When you think about the ideal surfing conditions, what pops into your mind? If we were to fathom a guess, we’d imagine you’re having visions of palm trees, white sand beaches, blue skies, warm water, and peeling A-frame waves. What you probably didn’t envision was a stormy lake with freezing temperatures, high winds, brown water and ultra-sloppy conditions. But for many hearty mid-westerners, those conditions translate into a great day for surfing on the mighty Great Lakes.
So who better to tell the story of Great Lakes surf culture than Ben Gravy––a man who has officially ridden a wave in all 50 states. Born in Pennsylvania, Gravy has made a name for himself online by surfing literally any wave, any place, at any time. But for Gravy, surfing the Great Lakes isn’t simply another novelty wave to check off his list; they represent something much greater.
In this video, Gravy explores what the surf culture is like in the Great Lakes area. As you’ll see, the ultra-challenging conditions seem to lead to a greater appreciation for surf––a fact that is evident in the attitudes of the local surfers. Or as Gravy so aptly puts it, “From the frozen beaches of Lake Michigan to the big open faces of Lake Erie, the classic local surfers on Lake Superior to the big surf on Lake Ontario, this is what it’s all about!”
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