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Traverse City: 231-929-3388
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Home > Michigan Surfing Information

SURFING LAKE MICHIGAN

Surrounded by the beautiful Great Lakes on all sides, Michigan is a freshwater surfers dream. From St. Joe and South Haven, up to Holland and Grand Haven, and northward to Frankfort, Leeland and Northport; Michigan's west coast is home to a large number freshwater surf breaks.

SURFBOARD SIZING / BUYING TIPS

When deciding to buy a surfboard for Lake Michigan or other Great Lakes, getting the right size in regards to length, width and thickness is very important for your surfing success. Speaking in general terms, the longer and wider the surfboard the more stability, buoyancy and paddling speed it will have. These factors make the learning process much more enjoyable and will minimize the frustrations of learning. Surfboards that have more flotation are easier to paddle and catch waves with. With the Great Lakes being freshwater, they are slightly less buoyant than saltwater oceans which is just one more reason to be sure your first board has ample flotation to get you surfing your first waves. Depending on a persons weight, a good first surfboard will be in the 7'6" to 9'0" range and as you progress and gain confidence and skill it is possible to get into a smaller surfboard to increase maneuverability. The down side of shorter boards is they are harder to catch waves with as they have less buoyancy. To many though, this is a small price to pay to have the turning ability once on a wave.

LAKE MICHIGAN SURF BREAKS

Ideal surfing conditions on Lake Michigan are created by wind driven lake swell, so the ideal surf location along Lake Michigan's shoreline will hinge on what direction the wind is blowing. On a strong Southwest breeze, the further northward you go up the shoreline the cleaner and bigger the swell will be due to the increased amount of "fetch" there is, i.e. the waves have a longer stretch of open water to increase in size. With a SW wind there are numerous good surf breaks up the shoreline starting with the north side of Holland's pier, the north side of Grand Haven's pier, North Muskegon, Montague and on up to Frankfort and Leeland. Surfing anywhere south of Holland on a SW wind usually will not be that big unless the wind is extremely strong.

Switching directions now: A strong N or NW wind will create the best surf along the southwest shoreline of Michigan. If the wind is strong enough and west enough the larger waves will start around the Muskegon area and will increase in size as you drive south. The south side of Grand Havens pier can produce some nice clean swell, and due to proximity is where we like to surf when we dont have much time to drive somewhere. If we do have time to drive a little while we'll head down to surf the south side of South Haven's pier. That can be an exciting, clean and very big break with the right North wind conditions. If you go much farther south than South Haven on a NW wind usually it will become to onshore and washed out. St. Joe and Northern Indiana also have some great surf breaks if the area is experiencing NNE and NE breezes.

Don't hesitate to drop us a line (ben@wetmitten.com- Grand Haven, john@wetmitten.com- Traverse City) for more info on Michigan surf locations or board sizing questions.


Welcome To Our Store

Welcome to Wet Mitten, we are Michigan's premier surf shop! The Wet Mitten Surf Shop is a locally owned Michigan based company, specializing in stand-up paddle (SUP), surf, kiteboard and skate/longboard gear. A wide variety of rental and lesson services are also available throughout the year.

Our mission is to share our love for the outdoors and water sports in particular through the promotion of stand-up paddle, surf and kiteboarding. Surrounded by a freshwater ocean and home to thousands of inland lakes and rivers, Michigan is a water sport enthusiasts paradise. If you've ever been lucky enough to surf a glassy northwest swell in Grand Haven, kitesurf Little Sable Point on a breezy south wind, stand-up paddle the pristine waters of East or West Bay in Traverse City, brave the chilly waters of Lake Superior to surf the perfect wave, or anything in between, you understand how truly unique and amazing Michigan is. Our goal at the Wet Mitten is to help make those stand-up paddle, kiteboard and surf experiences and adventures accessible to everyone through the gear that we sell and the lessons and rentals that we offer.

We at Wet Mitten Surf Shop invite you to get out on the water and "Explore Michigan's other half"

Now serving two locations:

Grand Haven location 301 N Harbor, suite B-3 Grand Haven, MI 49417 (616) 844-3388

Traverse City location 101 N Park, suite 2-A Traverse City, MI 49684 (231) 929-3388

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