Huntington Beach. Photo by Ginsberg
Huntington Beach. Photo by Ginsberg

Surfing, Maybe CA’s “Official” State Sport

Bill AB 1782 introduced but ramifications unclear

Earlier this month, two California state legislators, Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) and Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) introduced to their collegues a bill that would officially declare surfing to be California's "official" sport.

AB 1782 opens with the plea that: "Surfing is an iconic California sport, and 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."

That all might be true, but after supporting that opener by pointing out that many surf contests are held in California and there are also several surf museums in the state, the bill gets to this hook: "[California's] beaches and coastal areas generate $1.15 trillion in economic activity annually.”

Boom. Over one trillion dollars in economic activity. How much of that has to do with surfing is, well, a good question actually, and one that something called surfonomics tries to answer.

You may be curious about what other official state sports are out there. Well then, here's a list of some of the most interesting:

Alaska: Dog mushing
Colorado: Pack burro racing
Maryland: Jousting
North Carolina: Car racing

And of course, surfing is already the state sport of Hawaii.

What, if any, benefits an official designation may bring are unclear, as is when the issue may, if ever, be taken up by the legislature. What is equally unclear is why jousting is the official state sport of Maryland.

Here's what bill sponsor Muratsuchi had to say about his effort: "Nothing represents the California Dream better than surfing -- riding the waves and living in harmony with the beautiful beaches and ocean of our Golden State. 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. Surfing is an iconic California sport and an important part of the multibillion dollar California coastal economy, particularly in the tourism and recreation industries. For these reasons, I am proud to introduce a bill that would make surfing California's official sport."