Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday that he has signed a bill making surfing the official sport of the state of California. The new law declares surfing to be “an iconic California sport” and officially claims California is the heart of the surfboard building industry and that surf forecasting and the neoprene wetsuit were both invented in California.
The idea came from the state Assembly’s unofficial Surf Caucus. Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) was a co-author of the bill, and he and Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi have used their love of surfing to promote Earth Day events in the past.
“I am stoked that surfing is now California’s official sport. No other sport represents the California Dream better than surfing — riding the waves of opportunity and living in harmony with nature,” avid surfer and Democratic state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance said in a statement.
The state’s 1,100 miles of coastline is home to many world-famous surf areas, and California hosts the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach (aka Surf City), the International Surfing Museum, and the California Surf Museum in Oceanside. It’s also the site of the International Surf Festival, the U.S. Open of Surfing, the Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest and the Founders’ Cup of Surfing. Muratsuchi estimates that surfing generates more than $6 billion in annual retail sales, playing a key role in the state’s coastal tourism and recreation economy.
“Modern surfing was born in Huntington Beach, Malibu, the South Bay, Manhattan, Redondo,” author and keen surfer Michael Scott Moore said. “That’s where new technologies in surf design got developed. We had a lot of aerospace technicians who were into surfing, and they developed new shapes for surfboards that turned the sport into something of a pop cultural phenomenon.”
And let’s not forget California’s native sons, the Beach Boys, who had hits with songs like “Surfin’ USA,” ”Surfer Girl,” and “Surfin’ Safari.”