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Shop Talk: Jake and Alaina Bresette of Lake Effect Surf Shop


July 2018

Every day, Jake Bresette gets the weather report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and posts Lake Michigan water conditions on the front door of Lake Effect Surf Shop. Bresette’s shop partner is his wife, Alaina, who is also an outdoor sports fan. The couple has a baby girl, Rory.

“Living in Madison, we decided the drive to Lake Michigan was too long and the shop was born,” Bresette says of the shop’s creation. Lake Effect is located in an appealing block of vintage buildings situated between Oakland Avenue and Atwater School.

A variety of attire and gear is for sale in Bresette’s colorful, well-stocked shop. The big, pastel surf boards (think 9 feet plus) standing upright against one wall are jaw-droppers. Boogie and paddleboards are hung from another wall. For those who prefer dry land, colorful skateboards are also displayed looking like modern art. 

Anyone coming into Lake Effect Surf Shop can trust Bresette’s advice, as he notes, “I won’t sell what I’ve never used. This is the advantage small shop owners have. We can give really good advice. Customers learn they can trust us.”

What’s a surf shop doing in Shorewood?

We are filling a need for the growing number of surfers taking advantage of Lake Michigan beaches almost all year round. Midwest surfers have good values and friendly vibes.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a surfer that runs a business.

Tell us about your wildly funny store logo.

That would be the profile of a cow on a surf board. We have caps and T-shirts with it. People love those for out-of-state gifts.

How do local surfers greet each other?

We hope they say “Wiloha”; that’s short for “Wisconsin aloha!”

What kinds of music do surfers listen to these days?

The Beach Boys are getting a little creaky. Popular groups now are Diiv, Beach Fossils and Quilt.

How much does a surf board cost?

We have longboards that cost over $1,000, like a Migration Crane, to smaller boards in the $500 range. The price for gear varies, like the wetsuits, caps, gloves and socks.

What is the big black hooded poncho that looks like Darth Vader’s bathrobe?

Surfers are cold when they get out of Lake Michigan so that really warms them up. Plus, it can double as a changing room when they are out on a wild beach somewhere.

Visit Lake Effect Surf Shop:
1926 E. Capitol Drive, Shorewood |


This story ran in the July 2018 issue of: