision was a stormy lake with freezing temperatures, high winds, brown water and ultra-sloppy conditions. But for many hearty mid-westerners, those conditions translate into a great day for surfing on the mighty Great Lakes.

So who better to tell the story of Great Lakes surf culture than Ben Gravy––a man who has officially ridden a wave in all 50 states. Born in Pennsylvania, Gravy has made a name for himself online by surfing literally any wave, any place, at any time. But for Gravy, surfing the Great Lakes isn’t simply another novelty wave to check off his list; they represent something much greater.

Gravy explores what the surf culture is like in the Great Lakes area. As you’ll see, the ultra-challenging conditions seem to lead to a greater appreciation for surf––a fact that is evident in the attitudes of the local surfers. Or as Gravy so aptly puts it, “From the frozen beaches of Lake Michigan to the big open faces of Lake Erie, the classic local surfers on Lake Superior to the big surf on Lake Ontario, this is what it’s all about!”

Photo by Sean Manning on

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