Surfing superstar Kelly Slater has taken to Twitter — and may travel to wintry Chicago — in defense of Rex Flodstrom, the guy arrested Tuesday for catching freezing, fresh-water waves in a no-surf zone.
Flodstrom, a 40-year-old artist, poet and online tea company employee, was charged with disorderly conduct and being at a closed beach when police spotted him surfing 4-foot swells at Oak Street Beach. He was handcuffed in his cold-weather wet suit and hauled to a police lockup, where he was held for four hours.
Chicago ended its surfing prohibition in 2009 when the park district caved to pressure from surfing advocate groups including the Surfrider Foundation. But surfing remains heavily regulated. Catching waves is limited to only certain beaches — Oak Street is not one of them.
Flodstrom plans to fight the charges in court on Feb. 16.
“Surfing is not a crime,” the 11-time surfing world champion tweeted Wednesday. “Say what?! Maybe a few of us should attend court with him.”
On Thursday, Slater told the Sun-Times he’s perplexed by Chicago’s rather harsh surfing regulations.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s just a body of water. What’s with the regulations?” said Slater, the 2011 Association of Surfing Professionals champ. “ It makes no sense. … It sounds like a police state.”