The USA's "Third Coast" has been surfed regularly since the 1960s. October to April is prime surfing season peaking during autumn or fall. With 10,900 miles of coastline, it's the sheer size of the great lakes which makes them surfable and non-locals are often surprised and shocked to hear it can get so good. Hiding numerous beach and pointbreaks this coastline will on it's day provide excellent conditions. The wind options along this vast coastline are also more varied than might be imagined, offshores are rare and will quickly blow the surf flat, but inlets, angled beaches and leeward sides of jetties are common. Throughout the region surfing is becoming increasingly popular. Chicago in particular has an active population of surfers numbering in the hundreds despite the fact surfing is banned on the city's beaches. With only a limited fetch swells will only be of a short period and longer boards are generally the sticks of choice. Also the comparative lack of buoyancy within fresh water necessitates increased volume. Summers are warm with water temperatures peaking at 80ÂºF/27ÂºC dropping to 32ÂºF/0ÂºC, or quite simply freezing point. Superior, Huron and Erie have completely frozen over in modern history but complete ice coverage is rare. Floating blocks of ice are an additional hazard to the hardened winter surfer. N.B. Our Great Lakes data only contains swell information for the next three days. For an idea of likely swells after this check out our wind charts.
These are either live cameras and video or a daily photo taken by a surfer. The former has the advantage of being up to the minute, the later is more likely to be taken to accurately reflect the current conditions - streaming video cams give the best of both worlds. Check the update date carefully.