Chicago Legalizes Surfing

In Midwest surf news (yes there is such a thing) the Chicago Parks District decided to open a few city beaches up for the sport of surfing after many years of them being closed after a tragic multiple drowning. Spurred by pro surfer James Pribram and members of the Surfrider Foundation’s Lake Michigan Chapter, the CPD lifted the ban on “floating devices” and opened up Montrose & 57th St and vowed to open more in the fall. Kudos to Pribram and crew for sacrificing their time, and in one dude’s case, his freedom, for this cause!

James Pribram Legal Surfing In Chicago

Eco Warrior James Pribram frees Chicago!

Surfers In Chicago Can Now Legally Drop In!

Pro Surfer And “Eco Warrior” James Pribram, Local Surfers And Surfrider Foundation Chapter Celebrate Victory—Ban Lifted On Surfing In Chicago Thursday

(Los Angeles, CA) –June 11, 2009 “ Eco Warrior” and Pro Surfer James Pribram joins Surfrider Foundation’s Lake Michigan Chapter Co-Chair Vince Deur in celebrating their victory yesterday as The Chicago Parks District officially announced that surfing is no longer illegal. For decades, Chicago has banned all flotation devices from their beaches since a deadly tragedy occurred with three girls on an inflatable raft. The CPD agreed to open two city public beaches for the Summer, Montrose & 57th St, and in the Fall two other beaches will be added for off-season surfing: Rainbow & Osterman

In early summer of 2008, Pribram, Deur, Surfer & Attorney Todd Haugh and local Kitesurfer Mike Urban had a surf summit with officials at the Chicago Parks District to make their case for surfing in Chicago and tried to reverse a city-wide ban on floatation devices, a law that ultimately put Chicago surfer Jack Flynn behind bars overnight when he attempted surfing a cold and stormy December day.

To further protest the law, Pribram joined local surfers David Vanderveen, Jack Flynn, Vince Deur, Jim Hoop and Ryan Gerard last month for a “paddle out” in front of Chicago’s legendary ‘Miracle Mile’. After almost two hours of stand-up paddling, Chicago police boats arrived, but the surfers were long gone. “While our little stand up paddle-out was just a small step towards taking a stand for change, I look forward to sharing the importance of keeping surfing clean, legal and a choice for all local surfers and future surfers,” said Pribram.

Deur added, “We are very pleased with the decision of the Parks District to allow surfing in the city of Chicago…it’s a great opportunity to prove ourselves to the CPD and the community that we are respectful stewards of the beaches…”

James Pribram is best known for his philanthropic and environmental endeavors through his Eco-Warrior project. Through the project, Pribram works with developers and government officials to solve a variety of environmental problems that endanger the ocean.