As the surfing and watersports industry continues to grow on America’s fresh coast, we’ve had our eyes on an up-and-coming shop in our very own backyard. Meet the Glen Lake Surf Company: a new board shop creating custom wakesurf boards off everyone’s favorite highway in the heart of Glen Lake. Known for its crystal clear water that gives the Caribbean a run for its money, there's a reason watersport enthusiasts flock to this small inland paradise.
Caleb Greene, founder of Glen Lake Surf Company, knows this best. GLSC opened shop in June 2020 when Greene began shaping boards in his garage. We sat down with Greene to discuss what inspired him to turn his passion into a booming small business.
“Glen Lake Surf Co. came from a spontaneous conversation with a friend on Glen Lake,” Greene said. “We were brainstorming ‘million-dollar ideas’, and I threw out the idea of custom surfboards. I had just finished my senior year of high school, and I had learned how to build surfboards in my woodshop class. I loved the process and saw that I could create value for people around Glen Lake. From there, the company was born.”
While there are several board shops in northern Michigan, what makes GLSC truly stand out is that each board is handcrafted by locals, for locals.
“The two main differences are quality and customizability. Each board is handcrafted from start to finish to ensure perfection in every step. Their construction makes them stronger than any standard mass-produced board due to the wood core, fiberglass layer, and epoxy resin exterior coating. Every board is completely unique and customized to what our customers want, from board style to the artistic design. Our goal is to make our customer’s visions a reality,” Greene explained.
"The beauty of Glen Lake inspired us to start our company—we wanted more people to enjoy the beautiful water. Surfing wouldn’t be possible without its pure water, and we wanted to give back to the lake that serves us daily."
Greene works alongside his former high school teacher and mentor, Richard Butcher, to individually create each board for wakesurfing enthusiasts around the area. His brother and sister are also highly involved, making the company a thriving family affair.
“From the start of the company in 2020, my siblings were helping out,” Greene said. “Olivia, my sister, tackled the social media marketing and content creation side of the business. Landin, my brother, assisted in the production side and continues to take on more responsibilities within the logistical side of the company. Richard added his crafting expertise when he officially joined the team in 2021; however, he was a proud supporter from the beginning.”
Caleb (center) with his siblings, Olivia and Landin
Greene attributes his love of his local lake as the main driving force behind GLSC. The company donates 1% of sales to the Glen Lake Association, something Greene takes well-deserved pride in.
“The beauty of Glen Lake inspired us to start our company—we wanted more people to enjoy the beautiful water. Surfing wouldn’t be possible without its pure water, and we wanted to give back to the lake that serves us daily. Glen Lake Association protects and keeps the lake clean, so it is our privilege to assist in these efforts to keep Glen Lake crystal clear,” he said.
As for the future of GLSC, Greene says he hopes to collaborate with another local creative on a custom board. “My dream collaboration would be with a local artist. I would love a painting of a northern Michigan landscape put on a board. It would be a beautiful display in a home and an awesome board to surf.”
Photos: Caleb Greene @glenlakesurfco