Eco Warrior and pro surfer James Pribram rallies with the Surfrider Foundation’s Lake Michigan Chapter to change existing laws that prohibit riding waves in the city limits. For decades, Chicago has banned all flotation devices from their beaches since a deadly tragedy occurred with three girls on an inflatable raft. Pro-surfer James Pribram argues that tax-paying surfers and advanced swimmers should have the right to make use of beaches at their own risk.
James Pribram, a recipient of the 2007 John Kelly Environmental Achievement Award, is best known for his philanthropic and environmental endeavors through his Eco-Warrior project. Through the project, Pribram works with developers and government officials to solve a variety of environmental problems that endanger the ocean.
Pribram, who was in Chicago filming an upcoming episode for Fuel TV’s show 'Firsthand', was surprised to learn that local surfer, musician and activist Jack Flynn, who initiated a pro-surfing petition with over a thousand signatures on it, was arrested for surfing not so long ago. Pribram says: “It’s baffling. He was locked up overnight in his wetsuit, shivering with cellmates who'd just robbed a bank.”
To protest the law, Pribram joined local surfers David Vanderveen, Jack Flynn, Jim Hoop and Ryan Gerard last month for a “paddle out” in front of Chicago’s legendary 'Miracle Mile'. After almost two hours of stand up paddling, Chicago police boats arrived, but the surfers were long gone. “While our little stand up paddle-out was just a small step towards taking a stand for change, I look forward to sharing the importance of keeping surfing clean, legal and a choice for all local surfers and future surfers,” said Pribram.
As a frequent host of Fuel TV’s Daily Habit, Pribram will be the subject in an upcoming episode of 'Firsthand', which takes viewers into the daily lives of action-sports athletes. Cameras follow James as he travels to the Great Lakes and to surfing spots across the world to take a closer look at the threats to surf scenes. The episode also takes viewers to Peru where constructed harbors continuously kill surf breaks near Lima. The episode will air Sunday on January 18, 2009 at 8:00pm ET/PT.
In an attempt to legalize surfing, Pribram will join the Surfrider Foundation on December 8, 2008 at the Board of Commissioners Meeting in Downtown Chicago. The meeting will take place on the 8th floor Board Room, Chicago Parks District Admin. Building (541 N. Fairbanks, Chicago).