With a swift stroke of his pen California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill #1782 and made it part of the record: Surfing is now the Golden State's official sport and September 20 will be recognized as California Surfing Day.
“I am stoked that surfing is now California’s official sport,” said state assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a dedicated surfer and the co-author of the legislation. “No other sport represents the California Dream better than surfing—riding the waves of opportunity and living in harmony with nature."
The news has been welcomed throughout the state: “Visitors and locals alike flock to San Diego’s beaches for surfing, so it’s no surprise that surfing has been named California’s official sport," said Candice Eley, Director of Communications for the San Diego Tourism Authority. "With more than 70 miles of coastline in San Diego, there’s a surfing spot for everyone, from beginner to pro.”
Surfing, the Beach Boys noted back in 1963, is "not just a fad because it's been going on so long."
“This legislation helps define California for what it is: an iconic place like no other," said Christina Glynn, Communications Director and Film Commissioner for Visit Santa Cruz County. "Not only was the sport introduced to the mainland in Santa Cruz in 1885 by Hawaiian royalty, wetsuit pioneer and local legend Jack O'Neill helped bring surfing to the world stage with his innovative designs. We’re the birthplace of surfing on the continental United States; the sport of surfing is the genesis of our culture, our essence, and our history.”
California's classic surf spots are legion, including Cardiff Reef in Encinitas; the Wedge in Newport Beach; Huntington Beach (also known as Surf City U.S.A); Malibu; Rincon Beach in Santa Barbara; Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz; and Mavericks near Half Moon Bay.
Beyond the recreational aspects of the sport, the legislation points out, surfing sends a positive message to the world: "California’s surfing culture is taking a national and global leadership role in promoting sustainability as a core value while also placing a high value on environmental protection and stewardship, in order to preserve the ocean, waves, coastline, and wildlife that make the state such a unique place to surf, live, and visit."
And there's more swell news on the horizon for Jeff Spicoli's favorite pastime: Surfing will soon make its debut as an Olympic sport. After years of failed efforts to make it official, 20 men and 20 women will compete in the 2020 games in Japan in a high-performance shortboarding competition.
Better yet: surfing will be coming to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The scene there, no doubt, will be epic.