No California Dreaming! Surfing Named as Official State Sport

Zach Li
By Zach Li
August 21, 2018US News

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Aug. 20 that designated surfing as the official sport of California, due to its popularity and important position in the state’s history.

Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), the co-author of Assembly Bill 1782, who identified himself as an avid surfer, said in a statement: “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.”

“Growing up surfing not only had a significant impact on who I am as a person, but also taught me at a young age to appreciate and cherish our beautiful coastline that we are so fortunate to have here in California,” co-author Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) said.

Both assemblymen originally held a press conference for AB 1782 on Feb. 10 at the Tim Kelly Surfing Memorial statue in Hermosa Beach, and along with other speakers and attendees, they marked the event by going surfing.

Surfing, one of the oldest sports still practiced in the world, became iconic after it was introduced to California from Hawaii, according to the bill. With approximately 1,100 miles of coastline, California has a number of famous surfing spots, such as Malibu, Trestles, Huntington, Mavericks, and more.

California also has the highest number of individuals who surf in the country, with about 1.1 million participants, according to a report published by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Surfers leave the water just off the coast in Venice Beach, Calif. on Jan. 30, 2017. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

California hosts numerous annual domestic and international surf events, including the International Surf Festival in the Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance, the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, the Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay, and the Founders’ Cup of Surfing in Lemoore, according to the bill.

In addition, the Surfers’ Hall of Fame, the International Surfing Museum, and the California Surf Museum are also located in California.

The commercial surfboard industry also began in California in the 1950s. A physicist at University of California–Berkeley is believed to have invented the world’s first neoprene wetsuit. Meanwhile, the science of wave forecasting, which allows surfers to predict when and where to go surfing all over the world, was pioneered at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California.

Surfers catch a wave at Huntington Beach, Calif. on Sept. 10, 2015. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

There are approximately 3.3 million surfers across the United States, and it’s estimated they spend between $1.9 billion and $3.3 billion in total on their surfing trips. The surfing industry, which is mostly based in California, generates more than $6 billion in annual retail sales across the nation.

Big Wave World Champion Greg Long publicly supported the bill, saying that “[d]ue to the state’s historic connection to the sport, culture, and industry; its unique coastal geography and legendary surf breaks; and as home to some of the biggest names in the sport, it is appropriate that we make surfing California’s state sport.”

Surfing was declared as the state sport of Hawaii in 1998. Some other states’ official sports activities include dog mushing in Alaska, ice hockey in Minnesota, and rodeo as the state sport of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Texas.

From The Epoch Times

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