The new law argues that, while Hawaii invented surfing, California revolutionized the sport.

By Marisa Spyker
August 22, 2018
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It’s no coincidence that nearly every beach called out in the Beach Boys’ iconic wave-riding anthem Surfin’ USA hails from California. From San Diego to Santa Cruz, you’d be hard-pressed to drive along any stretch of Highway 1 without passing a break and at least a few eager surfers trying to catch a wave at any given time of day.

In the Golden State, surfing is more than a sport; it’s a lifestyle. And as of this month, it’s officially a part of state legislation.

On August 20, Governor Jerry Brown put his signature on a new law that declares surfing the official sport of California. The law was written by state assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, who grew up surfing around his hometown of Torrance.

"No other sport represents the California Dream better than surfing -- riding the waves of opportunity and living in harmony with nature," said Muratsuchi.

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While surfing has become synonymous with California, the sport actually hails from Hawaii. And while the law acknowledges this fact, it also argues that the sport was revolutionized in California, home to the heart of the surfboard building industry and the birthplace of the wetsuit.

California also spawned a mid-century pop culture surf obsession nationwide, with films like Gidget and Beach Party and tunes from The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean painting the SoCal coastline as a surfer’s paradise. Today, the state’s status as a national surfing capital is apparent: It’s home to numerous world-renowned surf contests, the governing body for the USA Olympic Surf Team, and the nickname “Surf City, USA” (trademarked by Huntington Beach).

So, even if you’ve never caught a wave in your life, perhaps it’s time to head to California and take a cue from The Beach Boys: “Let’s go surfin’ now, Everybody’s learnin’ how.”