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Surfing may soon be the official sport of California




 Peter Mel (USA) slashes a turn on an inside wave in Heat 3 of the Round of 172 of the 2009 Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing on July 19, 2009 in Huntington Beach, California.
Peter Mel (USA) slashes a turn on an inside wave in Heat 3 of the Round of 172 of the 2009 Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing on July 19, 2009 in Huntington Beach, California.
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Surfing is as Californian as bears and tacos. And now, a pair of state lawmakers -- Al Muratsuchi of Torrance and Ian Calderon of Whittier -- are proposing a bill that would make surfing the official state sport. Sam George is a journalist and former pro surfer who joined Take Two's A Martinez to talk about the AB 1782 surfing bill.

A surfer's take on making it official

When you think about it, it's the only obvious choice. The first recorded surfing on the west coast was in 1885 in Santa Cruz with these three Hawaiian princes. Then in 1907 the first professional surfer was brought here from Hawaii to promote a railway line to the beach. But the important thing is that both of those things came from the west. All other sports in California came from the east. Surfing came from the west, so it's only right that in that sense historically that is the essential California sport.

Why surfing isn't the official sport already

It's interesting when you think how influential surfing and the image of surfing has been to the image of California. In many ways, the modern image of California was based on surfing. The film Gidget, let alone the book, in 1959, that introduced that bohemian, sexy beach lifestyle to the world. In many ways surfing has helped define California culture. There are more mountains in California than there are beaches, but nobody talks about California mountain culture, so it's interesting it's taken this long to be recognized.

Not everyone surfs, so why should it be the official sport of the state

Surfing affected the California culture way beyond the participation level. Southern California was known for aerospace and automotive factories. That free spirited sort of I'll say bohemian lifestyle associated with California -- there's a reason the Summer of Love happened in San Francisco and not Philadelphia and it's because of that image. The youth movement that invigorated that California lifestyle, a lot of it was based on that sort of seminal surf culture so it affected California culture in many ways beyond just people who could surf.

Assembly members Muratsuchi and Calderon don't live near the beach, but they surf

The majority of Californians live within just a few miles of the coast. You don't have to live right on the beach to love surfing or be enthralled with it. Let's face it, they surf from Crescent City to Imperial Beach. Every inch of the California coast is surfed, so I think it's really appropriate.

Why surfing should be the official sport, not skateboarding

Not skateboarding because it's a derivative of surfing, the same as snowboarding. As a surfer, I don't think I care if it's the official sport because the word official and surfing is sort of anathema to surfing.