Looks like the Beach Boys were right about California: “If everybody had an ocean across the USA, then everybody’d be surfin’, like Californ-i-a.”
And since California is so synonymous with beaches, boards, and hitting the waves, the state government wanted to make surfing the official state sport.
According to Capital Public Radio, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Aug. 20 that declares surfing as the state’s “official” sport. The state assembly passed the measure just before the governor signed it into law.
“I think surfing really stands apart not only for being an iconic part of California culture, but also for the environmental message of respecting and protecting our ocean and our environment,” the measure’s author, state assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, said in a statement.
However, despite the sport being an integral part of California culture, Hawaiians have been surfing for centuries, and surfing was declared the Hawaiian state sport back in 1998.
One writer for the San Francisco Chronicle asserts that the official bill completely ignores the state’s true sport: skateboarding.
Former skateboarder and surfer, Stacy Peralta, told the Chronicle: “The great irony of this is that there’s no other sport that represents the spirit of California as well as this one. If you think about the California ethos — going it alone, making it happen yourself — that’s what skateboarding is all about.”
Still, Muratsuchi estimates that surfing generates more than $6 billion for the state’s economy each year, so it’s hard to deny that the sport isn’t also ingrained in the hearts of Californians.