"Surfing's one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what's behind."

Laird Hamilton


Lessons | Excursions | Gear

       Stand up Paddle Surfing originated in the mid 60’s when an aging longboard surfer with knee problems decided to grab a canoe paddle and paddle into a wave. This allowed him to continue surfing without having to struggle with constant knee discomfort that is sometimes caused from prone surfing. It never really caught on until over 30 years later when Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama were at a photo shoot, surfing their 12’ long boards on small waves. Laird asked Dave to grab his canoe paddle so he could paddle into a few waves. After catching a few bumps with this paddle he realized a few things..... not only could he catch the waves earlier, but it was much easier to spot the sets coming in while comfortably standing on the board. The next day Laird had a longer paddle made for himself, not knowing the fastest growing water sport in the world was about to emerge. Laird was asked by other surfers as he was stand up paddle surfing at his local break why he didn't surf anymore but he simply told them "I am surfing". You will likely find tension between prone surfers and stand up surfers at a lineup, but it all comes down to the true love of being on the water and the stoke of catching a wave.

      Stand up Surfing has grown tremendously over the past 10 years with some of the worlds top surfers and waterman standing up for the love of the sport. SUP surfing has evolved into big wave riding too. The sport has taken off and there is no turning back now! SUP it is here to stay.

      You can SUP surf anywhere there are waves. Whether the waves are smaller boat wakes or even freighter waves, paddle surfing is always a blast. The Great Lakes, hands down, have the best fresh water surf in the world. Our waves are wind driven and have even sunk freighters as big as a mind blowing 800 feet. There are over 25,000 shipwrecks recorded since the 1700's in the Great Lakes. It takes big winds and a long fetch of wind to generate waves. Some waves have been recorded over 30 feet tall here on our lakes. Simply said, the Great Lakes region produces incredible waves and great surfers. Typically, the best waves happen in the spring, fall and winter months but with the proper wetsuit, booties, gloves and hood a surfer can withstand temps well below freezing. With over 3,200 miles of coastline there are plenty of sick surf spots to be ridden and yet to be discovered. Many surf spots are undisclosed by locals but there are also well known spots that are ideal for surfing, SUP surfing, kite surfing and wind surfing.

    Are you ready to take your paddleboarding to the next level? Want to ride fresh water surf right here in your own backyard? I have been SUP Surfing the Great Lakes for the past 8 years and have found some of the best learning spots just an hour from the Detroit area.


The first SUP surf lesson covers paddling out, where and how to fall, proper board and paddle position, and how to maintain control of your equipment. Before heading out into the waves, we’ll cover bracing strokes, accelerations, turns, and how to switch to a surf stance from your flat-water paddling stance.


Once a paddler is proficient in the flats, we’ll hit the waves and start punching out and gaining confidence in the surf zone. Paddlers will work on braces, turns, and skills in the ocean swells.

Paddlers can expect to catch a wave in their first lesson, walking away with a better understanding of the water,  and the skills necessary to continue practicing on their own.

Once a paddler is consistently standing, turning, and able to catch waves, we offer lessons for intermediate and advanced SUP surfing. Learn to read waves and catch more of them, start going down the line and turning on the waves. Improve your stance and adjust your position on the board for different waves. Paddle skills and blade articulation are also big parts of SUP surfing when compared to regular surfing, and will be covered in more advanced lessons.

$50 an hour. Includes board, paddle and surf leash.

Lessons are scheduled around the swell. We will give the student a 2 day notice. Start time will typically be 9am.

What you will need:

Full 4/3 or 5/3

3mm gloves

3mm - 5mm booties

3mm-5mm hood

Call the shop at #586 359 6951 and sign up with Brian LeFeve. We can answer any questions you have.

St. Clair Shores Shop


23517 Nine Mack Drive

Suite B

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080



  • Twitter Clean
  • facebook
  • Instagram Clean

© 2019 Great Lakes Surf