Get barreled in the middle of the country, and outdoors (as opposed to indoors with this Surfstream in New Hampshire). Photo: American Wave Machines

Get barreled in the middle of the country, and outdoors (as opposed to indoors with this Surfstream in New Hampshire). Photo: American Wave Machines

The Inertia

Chicago Surf teams up with American Wave Machines (AWM) SurfStream to present the first ever outdoor surf park and lakefront restaurant to Montrose Beach, set to open by May 1, 2015. Sounds like one of the greatest things to come to Chicago since Michael Jordan.

Montrose is the Uptown’s own version of Southern California. Filled with action and people, Montrose is where locals come to have picnics with their kids and play fetch with their dogs. The beach hosts the Junior Regional lifeguard competition, the annual Beach Soccer Festival, and a handful of charity runs. But one big difference between Southern California and Montrose: the surf.

Montrose is surfable, but not exactly perfect. So that’s where Chicago Surf comes in. You’ve probably seen these manipulated waves in Redbull’s Who is J.O.B. series. And yes, these are the same AWM people.

Chicago Surf and AWM have partnered together to bring Chicago Cook County’s first and only SurfStream surf park. The SurfStream is a stationary ocean-like surf park and the only patented surf machine that provides authentic surfing on real surfboards (fins included) with the ability to deliver multiple wave types, satisfying all surfers from beginners to barrel-hunters.

The venue intends to accommodate special events such as birthday parties, day camps, nightly surf leagues, surf competitions and more. The concept also includes a beachside café and large patio seating, providing the perfect front-row seat to watch people wipe-out on while you crack open a Corona.

Because this surf park would be the first and only in its area, Cook County’s investment could potentially boost its tourism economy. Chicago has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the US, being a major world financial center. Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing all play major roles in the economy. However, this is all due to urbanized areas. By incorporating one of the fastest growing sports into the mix of Chicago’s profitability, there is potential for even more return.

If the wave-pool does become a success for Chicago, new doors could be opened for other areas interested in following suit. Will we see more of these pools in non-coastal areas? Will we see more surfers coming from non-coastal areas? Only time will tell. More specifically, May 1st  2015 will tell.

While they have the foundation of the actual wave machine, Chicago Surf is looking for support in building it out to be a non-stop party for surfers and non-surfers alike. If you’re interested in lending a hand, check out their Kickstarter campaign.



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