Community Spotlight: Glen Walsh

Community Spotlight: Glen Walsh

Glen Walsh – also known as Glenice Venice for his daily Venice Beach surf reports on Instagram and TikTok – has a vibrant personality that shines through his social media posts and Zoom screen alike. He swirls the ice around in his Groundwork cold brew (with a touch of oat milk and cinnamon) as he recaps the surf report of that day in June:

“It was 2-to-4 foot surf with really glassy conditions. We have a mixed swell right now of a southwest and a northwest, making for the set waves here to be really west. This isn't the ideal angle so we're getting a lot of walls today. In good news, the water temperature's heading up to 64 degrees and there's a lot of stingrays out there and somebody caught a massive bass fish off the pier.” 

Glen has been a surf reporter on Instagram for 11 years. For two years before that, he sent surf updates in group texts to encourage his friends to join him. 

“Everyone would ask me when I'm walking the dog in the morning, what are the waves like?” Glen tells me. 

Even now that the Surfline cam has come to Venice, Glen is still many surfers’ go-to source for his high-spirited commentary and local insights. 

Born for the beach 

Glen was born and raised in Santa Monica on Ocean Park Ave. While living in Santa Monica, Glen’s go-to coffee shop was Groundwork on Rose Ave. for its kind, genuine baristas and locals and its smooth, flavorful coffee. At age 38, he moved to a beachfront apartment in Venice, where he still lives 17 years later. 

“I have a great dog and a wonderful community of people around me and I can't see myself living anywhere else now,” he says. 

His pride in his community is apparent, as is his gratitude for being able to stay in his hometown. 

“My mom has baby pictures of me in a baby seat at the beach with the Santa Monica Twin Towers behind me and I'm looking at the ocean. I've always been obsessed with the ocean,” he laughs. 

Glen started boogie boarding at 4 years old when his mom brought him and his sister to Santa Monica Beach. 

“She thought that the beach was the cheapest form of daycare,” Glen laughs. “She could lie out and let her kids run wild.” 

Glen leveled up to surfing in junior high school:

“I was discovering that I was into boys and I had a crush on this surfer guy,” Glen explains. “One day he said to me, ‘What are you riding that boogie board for? You should be surfing.’ And then of course I went home and told my mom I wanted a surfboard.” 

Since then, Glen has surfed most days for the last three decades. 


Glen stands on stage in front of a screen showing "OUT in the lineup) speaking into a microphone


Celebrating his LGBTQ+ community through film 

After a morning of surfing, Glen dives into his many creative passions and activism. At center stage is a project that began with the 2014 documentary film OUT in the line-up. Glen was co-producer and Music Supervisor for the film, which features stories of gay surfers around the world. The film’s goal of bringing the LGBTQ+ experience in surf culture to light was spurred by the lack of LGBTQ+ community and representation that surfers like Glen had experienced. 

OUT in the line-up won a half dozen awards at film festivals over the years. This year, the film crew hosted a 10th-anniversary screening at the Dana Point Film Festival. Soon after, the Venice Surf Association hosted another screening along with a panel of local LGBTQ+ surfers who shared their experiences with coming out and the evolution of surf culture. 

As the documentary explains, many recreational and professional surfers weren’t out for most of their careers due to stigma and fear of losing sponsorship deals. In the past decade, many pro surfers have come out and diversity in the sport in general is gaining greater representation and celebration.

“It was really moving and groundbreaking,” Glen says about the Venice Surf Association screening and its large turnout of gay and straight allies. “I'm so stoked and grateful for the experience.” 

Both pro and local surf cultures have progressed significantly since the film came out. 

“There's a lot more acceptance and diversity,” Glen says – diversity in sexuality, race, and gender alike. Top surfers in the world are out, proud, and supported by their community. Despite this shift, international acceptance and celebration of diversity has a long way to go, Glen says. In some countries more than others, Glen’s surf friends tell him that national surf culture is still rife with stigma that prevents most LGBTQ+ surfers from coming out.   

Glen aims to produce a sequel to OUT in the line-up in the next year. It will document the future generation of surfing by telling the stories of young queer surfers around the world.

“There's so many queer surf clubs now where people who identify as queer, trans, non-binary can come surf and surf in a safe space with other like-minded people who are accepting or like them,” Glen says. He wants to showcase and push this movement forward globally. 

Leading by example for his fellow Venetians

Glen isn’t only Glenice Venice the surf reporter, but the DJ, house decorator, surf teacher, mobile notary, and AirBnb and Turo renter. He’s at his best when helping and curating experiences for Venetians and tourists alike. 

“I like to create,” he says. “It keeps me inspired and keeps me young.”

Glen has been DJing for 20 years across the Westside and has a residency at the Venice dive bar El Chucho, where he spins disco, house, funk, and soul. 

Whatever he’s creating, Glen’s work fosters community and authenticity; he’s always looking for ways to bring people together on the dance floor or at the beach in celebration of their differences. 

“People who are comfortable with themselves are kind and compassionate with others,” he says. He exemplifies how understanding your true value and staying curious about the world keeps you young. 

“Keep yourself naive and interested in things. Once you become a know-it-all – or worse, a cynical old queen – life's over for you,” he says with a smile. 

A headshot of Glen wearing a button up blue shirt and blue baseball cap that says "Paddle". He is waving to the camera and smiling


Written by
Melina Devoney
Barista & Coffee Journalist