There's a brand-new surf festival making its debut this weekend, but it's probably not where you'd think.

This Saturday, August 18, the Great Lakes Surf Festival is bringing surf, SUP and yoga to the lakeshores of Muskegon, Michigan. This exciting grassroots effort has been spearheaded by one of the area's most influential watermen, Joe Bidawid.

As a former professional windsurfer and a pioneer in bringing both kiteboarding and SUP to the Great Lakes area, Bidawid aims to celebrate the area's rich surf culture, get people on the water and infuse new passion into the local watersports community.

There’s bumps to be had on the Lake Michigan right now, but locals like J-Bird told us it can get overhead at times. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

For some of us on the right and left coasts, a surf festival on the Great Lakes may sound like something new. However, there's a proud history of prior surf festivals in the area –Dairyland Surf Classic, King of the Great Lakes, etc. — events that Bidawid hopes to build on with this latest iteration.

While some surf festivals are hyper-focused on the competition side, the GLSF will shift its attention to ensuring that all of its participants have fun and get the opportunity to try out new water sports in a safe, family-friendly atmosphere.

Activities will include a smorgasbord of lessons for SUP, surf, kite, and kayak. Not to mention, there will be on-land yoga classes, live music and even a few eclectic offerings such as ukulele and hula dance workshops.

Fun for everyone. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

For those with the competitive itch, the GLSF also features SUP and kayak races throughout the day, culminating with a Pro-Am paddle race to be run as a five-mile downwinder.

It's expected to be a great event and SUP Magazine will be in Muskegon to cover (and participate) this exciting inaugural festival. Stay tuned for more coverage and make sure to follow us on Instagram for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the Great Lakes Surf Festival.


More info about the Great Lakes Surf Festival.