Who says you need an ocean to host a major surf festival?

This August, the Great Lakes Surf Festival will be hitting the shores of Muskegon, Michigan for its inaugural event. Thousands of standup paddlers, surfers, kiteboarders, kayakers, windsurfers, artists and yogis are expected to flock to Pere Marquette Beach on August 18, for the massive watersports celebration.

The event is the brain child of Michigan resident Joe Bidawid. Bidawid is one of the most influential and recognizable Great Lakes water athletes. An accomplished waterman, Bidawid is credited with pioneering both kiteboarding and standup paddling on the Great Lakes and is also an accomplished surfer.

"Imagine a late summer day on an amazing beach, doing what you love and surrounded by so many people from all over the Great Lakes, who share the same passion,” said Bidawid. “That is our goal."

The festival is intended to provide a fun and activity-filled day for riders of all disciplines but will also welcome any beginners who aspire to learn. And that’s not just talk, novices will be able to access numerous workshops, free lessons, and product demos that will help them explore new sports for free. Muskegon's Pere Marquette Beach is already home to a large board riding community and provides the varied water conditions that can accommodate the different sports.

Festival organizers will also attempt to break a SUP world record by having one thousand standup paddlers on the water at the same time. Other water activities will focus on fun for all ages and a safe family atmosphere.

For those with a competitive itch, SUP races are planned throughout the day for riders of all age groups. But for those looking to find some zen, SUP yoga will also be on the agenda.

While this event promises to be a board rider's nirvana, one of the most appealing aspects of participating in this festival will be the opportunity to camp directly on the beach, just a few steps from the water. Tent camping, at a specified section of Pere Marquette Beach, will be available for the nights of Friday, August 17th and Saturday, August 18th.

Festival-goers will also get to check out the hottest new products, as both regional sports retail shops and major industry brands are expected to participate. Registered participants will be eligible for free product raffles, including a variety of boards, clothing and a variety of sports-related accessories.

Riders and visitors are encouraged to register at GreatLakesSurfFestival.com.

Connect with us @GreatLakesSurfFestival.