Muskegon welcomes Great Lakes surfers

Learn to surf or just browse the boards
Advanced surfers will be on hand to give lessons at the Great Lakes Surf Festival on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon. Register for lessons on the website below. Courtesy photo.

Want to give surfing or paddle-boarding a whirl? Accomplished surfers and boarders will show beginners the ropes at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon on Saturday, Aug. 12, 12:30-6 p.m.

Great Lakes Surf Festival takes place at Pere Marquette Beach on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023. Courtesy photo.

“We love sharing and teaching people safely,” said Joe Bidawid, who founded and directs the festival. “Lots of families learn to surf together.” Typically, 120 to 180 people participate in group lessons while experienced “boardheads” browse the 50+ vendors. The dry event includes yoga, a surf rock band called The Tentacles and an auction of 4-foot surfboards embellished with art by fifty local and regional businesses. Auction proceeds go to lighthouse restoration.

“Imagine a late summer day on an amazing beach, doing what you love and surrounded by so many like-minded people from all over the Great Lakes who share the same passion. That’s our goal,“ Bidawid said. Advanced surfers from Hawaii, Alaska, Florida and from other countries have attended, too.

Group surfing lessons for beginners start with 25 minutes of instruction on land, and then 15 minutes in the water. The festival provides the board. The same model applies to shorter paddleboarding lessons. BYO flotation device. If Lake Michigan’s too calm, Tommy’s Boats of Comstock Park will generate waves with boats.

As the event approaches, updates will appear on the festival’s Facebook and Instagram pages. If bad weather is in the forecast for August 12, the festival may take place the night before or the morning after. See the website for admission and lesson prices; family passes are available.

For more information and to register for surf lessons, visit


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