We are easing back into lessons slowly at this time as we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students, family, and community. We have restricted our offerings which will encourage a much more intimate, in-depth experience and teaching environment for our students. We will be using the guidelines set in place by the state of Michigan and the Benzie- Leelanau District Health Department as a framework, and will continue to operate at the comfort level of our instructors and staff.

Please read our Terms & Conditions prior to signing up to join us.



Learn to surf on Lake Michigan in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with our extremely experienced surf instructors. Our 1.5 hour surfing lessons begin by squatting in the sand as you learn about the science behind Great Lakes surfing, safety, surf etiquette, the fundamentals of a pop-up, proper stance and techniques for getting in & out of the water and through the surf safely and efficiently. All students will practice paddling and popping up on shore before entering the water. Throughout the rest of the lesson, our highly knowledgeable surf instructors will do everything they can to get you up on your board, and surfing down the line of a freshwater wave.

Group lessons will operate Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00am to 10:30am. We will meet you with all necessary equipment including board, leash and wetsuit (if you have reserved and paid for a wetsuit for an additional $20) at the Empire Public Beach Lighthouse 10 minutes before your reserved lesson time. Our lessons will begin promptly at 9:00am. Group lesson sizes will be restricted to a maximum of 8 students at an instructor to student ratio of 1:4. Please inquire directly if you have a group or camp of over 8 people and we will do our best to accommodate you.

We can not guarantee perfect surf every day on the Great Lakes, therefore it is likely that your lesson is held on flat water! Fear not, we prefer it this way! A calm lake provides perfect conditions for an introductory surf lesson so that you can dial in your foundational skills before being overwhelmed by more extreme conditions.

Want a closed lesson for your group alone? If you would like to just have your Covid-pod in the lesson, you may book out a lesson block at a private lesson rate. Call to schedule.

Or are you itching to get an advanced lesson? Reach out directly if you have more experience under your belt and are looking for a more advanced lesson and want to increase your chances of having a wave, and we will forecast the proper day for your lesson. A good skunking is still always possible, so please be patient and prepared for whatever Lake Michigan provides that day.

Surf Lesson

Terms & Conditions:

Cancellation Policy: If you must cancel, you may receive a refund up to 24 hours in advance of your reservation. If you do not cancel 24 hours in advance or do not show up for your lesson there will be no refunds. We are sorry, but we cannot make exceptions as we are doing our best to accommodate all individuals eager to join a lesson. We reserve the right to cancel or reschedule the lesson if we feel that the safety of our students is at risk. Great Lakes surf lessons are canceled by SBSK only if there is thunder, lightening, unmanageable surf, if an instructor falls sick, or if the group lesson block does not meet the required minimum of three people in the lesson. If you are the sole individual who has signed up, you will be given the opportunity to reschedule or upgrade your lesson to a private or semi-private lesson.

What we are doing to minimize the spread of Covid-19: 

  • Minimizing group size in our surf lessons, classes, and camps
  • Wearing face masks when in the shop, or  interacting with our students when social distancing may be difficult
  • Strongly enforcing social distancing during all group lessons, classes, and camps
  • Sanitizing all equipment between uses
  • Washing down and letting wetsuits hang for a minimum of 24 hours between uses
  • Requiring online booking and preregistration for all rentals and services

What we are asking of you before engaging with us : 

  • Stay at home if you are feeling sick, even in the slightest
  • Stay away from shop and do not attend lessons, classes, or camps if you have been in close contact to someone with Covid-19 within the last 14 days
  • Wear a face mask when coming into our shop, engaging with our staff pre and post activity, and during instances outdoors where social distancing may be difficult
  • Minimize person-to-person contact (we typically love hugs and high fives, but not this year)
  • Step away to sneeze or cough and do so into your elbow, shirt, or tissue if you have the urge

Tolerance Policy:

Sleeping Bear Surf has a zero-tolerance policy for any and all discrimination based on age, gender, sexuality, mental or physical disability, body type, race, religion or political belief.

We also have zero-tolerance for customers who disrespect our instructors, staff, or fellow customers in regard to Covid-19 precautions and whom refuse to follow our simple Covid-19 guidelines.