This is right up there with Dublin and Cork, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Madrid and Barcelona, Melbourne and Sydney. It’s the battle of the Surf Cities USA, Santa Cruz and Huntington Beach in Southern California.
And it was reignited this week when I met the delegates for Santa Cruz at the Visit California Roadshow at The Alex hotel in Dublin. Visit http://www.thealexhotel.ie. And http://www.visitcalifornia.com.
They are very protective about Santa Cruz being the birthplace of surfing… it’s probably still raw that the courts ruled that Huntington Beach was granted the title of Surf City USA.
Santa Cruz though point to the history books and three Hawaiian princes washing up on their shores in 1885. The trio persuaded a local lumber mill to make surfboards from redwood logs and then proceeded to teach the locals how to surf in Monterey Bay.
It was to Santa Cruz too that surf legend Jack O’Neill (we’re claiming surf royalty here in Ireland then) made Santa Cruz his home and introduced the wetsuit which makes surfing a year-long activity.
The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is where you can find out all about the history of surfing. Visit http://www.cityofsantacruz.com.
It may not have done Santa Cruz any favours when Hillary Clinton endorsed it as ‘the real Surf City’ and went on to say that ‘only real surfers surf in Santa Cruz.’
Huntington Beach though has the mantle by jurisdiction of the American courts and that is in part down to the efforts of Dean Torrence, one half of the Jan and Dean singing duo who recorded the co-written Brian Wilson song Surf City. Dean moved to HB and campaigned for HB to be known as Surf City.
HB has its own surf museum and I’m a little anxious about mentioning that their website is http://www.surfcityusa.com or that I’ve been to HB and bogeyed with Snoop Dog.
They also have a dog surfing competition which drums up a lot of interest from the pupperazzi.
I’m not making this up, the good burghers of HB told me this when they came to town and that the star dog is a German labrador called Bono although they wouldn’t confirm that he wore sunglasses all the time.