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Surfing Is Now California's Official State Sport

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Mike O'Neill leaves the water after surfing at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 6, 2016.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

Alaska has dog-mushing, Minnesota has hockey and Maryland has jousting. And now California has surfing as its official state sport.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law today after the state Assembly passed a measure earlier this month proposing surfing as the state sport.

“We heard some healthy floor debate from some of the skateboarder, baseball fans, basketball fans, others,” said the bill’s author, Asm. Al Muratsuchi (D-Manhattan Beach). “But 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 bill sailed through its final vote with no discussion, unlike last month when senators debated whose district could best claim the sport.

“Santa Cruz, sometimes referred to as the surfing capital of the world,” said Sen. Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz) to coughs from his colleagues.

“You may have the best beach, the best surfing spot, but the best competition of all is the Mavericks, in Half Moon Bay,” said Sen. Jerry Hill (D-Half Moon Bay).

“You don’t need a beach to catch a great wave,” said Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford).

In the last four years, lawmakers have created a state dinosaur, state nut, state fabric and state lichen.

California Official State ____:

  • Amphibian – California Red-Legged Frog (Passed 2014)
  • Animal – California Grizzly (1953)
  • Bird – California Valley Quail (1931)
  • Dance – West Coast Swing (1988)
  • Dinosaur – Augustynolophus morrisi (2017)
  • Fabric – Denim (2016)
  • Fife and Drum Band – California Consolidated Drum Band (1997)
  • Fish – California Golden Trout (1947)
  • Flower – Golden Poppy (1903)
  • Folk Dance – Square Dance (1988)
  • Fossil – Sabre-Tooth Cat (1973)
  • Gemstone – Benitoite (1985)
  • Gold Rush Ghost Town – Town of Bodie (2002)
  • Grass – Purple Needlegrass (2004)
  • Historical Society – California Historical Society (1979)
  • Insect – California Dogface Butterfly (1972)
  • Lichen – Lace Lichen (2015)
  • Marine Fish – Garibaldi (1995)
  • Marine Mammal – California Gray Whale (1975)
  • Marine Reptile – Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle (2012)
  • Mineral – Native Gold (1965)
  • Motto – "Eureka" (1963)
  • Nickname – "Golden State" (1968)
  • Nut – Almond, walnut, pistachio, and pecan (2017)
  • Pet – Shelter Pet (2015)
  • Prehistoric Artifact – Chipped Stone Bear (1991)
  • Reptile – Desert Tortoise (1972)
  • Rock – Serpentine (1965)
  • Silver Rush Ghost Town – Calico (2005)
  • Soil – San Joaquin Soil (1997)
  • Song – "I Love You California" (1951)
  • Sport – Surfing (2018) *if signed by Gov. Jerry Brown
  • TallShip – the Californian (2003)
  • Tartan – “‘Based on the family tartan of the revered John Muir’ (blue and green with red, gold, and blue seams)” (2001)
  • Theatre – Pasadena Playhouse (1937)
  • Tree –  California Redwood (1943, amended 1953)

As listed by the bill analysis for AB 1796.

Ben Bradford

Former State Government Reporter

As the State Government Reporter, Ben covered California politics, policy and the interaction between the two. He previously reported on local and state politics, business, energy, and environment for WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Read Full Bio 

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