Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

International Surfing Day officially kicks off California summer

Surfer Kelly Slater rides a wave.
Surfer Kelly Slater rides a wave.

Wednesday, June 20, marks the Summer solstice, the longest day of the year. This year, however, the date will also make official a summery surf holiday of which the Beach Boys will surely approve.

As announced by the Surfrider Foundation, the California Assembly this week approved House Resolution No. 30, declaring June 20 as International Surfing Day. Even better, Surfrider Foundation Chief Executive Jim Moriarty has already written an official “sick note” for working surfers to show their employers to excuse any surf-related absences.

The sick note might seem like a well-conceived joke, but it’s already worked for legislative deputy Kevin Bigham, who used it to convince his boss L.A. City Councilman Joe Buscaino to give him the day off to hit the beach. Maybe combining the letter with the video is the way to go for aspiring Wednesday surfers? Send an email to, and they will send back your very own sick note.

“The response to the note has been tremendous,” said Alexis Henry, the communications manager at the Surfrider Foundation, by phone. “ We’ve had about 40 or so requests for the note personally, and we’ve also posted it to our Facebook page, where it’s been shared beyond belief. We did get a really great shot from a water park in Michigan, where they put one of the lifeguards in a suit, and they quote unquote gave him the day off, and snapped a photo of him surfing in the wave pool there.”

International Surfing Day is not all fun and games. Beyond just celebrating California’s surfing heritage, the primary goal of the day is to “raise awareness about the need to protect our oceans, waves and beaches,” according to the Surfrider press release. There are over 120 official ISD events happening around the world, including a slew here in California. Henry discussed the “Board Riding and Breakfast” event happening from 5:30 — 9 a.m. at Ocean Park Beach in Santa Monica (Tower 26), for those who want to get their surf safari in before heading to the office.

“There will be a range of activities, ranging from surf lessons for beginners and children, a paddle-out for more advanced surfers, there’s even a beach yoga session for an hour,” she explained. “Of course, there’s going to be a beach cleanup to give back.” The Egg Slut food truck will also be on-site, serving up breakfast.

For surf aficionados who can’t get to a beach, there is the 8-hour ISD Web-A-Thon, in the fashion of the classic Jerry Lewis telethons.

“We’re going to have a variety of guests, from music to television, environmental heroes and lots of professional surfers,” Hayes said. “There’s going to be a bikini fashion show, green products preview, just a lot of things going on. Our goal is to sign up 2000 new members to the Surfrider Foundation over the course of the Web-A-Thon.”

The Web-A-Thon will be hosted by Chris Cote, the editor-in-Chief of "TransWorld Surf" magazine, and Susan Holmes McKagen, model, swimwear designer and rock & roll wife of Duff McKagen, former bass player for Guns N’ Roses.