Great Lakes Now Presents

Episode 2203: Surf and Slide

Sailing on ice, Lake Ontario winter surfing and three Lake Michigan news stories.


Surf and Slide – Episode 2203


Head out for some ice boating with Host Ward Detwiler and then go winter surfing with the all-female Lake Surfistas. Plus get caught up on news about the lakes you love with our new monthly feature “The Catch.”






Explore this month’s hands-on lesson plans designed to help your middle schoolers understand the Great Lakes — all at home or in the classroom. They’re aligned to education standards AND free to download.

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Premieres on DPTV

Wednesday, March 30, at 7:30 PM


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In the Month of March on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 2203.

Ice boaters slide across Walled Lake.

Watch The Feature

Ice Boating

SEGMENT 1 | Walled Lake and Clinton Township, Michigan

There’s a group of sailors around the Great Lakes who aren’t willing to put their sails away when winter weather hits. When the lakes freeze, they trade their sailboats for ice boats.

Ron Sherry is the most accomplished ice boat racer in the world, and he calls the Great Lakes home. He’s a 5-time world champion in his racing class, a 14-time North American Champion and an 8-time ice boat world champion title holder. He has raced at breakneck speeds on frozen surfaces all across the globe.

“In Finland one year I got clocked at 143 kilometers an hour, which is like 94 miles an hour,” he said.

But Ron’s passion for ice boating goes beyond racing. He doesn’t just race the boats, he builds them.

Great Lakes Now Host Ward Detwiler got the chance to visit Ron’s workshop and learn how he’s building boats that will help other sailors hit high speeds on the ice.

Ward is also an award-winning sailor who always wanted to test his sailing skills on the ice, and in this episode of “Great Lakes Now,” he finally gets the chance. Ride along as Ward takes his first run on an ice boat and races against a group of ice boaters who are preparing for U.S. Nationals.


Here is other Great Lakes Now work on Great Lakes sailing: 

Sarah Douglas: From Lake Ontario to the Tokyo Olympics

Superior Crossing: Sailing across the biggest, deepest and coldest Great Lake

Robin Pacquing of Lake Surfistas heads out to surf the waves of Lake Ontario.

Watch The Feature

Lake Surfistas

SEGMENT 2 | Humber River, Lake Ontario, Oshawa, Ontario

Think surfing and you probably picture Hawaii or the California coast. But you can surf the Great Lakes too. In fact, there’s a small, dedicated group of women doing just that. They’re called the Lake Surfistas.  

One of its founders is Oshawa, Ontario native Robin Pacquing, who learned to surf while on vacation in Hawaii. When she returned home, she found out she could surf right outside her door — on the waters of Lake Ontario. While trying out spots all around the Great Lakes, she met other women just as dedicated to the sport as she is.

Pacquing describes herself as obsessed with surfing the Great Lakes, where waves can get as high as 8 feet and the best surf happens in the fall and winter. 


Here is other Great Lakes Now work on surfing: 

Surfing the Great Lakes: ‘What? People do that here?’

Surfing the Great Lakes: Want to know where to start?

Great Lakes surfers to Michigan: Don’t close beaches during rough waves

The shoreline at Indiana Dunes National Park.

Watch The Feature

The Catch

SEGMENT 3 | Benton Harbor, MI; Indiana Dunes National Park; Interlochen, MI

Keep up with the Great Lakes’ biggest issues. Find out how environmental challenges are impacting your enjoyment of the outdoors and the health of the ecosystem. Go beyond the headlines with reporters from around the region.

This new segment – The Catch – in our award-winning PBS program will keep you in the know. This month, a roundup of news stories related to Lake Michigan:

Leonard Fleming of The Detroit News discusses the latest developments around efforts to address the ongoing water issues in Benton Harbor through costly pipe replacements throughout the west Michigan community, which sits along the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Joseph S. Pete of the Times of Northwest Indiana has been following the inward migration of Mount Baldy, a massive dune at Indiana Dunes National Park, which sits at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Pete talks about what park officials are doing to try to meet the challenges posed by the dune’s movement into a nearby parking lot. 

Dan Wanschura of Interlochen Public Radio discusses the station’s latest season of the Points North podcast: a series called “[Un]Natural Selection” that includes multiple stories about the relationship between human resource management and the natural world. Topics include shoreline hardening, dam removal and the bioethical implications of genetically modified lake trout. 


Here is other Great Lakes Now work on issues reported in this month’s “The Catch”: 

The Catch: Benton Harbor, Indiana Dunes National Park, shoreline armoring

Q&A: New EPA Great Lakes administrator talks Benton Harbor, infrastructure, AOC cleanup

Spike Sustained: As COVID-19 policies relax, park attendance (mostly) remains strong

Genetic Engineering: Researchers take first steps toward controlling sea lamprey

Videos from Episode 2201
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Previous Episodes

Featured Articles

New Michigan law requires homeowners associations to allow rooftop solar
- by Interlochen Public Radio

Supporters say it’s a step toward making rooftop solar and other energy efficiency measures more accessible to many in Michigan who belong to an HOA.

What is a liquid? Utilities sue to avoid coal ash cleanup — and lose
- by Grist

With the definition resolved, will the EPA come for polluting coal plants?

As climate change alters lakes, tribes and conservationists fight for the future of spearfishing
- by The Associated Press

As a result of warming waters, walleye numbers in some lakes are dwindling. Losing the species would mean losing a food source for community members, and a deep connection to tradition and nature.

Digital Credits
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.