Oak Street Beach Arrest Infuriates Surfing Community

CHICAGO (CBS) — Fellow surfers are speaking out after a man was arrested earlier this week for surfing at the Oak Street Beach.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, world-class surfer Kelly Slater found out about the arrest Tuesday of Chicago surfer Rex Flodstrom.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Police found Flodstrom, 40, surfing 4-foot swells at the beach. He was arrested for surfing in a no-surf zone, and charged with disorderly conduct and being at a closed beach.

Flodstrom was handcuffed in his cold-weather wet suit and held for four hours at a police lockup.

Slater, an 11-time surfing world champion criticized Flodstrom’s arrest on Twitter Wednesday.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s just a body of water. What’s with the regulations?” Slater told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It makes no sense. … It sounds like a police state.”

Slater, who splits time living in Florida, California and Hawaii, said he is trying to juggle his schedule to be in court with Flodstrom.

“It would be cool to show up and see what kind of BS they’re talking about,” said Slater, who also is an author, video game character, musician and actor, best known for a recurring role on “Baywatch.”

Surfing advocates — including pro-surfer turned environmental activist James Pribram, who helped lead the movement to lift Chicago’s surf ban in 2009 — also plan to show up in court.

“I was shocked to hear someone got arrested, again,” said Pribram, who plans to re-energize a push to expand surfing in Chicago. “I thought Chicago was going to open more beaches and have surfing legalized throughout the lakefront. The fact that surfing is illegal anywhere in America is pretty baffling in this day and age. People should have the free will to use the lake to surf, boogie-board, do stand-up paddling, whatever.”

Pribram said he and Slater plan to catch some super-cold waves, too.

It would be Slater’s first shot at ripping frigid, freshwater curls.

“I’d love to,” Slater said. “It would be a cool experience but freezing cold.”

Flodstrom said he’s overwhelmed by all the support of the “global surfing family.”

The City of Chicago used to have an absolute ban on surfing at Lake Michigan, but that ban was lifted in 2009 under pressure from surfing advocate groups such as the Surfrider Foundation. Surfing is only permissible now at certain beaches, of which Oak Street is not one.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

  • Chivi

    Cops with nothing better to do. Send the cops into Englewood!! They can have a feast arresting criminals there!! I heard that cops are actually scared of going into Englewood. Sure looks like it!!!

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      We have an area of Missouri called Brumley where even the state police do not dare go.

      I call it paradise. :-)

  • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

    The ONLY purpose of government is to protect our rights. So who’s rights were harmed by this man surfing?

    It seems like the police are people not much different than the Guards at Auschwitz Concentration Camps, they do not honor their oath of office, their scared duty, they are merely goons that do what they are told for a paycheck.

    • cflc

      And to save your silly ass when you call for help stupid!

    • Denny

      Really?? Comparing CPD to Nazi guards. I can see you’re not playing with a full deck.

  • Yoly

    I’m wondering if there is some sort of life guard on duty where surfing is allowed. That is the only think that I could think of that would really make a difference as to where one could surf or not. It’s not like there is a danger of him hurting someone else while surfing in mid-January.

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      Yoly I am surprised you do not suggest a “bicycle guard” and to make it illegal to bicycle unless there is a state approved B.G. in the vicinity.

      If we keep this insanity up it is sure to come sooner of later.

  • Chris

    Have the Chicago PD nothing better to do than arrest a man for surfing ? What a sad bunch of clowns they are.

  • Chris

    Hey there Mr “Wrights” I’m in Eldon MO. Is Brumley really a no go area for the local constabulary ? lmao

  • ra

    it’s obvious tjhat u people have nothing to do as well, all should surf and drown

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      I guess trying to make the world a better place is having nothing to do RA?

      What was the mind shattering significance of your post? Did it accomplish anything other than exercise your fingers?

  • Denny

    Does anyone stop to think who would have to go into the water if this fool went down? I’m sure CPD has better things to do than dealing with moronic thrill seekers.

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      Yea Denny whoever noticed just like has been going on since the beginning of time.

      I think you and Yolly should form a bicycle guard so that if one of those moronic thrill seekers goes down the CPD would not be inconvenienced.

  • PG

    While I personally do not understand why a person would chose to surf in freezing water like this, I support their right to do it. Are we really a free society when a government can mandate something as insignificant as to where a person can surf? I can understand perhaps placing warning signs in locations where danger is present, but to pass actually laws mandating where surfing can take place is just silly and a waste of time and resources. As others have said above me, doesn’t the CPD have better things to do than to catch someone surfing in a non-government approved location?

  • Surfer Joe

    The beach is closed for a reason: it’s winter. And if this idiot got into trouble in the water, WHO WOULD PAY for the emergency crews to respond? Oh wait, DON’T respond, respect his right to be a moron and let him die. STUPID PEOPLE looking for trouble, your 15 minutes of fame is now gone. IDIOTS.

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      Seems like you have closed your mind for the winter Surfer Joe

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      Perhaps we should close the Streets in Chicago for the winter Joe. It’s only idiots that want to get into trouble and drive on that snow and ice. Let the stupid people looking for trouble die on the winter snowy streets! IDIOTS!

      • Surfer Joe

        Inalien – YOU are an myopic moron. Seems YOUR brain froze. Let me guess, you’re a surfer…probably got hit with your board once too often.

    • Surf1

      Yeah, let’s make everything illegal that might result in emergency crews needing to respond.

      C’mon, man. That is a lousy justification for a misguided but well-intended regulation. It’s time to open all beaches to surfing year round.There isn’t going to be a rush on surfboards and wetsuits at the local Wal-Mart accompanied by throngs of unskilled surfers catching waves in icy-cold Lake Michigan.

      Try it yourself at a legal Chicago beach – rent a board and wetsuit and take a lesson. See how far you get from shore before turning back. Winter conditions present a natural deterrent to novice participation.

    • Surf1

      Yeah, let’s make everything illegal that might result in emergency crews needing to respond, even where there is absolutely no history of a Chicago surfer needing to be rescued, unlike the abundant other causes for emergency response.

      C’mon, man. That is a lousy justification for a misguided but well-intended regulation. It’s time to open all beaches to surfing year round.There isn’t going to be a rush on surfboards and wetsuits at the local Wal-Mart accompanied by throngs of unskilled surfers catching waves in icy-cold Lake Michigan.

      Try it yourself at a legal Chicago beach – rent a board and wetsuit and take a lesson. See how far you get from shore before turning back. Winter conditions present a natural deterrent to novice participation.

  • Agent Johnny Utah / Mr. Obvious

    Bodhi, you gotta go down!!!!!!. ( This is a reference to the movie Point Break)

  • Jim

    First of all, there was no lifeguard on duty, it’s winter people. Not to mention he was trespassing on a closed beach in the Chicago Park District which they would be legally liable for should the idiot drown and die. It’s called doing their job, so stop whining and get over it.

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      He was trespassing on land he owns Jim – this is PUBLIC property not private property. And what is your point about it being winter? Should city streets be closed because it’s winter?

      You can not sue the park district really – the money comes from you and I. Anyone can sue Jim – and if he could sue and win when there is no negligence then we need to reform the legal system NOT take away peoples liberties and rights.

      “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt

      • Denny

        Haha…It’s public property I own it. Keep talking…you’re starting to get your point across.

      • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

        Denny did you sleep all trough government class in school? Do you even know what the 4th amendment is all about? How about the 16th or 17th?

        Get an education before you make a fool of yourself again.

      • Denny

        Umm…it’s through. Not trough. You might want to think about getting an education yourself.

      • Afro


        Based on what I have read in the discussions in this public forum I would agree with your points of view 100%, but it is like trying to change someones religion, when you show them the truth they don’t want to let go of tradition and these cattle have been lead around by the ring in their noses for so long that they can not accept that anything different could be the truth.

      • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

        I was going to give you a small history lesson on the history of spelling in the US but I think it would be lost on you.

        Denny I will let you posts stand for themselves.

      • OnThe OutsideLookingIn

        I find it quite funny when people start to realize what they think they stand for is actually not really the right thing, but after they get a small revelation of what is right they go into attack mode one the revelator.

      • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

        Sorry Denny my proof reader was home sick. Stick to the topic rather than acting as my spell checker.

      • Denny

        Really??…you had no problem questioning my education in your previous post. LOL Anyway I’m bored with your silly posts. But I’m sure you’ll get one more in there. Gotta get the last word in right? haha

  • No Surf Zone... Should Be A...

    No killing zone. (Chicago)

  • ron

    This is crazy! The city needs to find better things to do. However, if one of these surfers go missing and/or die I don’t want to hear about the city getting sued either. The signs should be changed to “Surf at your own risk.”

  • Chivi

    inalienablewrights you are so right!! You throw the garbage directly in the trash and make sure you always have money in your pocket!!

  • what?


    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      You sound like on of them. Who protected us from your mindless post?

    • Surf1

      Protect them from what? How many surfer rescues have been conducted off Chicago beaches?

      ZERO, yet it’s already legal. Surfers actually save lives every year – including right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Their presence represents free safety support to the recreational users that don’t a rip current from a black currant.

      Surfers = safer water for all users. The CPD was right in authorizing limited surfing. Now they need to take the next logical step and authorize all beaches. Regulate based on fact and experience, not irrational fear.

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    What the fois gras? The City of Chicago overreaching with its ordinances and regulations? Why, that’s not possible, is it? The City has all of these laws and regulations for a reason, right? They’re all about protecting their citizens, right?

    Horse hockey.

  • Afro

    Chicago is a police state in the making

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      Afro – I think it and most of the country has been a police state for a decade or more. It makes their job of enslaving us much easier by not overtly making it look so by declaring martial law. But by ALL sane definitions America is and has been a police state for a long while.

      And most here will not see it until the are put aboard the cattle cars…

  • kelly

    inalien has proven his ignorance, not only of the law but also of basic human rights. Inalien is now the official moron.

    • Afro

      I swear the government pays people to inter blogs just to keep people from banning together lawful azzembly. I have to say Inaien has done nothing but talk a lot of truth here, hurting no one but actually standing up for everyones freedom and yet there are fools that blast him for it?

      Funny azzembly is a censored word

      • THEE Yard Ape

        That would be because it starts with @ ss !!!!!! I love dodging these filters as much as I love negroes!!! That would be ni @@ ers to you PC liberals out there LOL !!!

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      Thanks Afro there are …. I don’t even know what words to use.
      I am not saying this to inflame but rather to speak the truth I see….

      Much of the population is brain damaged by fluoride that is in the water and now
      used as a grain fumigant. Aluminum that is in deodorants and vaccines, Mercury from vaccines. BPA that is in every plastic product. Then add to that the dumbing down that happens in government schools, the dumbing down from watching TV, and reading news papers. It is not surprising that people can no longer think and reason. Huxley and Orwell told us how it was to be done long before they did it.

      Ever listen to Alex Jones Afro?

      • Afro

        No I can’t say that I have unless I may have heard him on the radio and forgotten the name. Is he a political mouth piece?

      • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

        It was a subtle hint that you might find him interesting (There are others if he is not your cup of tea)

        This is sort of like the matrix Afro :-) If you are ready for the red pill perhaps you will learn a lot there. If not it may just not be your time and take the blue pill.

        This is a good area of the site: http://www.gcnlive.com/listen.php

      • Afro

        I gathered as much that it was a suggestion for me had I nor heard him. I was just feeling it out a bit before I check it out. I am listening to it atm the only flaw so far is the fact he doesn’t care about the political affiliation. The problem with that is one may be a Dem and be for less government intrusion but when it comes time for them to vote they support the Dem over the Rep do to affiliation and vise versa. We need more unaffiliated

      • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

        Watch out or your head might explode you will get about 5 years of learning in about a month. :-)
        If you don’t’ believe something you hear Google it and check it out.

        Yes political parties are dangerous our founders warned us about them. They all get subverted.

        I believe in liberty and freedom parties be damned.

      • Afro


        Yeah see this is the very stuff i been trying to explain to people in my circle but anytime you start to mention the truth in a blog or a public chat forum there are stoppers that try to jump on and attack you and try to belittle what you are saying almost as to distract others from grasping the truth with out having the ability to rebut the topic.

      • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

        What works best is to hand them a video or give them a link to a film and then move on some are not really for it. Plant a seed in their head that may sprout later and move on to more fertile soil….

        Hey send your email to:
        inalienablewrights@mailinator.com and I will get you mine.

      • Afro

        The Government is so afraid of the Internet and the ability for people to congregate with out their permission. There is power in numbers and the government knows it, they are searching for ways and excuses to dismantle it and the sad thing is 90% of the users have no idea that it’s happening Imagine everything you type taking censorship time to post and if not approved it don’t get posted. no more instant chat or conferences unless you are corporate or government. This is not me sitting here making up stuff this is going on in congress as we speak and people just don’t get it.

      • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

        Yea you must be listening to Mike Adams :-) The war for the Internet is ON

  • Afro

    The woman from Colorado running for Congress and she sounds like she understands whats going on

    • http://inalienablewrights.wordpress.com inalienablewrights

      :-) one that said “you can kill me but you can’t scare me”

      I liked that comment ….

  • Kenneth Newman

    Chicago has a Jewish Nazi as Mayor now.

  • http://www.theinertia.com/surf/the-reality-of-surfing-in-chicago/ The Reality of Surfing in Chicago | The Inertia

    […] comfort in these well-worn certainties of place and season. Which is why the January headline “Surfer Arrested At Chicago Beach” sent a jolt through cyberspace. Putting those words together did not make sense to a lot of […]

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