Chicago Park District May Lift Surfing Ban On Five Beaches

As reported by Maurice Possley for the Chicago Sun-Times.

For the first time, Chicagoans with dusty surfboards in their garages or basements can start thinking about legally hanging 10 in Lake Michigan, perhaps as early as this summer.

Prompted by a group of avid Midwest surfing enthusiasts, the Chicago Park District has agreed to begin taking steps to open as many as five of its beaches to surfboarding.

Vince Deur, who founded the Surfrider Foundation’s Lake Michigan chapter in 2007, said Wednesday that supporters met Tuesday with Park District Supt. Timothy Mitchell, who agreed the district would begin taking steps to allow surfing at four beaches between this Labor Day and Memorial Day.

The surfing group and the Park District are also looking into allowing surfing at the 41st Street Beach all year, beginning perhaps as early as Memorial Day weekend, Deur said.

Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, a Park District spokeswoman, said in a statement, “We are excited about the possibility of bringing a new recreation option to Chicagoans.”

Maxey-Faulkner said the district has agreed to evaluate allowing offseason surfing at the Kathy Osterman, Montrose Avenue, 57th Street and Rainbow beaches and year-round surfing at 41st Street Beach.

The district will be working on appropriate signs for each of the beaches and will need to amend its code to allow for surfing, she said. The district also needs to “work with police, fire and Coast Guard [officials] to seek input and coordinate a policy change,” she said.

Surfers have been hitting Lake Michigan’s waves for years — except in Chicago, where it has been outlawed.

To read the full story, head to the Chicago Sun-Times.