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Aug. 20, 2018, 2:35 p.m.
By LIAM DILLON
High surf pounding the Wedge in Newport Beach on July 11, 2017. (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)
Let it be known that on Aug. 20, 2018, surfing became California’s official state sport.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that enshrines surfing in the state’s code. The bill notes that surfing quickly became a California icon after being imported from Hawaii. Malibu, Trestles, Mavericks, Rincon, Steamer Lane and Huntington are California’s world-famous surf breaks. The Surfers’ Hall of Fame is in Huntington Beach. And the neoprene wetsuit, surfers’ unofficial uniform, was invented in the Bay Area.
“Nothing represents the California Dream better than surfing,” said Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), who authored the bill and has been a surfer since high school. “I’m stoked that we’re celebrating an iconic sport.”
The surfing bill was the brainchild of the state Assembly’s unofficial Surf Caucus. Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) was a co-author of the bill, and he and Muratsuchi have used their love of surfing to promote Earth Day events in the past.
Surfing has now joined a number of official state things that lawmakers have passed in recent years. Sometimes, like every other piece of legislation at the Capitol, they’re a result of lobbying efforts. Last year, a group of fourth-graders in Merced made a pitch for almonds to become the official state nut. However, nut industry lobbying added pecans, walnuts and pistachios to the effort before it became law. The quartet is now California’s official state nut, even though none of them are actually nuts and there are four of them.
Legislators also aren’t just giving out official state status willy-nilly. Earlier this year, a bill to make the California Vaquero the official state horse failed on account of too many neighs.
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