Everyone meet Jameson, the Great Lakes Surf Grom with a serious commitment to surfing freshwater waves and the newest member of our team. Literally growing up on the water, at only 9-years-old, Jameson has conquered over 22 months straight of riding waves and gaining appreciation for our fresh coast.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so adventure has always been in my blood. Before I was even 2 years old, I had been to the top of mountains, waded in wild rivers, hiked through the forests, and even had my first encounter with a grizzly bear.
We moved to Grand Haven, Michigan, where my dad is from, and I quickly took to the water. Within my first year living here, I started learning to surf. My first experiences surfing were when dad would put me on the front of a paddleboard and would hold me by my waist as we rode waves all the way to shore. Once I got big and strong enough, I was able to switch to my own shortboard. That’s when the magic happened, and I was hooked.
People know how stoked I am about surfing. However, I also really like to ski, skateboard, skimboard, and paddleboard. I did try snowboarding at the end of this last season and plan to do that a lot more next winter.
"One really cool thing I have noticed during this time is how many of my friends and other kids have started surfing. I love having more groms out in the water with me to share the stoke. I hope as I get older, more friends will join me. "
What is your favorite place in northern Michigan?
My favorite place in Michigan would have to be any of the many beaches I’ve been to. I’m really lucky to live close to a great little beach in Grand Haven. It’s a quiet beach break that I get to surf all the time. I also love to walk the beach after storms and look for sea glass. Sometimes we even find Petoskey stones.
Why do we need to keep this place special?
It’s important to keep this place special so that people can continue to live and visit for years to come without ruining it for the next person.
Tell us about surfing 22 months in a row on Lake Michigan:
Back in the summer of 2019, when I was 7 years old, I started this streak without even trying. It wasn’t until the middle of the first winter that my parents and I realized that I hadn’t missed a month surfing in Lake Michigan and that I might be able to go a full 12 months straight. So I made that my goal. Well, that first year came and went, and before I knew it the snow was falling again.
I started wondering if I might be able to surf a second winter in Michigan and stretch the streak to two full years! March was 22 months straight, and it’s looking promising to get to 24.
There are a lot of challenges to surfing in the Great Lakes and to keep a streak like this going. The easiest times to surf here are late summer and fall when the water isn’t too cold, and there are more storms. It’s usually not too windy in spring and early summer, so there are not that many waves, and if there are, they are often small and choppy. You can go weeks or longer this time of year without having any ridable waves. Late fall and winter in the Great Lakes are when the waves are the best, but it is really, really cold. So cold that the lakes can even freeze over, blocking our beaches with giant walls of ice. So I have been lucky that at least once every month, my part of Lake Michigan has not been frozen, and there have been waves that I could ride.
*since we've wrote this Jameson has surfed two additional months to bring his total to 24 straight months of surfing!
What do you like about surfing?
Surfing is definitely my happy place, and I feel calm when I am out in the water on my board. There is a sense of excitement, kind of like the night before Christmas; sometimes I get nervous or maybe even a little scared when I am out in big waves. But when you pop up on a great wave, shoot down the face, linking turns together, it’s the most amazing feeling in the world! Unlike ocean surfers, lake surfers don’t get to have these experiences nearly as often. When we do, the conditions aren’t anywhere as good. So far, I have only surfed on our side of Lake Michigan. I plan to surf more areas in northern Michigan and eventually the rest of the Great Lakes.
There is one really great thing about being a Great Lakes surfer that not too many other places can do, and that is to enjoy both surfing and snow sports on the same day! When the weather and conditions are just right, I have even been able to do other sports back to back, like paddleboarding, skateboarding, and skimboarding.
Over the last few years, I have had a ton of great support and encouragement from both the local Great Lakes surf community and other surfers across North America. With the help and inspiration from all my new surfing friends, I continue to keep pushing myself to get better and better. Right now, I am really working hard at learning to snap off the lip and throw a big spray, but I would really love to get good enough to do airs like my favorite professional surfers. My dream is to one day be on the WSL tour (World Surf League) and show everyone that you don’t have to have great waves to surf, just a love for the sport.
We are stoked to have you on the M22 Team! Keep loving what you do and sharing that stoke!
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