Surfing Is Now Officially the State Sport of California

California now has a state sport
California now has a state sport | © AnnieSpratt / Pixabay
Katie Watkins

As The Beach Boys once crooned, “everybody’d be surfin’, Like Californi-a.”

Surfing has always been the unofficial pastime of many Californians. And as of August 20, 2018, it became officially recognized as the state sport.

“I am stoked that surfing is now California’s official sport,” state assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, who co-authored the bill to designate the sport as such, said in a press release. “No other sport represents the California Dream better than surfing – riding the waves of opportunity and living in harmony with nature.”

California isn’t the first state to designate surfing as its official sport. In Hawaii, surfing has been the ‘state individual sport’ since 1998. Surfing originated with the Polynesian people and made its way to California from Hawaii, which the California bill is quick to recognize. But the bill goes on to outline surfing’s impact on Californian culture, as well as the ways in which the state is integral in popularizing and developing the sport.

California is the birthplace of the neoprene wetsuit, surf forecasting, The Beach Boys, and the ‘heart of the surfboard building industry,’ and Californians are trademarked by their proximity to the beach and surf-inspired lifestyle. With 1,100 miles (1,609 kilometers) of coastline, the state contains renowned breaks like Trestles, Mavericks, Malibu and Huntington. It also hosts annual international surf competitions in its waters, such as the US Open of Surfing, the Founders’ Cup, and even the World Dog Surfing Championships.

For some, designating surfing as the official state sport also shows California’s commitment to protecting its ocean and surf. The bill itself states that the California “surfing culture is taking a national and global leadership role in promoting sustainability as a core value.”

Surfing joins a long list of official state designations, including the state fabric (denim), the state animal (the California grizzly bear), and the state nut, which incidentally is four nuts due to competing nut lobbyist groups (almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans).

Surfboards in the sunny USA

In practical terms, the designation of a state sport is largely symbolic. It serves to recognize the history and tradition of a sport that’s left its mark on the state, rather than directly impacting how it’s practiced on a day-to-day basis. Maryland, for example, chose jousting as its state sport, while Alaska honors dog mushing. Also, North Carolina selected stock car racing.

“[The bill] is clearly a symbolic measure, but symbols matter to people,” Sustainable Surf founder Michael Stewart, who helped draft some of the bill’s language, told Surfer.com. “They tell us who we are, and what we really value. So, if surfing is now the official state sport of CA, the next time a surf break is threatened by issues related to development, public access, water pollution, erosion, sea level rise, etc., it’s going to be harder to discount the value and importance of the state’s official sport.”

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article