Great Lakes Surfing Association

GLSA Projects

GLSA Beach & Pier Safety Projects      History of Great Lakes History Project     

Ken Cheeze-Kurls Smith's GLSA RESCUE ski and sled.

   When the GLSA was formed back in 1964 its original project was to reach out to other surfers on the lakes and form common surfing bonds, friendships, communication and participation.  That early goal was more than accomplished and carried on over the years by successive GLSA leadership  and by the ESA Great Lakes District as well.

   In more recent years the use of the regional Internet surf forums like, and others have fulfilled the original goal for a Great Lakes surfing brotherhood beyond what the GLSA founders could ever have imagined. 

   The original GLSA was successful because in the mid-sixties, when surfing became popularized on the lakes, there was a very real need for it to exist.  People were beginning to surf all over the lakes in small groups separated by considerable distance, in many cases not even knowing of each other's existence.   Once the bonds between these various groups were formed and perpetuated, the need for the GLSA's original purpose lessened.

   Today however, new and pressing needs have risen among the Great Lakes surfing tribes, the first of which is the burgeoning problem of swimmers being lost in the deadly rip and the loss of life off our piers.  Even though historically surfers have a very proud reputation for saving lives on the lakes and participation directly with local, state, federal and independent safety programs, their valuable safety presence on the beaches and piers is being threatened by short-sighted and ambiguous proposed laws.  Others surfers have a genuine concern for the people who share our beaches and piers.  For most lake surfers it is a combination of both.

   The other major concern which may grow to rather alarming proportions in the not-to-distant future is the likelihood of a vastly increased surfing population affecting many of the better surf spots on the lakes.  As the crowds grow the original surfers who pioneered many of these spots, worked out agreements or arrangements with adjoining property owners or local community officials, will be lost in the crowd so to speak.

   It is important to establish a sort of 'who's who' and 'what's what' guide for all of these new additions to our freshwater surfing families.   Such a project of historical gathering and presentation would be appreciated by the vets as well as the newcomers.  Also, many of the sixties surfers are approaching that age when they may be taking their last rides on waves and life as well.  When they are gone, much of what they remember, collected or recorded could be relegated to the trash bins by uncaring relatives and probate judges.

   Top priority now is the pier safety issue, so please follow link to that project:

GLSA Beach & Pier Safety Projects                            GLSA Home Page