Surfing could become the official state sport of California

February 6, 2018 | Surfing
Surfing: the sport wouldn't be the same without the contribution of California | Photo: Creative Commons

On January 8, 2018, California state legislators, Al Muratsuchi and Ian Calderon introduced a bill that aims to establish surfing as California's official sport.

If recognized and approved, it will be the second time surfing is adopted as official state sport, after being designated in Hawaii in 1998. Interestingly, Hawaii opted for having two formal state sports - an individual sport (surfing) and a team sport (outrigger canoe paddling).

Assemblymembers Muratsuchi and Calderon are both passionate surfers and believe surfing represents the spirit of the California dream.

"Surfing in California has a rich history and culture. The surfing lifestyle attracts people from all around the world and generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales," notes Al Muratsuchi.

"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," added Ian Calderon.

The bill AB-1782 dissects why California and surfing are bonded forever. The document finds and declares that the Golden State is "home to a number of world-famous surf breaks like Malibu, Trestles, Mavericks, Rincon, Steamer Lane, and Huntington, which are destinations for both domestic and international surfers."

Al Muratsuchi and Ian Calderon: they want California to adopt surfing as its official state sport

It also describes the various surf events taking place every year in California, including the Mavericks Challenge, the US Open of Surfing, the International Surf Festival.

And last but not least, the bill underlines the importance of the International Surfing Museum, Surfers' Hall of Fame, and the California Surf Museum.

Of all 50 U.S. states, eight have declared one or two officially designated sports: Alaska (dog mushing), Colorado (pack burro racing), Delaware (bicycling), Hawaii (surfing and outrigger canoe paddling), Maryland (jousting and lacrosse), Massachusetts (basketball and volleyball), Minnesota (ice hockey). New Hampshire (skiing), North Carolina (stock car racing), South Dakota (rodeo), Texas (rodeo), and Wyoming (rodeo).

The sport of surfing has its origins in the islands of the Polynesian Triangle. Later, between the late 19th-century and the early 20th-century, Hawaiian Princes and George Freeth made the first public demonstrations of surfboard riding in California.

The events triggered the interest in the strange pastime that was practiced in the Hawaiian islands, and surfing never ceased to grow and attract more and more participants.

The birth of a so-called surf culture has its roots in the quality and variety of surf breaks Northern California and Southern California have to offer. Then, it was only a matter of decades before surfing conquered the rest of the world.

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