Local

Surfers appeal to surf Lake Michigan

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's cold outside but some surfers turned up the heat on the Chicago Park District.

They are asking for the right to surf on Lake Michigan.

While surfing the north shore of Oahu may be more appealing than surfing the north shore of Lake Michigan there is a hardcore group of surfers that love catching waves on the Great Lakes. Right now surfing is prohibited in Chicago; that's why the Surfrider Foundation met with the Chicago Park District on Monday to see if the city would lift the ban.

"We talked about ways to ask the city for permission to have some surfing action here in Chicago," said Vince Deur, Surfrider Foundation.

Chicago is the only city that bans surfing on the Great Lakes. The main concern is safety.

"We discussed how we can educate, begin to offer classes to teach people about wave action and rip currents and how to be safe," said Deur.

Surfing is actually quite popular on the Great Lakes especially in northern Indiana and can be a year round sport.

Strong fall and winter storms can create large waves on the lake that appeal to surfers from across the country.

"We have to go when the conditions are right when the waves are there and fall is the season in the windy city to go surfing and right on into the winter," said Mike Urban, local surfer.

"I was actually out here two months ago and surfed the fresh water for the first time. I kept thinking, great, I don't have to take a shower," said James Dribram, professional California surfer.

The park district appears to be open to the idea of surfing but they want a formal proposal before making any final decisions.

The Chicago Park District would not return calls for a comment.

Surfers ABC7 talked to on Monday say if the ban is lifted it could enhance Chicago's chance of landing the 2016 Olympic Games.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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