Surfers make waves on Chicago lakefront

February 17, 2012 3:55:18 AM PST
Charges were dropped against a surfer who violated three park ordinances by catching some waves at Chicago's Oak Street Beach last month.

However, Rex Flodstorm will have to give 20 hours of community service in the exchange for having those charges dropped from his record.

Flodstrom was arrested and ticketed on January 17 for surfing more than 50 yards from shore on the closed beach. According to the citation, Flodstrom jeopardized the safety of others because Oak Street is not one of the four city beaches where surfing is allowed. That, to Flodstrom is a big disappointment.

"It would be a shame if no one gets to surf there again because I think it's a unique spot in the world, as far as surfing. I don't think there is another place like it," Flodstrom said.

Flodstrom's arrest garnered national attention, including that of pro surfer James Pribram, who came from California to show his support.

"We all think that surfing should be legal, or you know, maybe get a ticket and a slap on the wrist at worst," Pribram said.

"We want to legitimize surfing in the Great Lakes, we want to protect the ability to go out in the water and enjoy the sport that we love," Flodstrom said.

To celebrate what they consider a courtroom victory, Flodstrom and a group of supporters jumped into their wet suits and paddled into Lake Michigan at Montrose Beach. They say the community service is ironic since so many surfers already consider themselves environmentalists and participate in beach cleanup.

"Surfers are the same, they care about their beaches, and respect the, well here, the lakes - where I'm from the ocean," Pribram.

Flodstrom has until March 19 to perform his community service.