Surfing History

California Reinstates Surfboard Permit Laws - April Fools 2010

california surfboard permit crisisThis was our April Fools joke from 2010.  A lot of people really enjoyed it, thanks for all of the emails and for helping to spread the word.  You guys are the best fans ever!



The state of California has once again put into effect surfboard permit laws which require surfers to register any surfboards which are used at public beaches.  This law was put into effect today after a press conference from Sacramento where Governor Schwarzenegger announced his plan to use the surfing community to help the state climb out of a deficit.


Governor Schwarzenegger has been working to find a solution to California's $6 Billion deficit since the start of the year.  Along with the state senate, many new approaches have been taken including the recent round of layoffs in thte school districts.  This new plan targets the coast line of the state, taxing recreational users of surfboards. 


california surfing permitThe concept of surfboard permits is nothing new.  In the early 1900's many beaches around the state required boards to be marked with a permit.  This would show that the surfer had registered the board and payed the necessary fees to operate the vessel in a state waterway.  The permit idea is very similar to that of a boat permit you would get for a fishing boat or sail boat. 


With an estimated one million surfers in California, many of whom have more than one board, this new law can stand to generate between $500-700 Million in 2010 alone.  The idea initially came to Governor Schwarzenegger as he was driving up the coast.  He commented, "I thought to myself, look at all of those surfers, it is 11AM on a Wednesday and it is still crowded out there."  Whether or not he is bitter about us surfers winning the whole Trestles thing is still up in the air, but this new law is going to cost surfers quite a bit of their hard earned cash.


How Much Will Permits Cost?:


The permit cost is dependent on the size of the board.  A permit for a board under 6'6" will cost $100 for the year while anything between 6'6" and 9' will run $200.  The largest fee, that for boards greater than 9' tall will cost $500 per year as these are classified by the state as commercial vessels.  Governor Schwarzenegger commented, "A board of that size seems completely unnecessary.  You could fit a whole crew on it.  Heck, I saw a guy out there on one working last week.  He was sweeping." 


Upon hearing the news, wholesale distributor, Costco, announced they will be making a deal with the state to preregister all of their boards.  Since most of the people riding them do not take the time to learn anything about the sport, customs, safety or anything else, the state of California has agreed to the deal.  A representative commented that most of the boards will just sit in a garage not being used anyway.


california boating websiteWhen Does The Policy Start?:


The new policy will go into effect on June 1, 2010, just in time for summer.  All boards must be registered by then or the surfer riding it will risk a citation and confiscation of their board.  More information can be found at the website of the California Department of Boating & Waterways


Once the permits are in effect, they will be checked by lifeguards periodically.  This will require all surfers to stop what they are doing and hold their boards up in the air showing the permit.  Local tough guy Dane Reynolds commented that if the lifeguards want to see the bottom of his board, they'll just have to watch when he airs.  


We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.  Look for more SurfScience tips on how to get a permit fast, how to shorten your board to get under the 6'6" mark and save $100 as well as how to make fake surfboard permits that look good from a distance.


APRIL FOOLS!!! This was our joke article from April 1, 2010.  We hope you had a laugh.  Now go get some waves and be glad you don't have to register your surfboard!

Stay Informed