Surfing is now California’s Official State Sport

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On Monday August 20th, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill AB 1782, which designates surfing as the State Sport of California.  The Bill was sponsored by California Assembly members and surfers, Al Muratsuchi and Majority Leader Ian Calderon, and officially supported by Sustainable Surf.

Sustainable Surf played a key role and contributed significantly to the language of the Bill, to ensure that it recognizes California’s contribution to the growing movement of sustainability in surf culture, and the value surfing brings to ocean protection.

This new law is clearly a symbolic measure, but symbols matter to people. They tell us who we are, and what we really value.

So the next time a California surf break is threatened by development, water pollution, erosion, lack of public access, or climate change related impacts, the fact that Surfing is now recognized as the State’s official sport, will act as a new tool in the ocean health activist toolkit.

That’s a clear win in our book for everyone in California – and positive cultural shifts emanating from California have a way of making positive impacts all around the world.

 


 

Sustainable Surf played a key role in writing language around sustainability in this new law. The full text of the law is at the end of this post. Here’s the key sections that relate to sustainability:

(k) 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.

Surfing is a key economic driver in California, and is the symbol of healthy oceans and beaches that generate over $1 trillion in economic activity every year. This value will be lost if we allow our coasts to be polluted, over-developed and restricted from public access. So this law explicitly recognizes that protecting the coastal environment is also good for the economy, and that surf culture plays a key role in the effort.

(h) California is the heart of the surfboard building industry, which has innovated surfboard technology and pioneered sustainable manufacturing practices and techniques.

The ECOBOARD Project is our organization’s flagship program – and so we felt it was important to highlight in the law that California is the beating heart of the global surfboard industry – which has recently been pioneering more sustainable, ocean-friendly materials and manufacturing practices, that are better for people and the planet.

To commemorate this new Law, we were proud to create a special Gold level certified ECOBOARD with one of California’s leading surfboard brands, Channel Islands Surfboards. The board is built with their Spine-Tek construction, uses Marko Foam recycled EPS, bio-epoxy resin from Entropy Resins, and was glassed by Ryan Harris from Earth Technologies.

And a very special thanks to artist Kevin Mirsky for creating the original  artwork for this ECOBOARD – featuring a surfboard hugging bear, and lyrics from California’s official State Song (called “I Love You California”) that highlight how important the ocean and “her Rugged shore” is to all Californians.

 


 

The signing of this Law by Governor Brown of California was covered by international media. Our favorite articles are the following:

 


The full text of AB 1782 is below:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Surfing is an iconic California sport.
(b) It is important to recognize that surfing traces its origins to the Polynesian people and was imported into California from indigenous Hawaii. Since its arrival in California, surfing has been embraced by the state and many Californians have made important contributions to the sport as we know it today.
(c) California 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. It is important to remember that California’s coastline is not only home to these surf breaks, but is also the ancestral homeland to indigenous peoples like the Chumash in Malibu, known as “Humaliwu” in the Chumash language, and Rincon, the Acjachemen in Trestles, known as “Panhe” in the Acjachemen language, the Amah Mutsun in Steamer Lane, the Ohlone in Mavericks, and the Acjachemen and Tongva shared territory in Huntington Beach, known as “Lukupangma” in the Tongva and Acjachemen language. These indigenous people continue to live in these ancestral homelands today and have embraced the sport of surfing in these areas.
(d) It is important to acknowledge that the Acjachemen were instrumental in saving Trestles from potential destruction by a proposed toll road in 2008, due to Panhe’s recognition as an ancient Acjachemen village site by the California Coastal Commission.
(e) Every year, California surf breaks host numerous domestic and international surf events, including the International Surf Festival in the Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance, the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, the Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay, and the Founders’ Cup of Surfing in Lemoore.
(f) California is home to the Surfers’ Hall of Fame, the International Surfing Museum, and the California Surf Museum.
(g) California’s coastline spans 1,100 miles and its beaches and coastal areas generate $1.15 trillion in economic activity annually.
(h) California is the heart of the surfboard building industry, which has innovated surfboard technology and pioneered sustainable manufacturing practices and techniques.
(i) The world’s first neoprene wetsuit, a modern staple of surfing, was invented in California’s San Francisco Bay area.
(j) California pioneered the science of surf forecasting at the University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Surf forecasting allows surfers around the world to predict when and where to go surfing.
(k) 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.
SEC. 2. Section 424.7 is added to the Government Code, to read:
424.7. Surfing is the official state sport.