Spring Surfing: What You Need To Know

Spring surfing can be fickle (at best), and we recommend taking advantage of it while you can because May and June are the flattest months of the year in the Great Lakes. Fall, winter, and early spring are usually the most consistent seasons for surfing, as wind-producing weather patterns are more common during these times. Warm south winds dominate the Spring season and struggle to have enough push against the cold water remaining from the winter.

This doesn't mean you can't find good surf during the spring, but it does mean you need the right gear and the willingness to chase wind up and down the coast. The surfing photos seen here are all from current and past springs; as you can see, it can get really fun!



Let’s talk gear. Almost any kind of board can be surfed on the Lakes, though some are more functional than others especially in the Spring. We recommend a good longboard to maximize your wave count during the weaker spring surf; the bigger the board the more volume it has, which makes catching small, weak waves much easier. Also, nothing beats the effortless glide a nice dialed in log can give you! We have a few solid options below:

The TCSS Chief: The whole idea behind our 3rd Coast line of boards is simple: easy to surf, functional surfboards built by the finest craftsmen in the industry, and offered at very reasonable prices. The longboards exemplify this to a tee, as they are great all-around boards that will paddle and catch waves well, surf free and easy, and last with good care. Featuring our Classic Chief logo, this board looks awesome in and out of the water.

Critical Slide Society All-Arounder: With a name like The All Rounder it’s no surprise this surfboard will have a large sweet spot when it comes to catching waves. Essentially, it is designed to be an affordable, user-friendly longboard that’s spec’d appropriately for easy riding with an emphasis on stability, control and smooth turning.

Wetsuits + Accessories

The second piece of the puzzle is having the right wetsuit + accessories to make your sessions count. In general, spring water temps on the Great Lakes are still fairly cold so a hooded 5/4mm or 4/3mm wetsuit with 5mm boots and gloves is a great place to start. A few of our favorites are below:

The O'Neill Ninja 5/4: Stay warm this Winter and Spring no matter how many waves you have to paddle back out through. The O'Neill Women's Ninja 5/4 hooded uses the virtually waterproof double-sealed neck of O'Neill's F.U.Z.E chest zip entry, which, when combined with a hood, keeps the icy water out all session long.

The Xcel Drylock 5mm Bootie: Great Lakes tested and Great Lakes approved. The Xcel Drylock wetsuit series has been used for over a decade in the coldest waters. Made with XCEL's new Celliant Black technology, the XCEL 5mm Drylock Celliant Round Toe Boots feature smart fibers that enhance your body's ability to retain warmth, and even help keep your blood flowing. Easy to put on and contoured to fit your feet, these booties will come in extra handy when the water is getting downright cold.

The O'Neill 5mm Mitten: Stay covered Head-to-Toe in O'Neill's premium lineup of equipment designed to shield you from the harshest conditions. Our world-class athletes search the planet for perfect surf, the R&D team at Area 52 developed product to allow you to perform in the most extreme elements and excel in the coldest climates.

Get the proper board and wetsuit gear and you'll be scoring this spring for sure. See you out there!