In recent years there has been an increasing popularity of lake surfing in North America. Unlike ocean surfers that depend on winds and tides, lake surfers depend solely on strong winds to build up the swells, with the stormy winter months bringing the biggest waves and best surfing conditions.
With increasing temperatures worldwide, there is a long-term trend showing a decrease in ice coverage of the Great Lakes, according to the Great Lakes Environment Research Laboratory. Some of the Great Lakes are not freezing over during the winter months, which is opening up more surfing potential.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, it is estimated that the Great Lakes make up 84 percent of North America’s freshwater and over 20 percent of the world's supply of freshwater. These bodies of water are quickly becoming surfing hotspots during the cold winter months.
Surfers living around the Great Lakes are often glued to wind forecasts and are ready to clear their schedules, drive for hours, squeeze into their 6mm thick neoprene wetsuits to brave frigid air temperatures and near negative water temperatures in hopes of catching a good swell.