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This investigation is concerned with the use of pulsed planar surface discharges for the pumping of organic dye doped modified PMMA slabs. A 0.5 /spl Omega/, lumped element pulse forming network was used to drive a surface discharge across a 4 mm thick, pyrromethene 597-doped modified PMMA slab in the presence of a 0.5 bar xenon cover gas. A laser energy of 69 mJ was recorded when 100 J of capacitively stored energy was discharged across the polymer slab. To the authors' knowledge this is the first time laser action has been reported from a surface discharge pumped solid state dye laser.