Inaugural Great Lakes Surf Festival checked off all its goals and more


By Cynthia Price

Whether it was to bring people from a variety of places together for a great time on a wonderful summer day; to teach novices how to do board sports and experts how to improve; to celebrate and help people learn about the rich history of surfing and related water sports in the Great Lakes; or to get a new group of athletes enthused about surfing – last Saturday’s Great Lakes Surf Festival accomplished all its goals.

Event creator Joe Bidawid, assisted by his wife Tammy, organized a festival that went smoothly and met or exceeded all expectations. Participants leaving the festival were enthusiastic about their experience there. 

Bidawid himself is a surfing, windsurfing and Stand Up Paddling expert, whose love of the Great Lakes has led him to introduce some board sports here himself.

The couple both said they were very pleased with how it turned out.

Though it was separate from the festival, there was a Pro Am Paddle Race with a number of divisions. People who competed in that race were allowed in to the festival free.

A small group also took advantage of camping on the beach at beautiful Pere Marquette.