Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about surfing the Great Lakes? Visit our Lake Surfing 101 Page.

Our Surfing 101 lesson is a 1.5-hour introductory lesson that includes learning about the equipment, the weather and lake, getting dry land instruction on the beach, and ending with instruction in the water. It’s the perfect way to be introduced to surfing, and we only need tiny waves to do it.

You can find surfers riding waves on the Great Lakes year-round - until the ice keeps us away! For beginners, we suggest learning in the summer or fall.

No, this is an introductory lesson intended for beginners - we're here to help you get started! You may take to surfing more naturally if you are already comfortable in the water, and if you have any experience with skateboarding, skimboarding, and snowboarding.

No, our instructor will provide you with a rental surfboard when you arrive for your lesson. Depending on water temperature, your instructor will also help you with a wetsuit and accessories, if needed.

The Surfing 101 lesson runs 1.5 hours in length. Although we don't offer longer lessons, you are welcome to book a half-day or full-day surfboard rental to get more water time. Click here for information on surfboard rentals.


In the email confirmation, please follow the link to sign the electronic liability waiver. (Parents/guardians need to sign on behalf of minors under age 18.) All participants need to complete the waiver, so please forward the link to everyone included in your reservation.

On the day of your lesson, we recommend you bring what you would normally have at the beach; sunscreen, a comfortable swimsuit, a sweatshirt, hat, and drinking water. For cool/cold conditions, we provide a rental wetsuit (and any needed wetsuit accessories) for your lesson -- your instructor will help you get suited up, if needed, at our shop.


In the days leading up to your lesson, your instructor will closely monitor the forecast to ensure conditions are safe for you to learn to surf. Our Surfing 101 lesson is an introductory lesson that includes learning about the equipment, the weather and lake, getting dry land instruction on the beach, and ending with instruction in the water. We run the lesson regardless of wave height unless there is a chance of storms/lightning. In the event we need to reschedule due to safety concerns, your instructor will work with you to select a new date.

If you've taken Surfing 101 lessons, here are some ways you can dive deeper into surfing the Great Lakes:

Do your research. Get more info on freshwater surfing on our Lake Surfing 101 page.

Know the weather. Visit our forecasting page for the online tools a Great Lakes surfer needs to find waves -- wind maps, wave models, and more. Check back on Mondays and Fridays for our exclusive Lake Michigan surf forecast from surfer and meteorologist Dr. Fresh.

Stay updated. Follow our Instagram and Facebook pages for news on upcoming swell, deals on gear, and more. You can also connect with the lake surfing community by requesting access to the Great Lakes Surf Tribe Facebook group.

Grab a board and get in the water! You can rent a surfboard for the day from us, or check out our in-stock surfboard selection if you're ready to buy a board of your own. Feel free to email us at info@thirdcoastsurfshop.com if you have any questions about which board is right for you.