The Chicago Park District has repealed its ban on surfing and will allow surfers to start hitting its beaches.
However, surfers can only catch waves at certain beaches. Four beaches will be open for surfing in the winter and two in the summer.
In the summer season, Memorial Day through Labor Day, surfers will be able to use Montrose and 57th street beaches. In the winter season, Labor Day through Memorial Day, Rainbow and Osterman beaches will be used in addition to the summer season beaches.
“It was an old law in the books and I knew if we could appeal to some people we’d have a chance to change those rules,” says Vince Deur , founder of the Surfrider Foundation's Lake Michigan chapter.
After a fellow surfer was jailed, a petition formed calling for the Park District to repeal the ban on flotation devices or surfboards.
Five years later, the local surf community can now enjoy the fruits of its labor.
“It’s just nice to know that even a surfer can make an impact and you know change things for the better,” says Deur.
Surfers will not be allowed to surf in the same area as swimmers. Surfers must check in with lifeguards, if they are on duty, and lifeguards have the final say on whether surfers can surf that day. However, in the winter season, while lifeguards are not on duty the surfers will be surfing at their own risk.
“If you go through the proper channels and make a compelling argument you can impact them and have an impact on government,” says Deur.
The Park District will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce more specific information about the new repeal and the implementation of non-motorized sports activities in Lake Michigan.