Sacramento -- They're having fun,
fun, fun in Santa Cruz now that
state lawmakers have passed a
bodacious resolution that says the
town has every right to call itself
"Surf City USA.''
Wading into murky waters where no
legislator has ever hung ten before,
the Senate Rules Committee declared
that the Orange County town of
Huntington Beach -- which also
fancies itself as Surf City USA --
cannot claim exclusive rights to the
For years, the two towns have
both used the moniker, but the
informal truce was broken not long
ago when Huntington Beach applied
for a trademark --
and exclusive rights -- to the name.
That gnarly move prompted the
committee to pass a resolution
declaring that Santa Cruz, home of
the wetsuit, is the true Surf City
USA but that any town can use the
name if it wants to.
Sen. Joe Simitian, a Democrat who
represents Santa Cruz, said he hopes
the nonbinding resolution will help
Santa Cruz's efforts to thwart
Huntington Beach's patent
"There was an informal truce reached
that both cities could use the name,
" he said, referring to the last
time the issue came before the
Legislature in 1992. "But that was
ripped asunder when the (Huntington
Beach) Conference and Visitors
Bureau asked to patent nine separate
Doug Traub, president and CEO of the
Huntington Beach bureau, said that's
"They can continue to use Surf City
as a nickname," he said. "We didn't
try to trademark it. There has never
been anyone who uses Surf City USA.
No one really promotes themselves
But Traub's group went ahead and
unveiled a new "Surf City USA'' logo
on its Web site --
www.surfcityusa.com -- along with a
three-paragraph warning to other,
wannabe Surf City USAs that the name
belongs to Huntington Beach alone
and that a "licensing agreement is
required for commercial use of this
name.'' The bureau also vowed to
"pursue trademark infringements''
and used phrases like "all rights
What a bummer, said Santa Cruz.
"I can understand wanting to call
yourself that from a marketing
standpoint, but to go forward and
copyright that? It doesn't seem
right," said Jim Lucas, vice
president of the Surf City Coffee
Company in Santa Cruz.
Republicans opposed the resolution,
which was approved 3-2 by the Senate
Sen. John Campbell, a Republican who
represents Huntington Beach, said
the Senate should not get involved.
"I don't understand how anything in
California can be Surf City, USA.
Surf City, California, we could do,"
Campbell pointed out that neither
Santa Cruz nor Huntington Beach
qualifies to be Surf City, under the
terms of the classic Jan and Dean
song, as neither place has "two
girls for every boy.''
"I've done some research,'' Campbell
said. "Neither city has two girls
for every boy, so neither should be
Simitian's resolution cites Santa
Cruz as "the first surfing site in
California" and the town "where
resident Jack O'Neill invented the
wetsuit." It also praises Santa
Cruz's "precious but hard-to-define
'surf culture' that reflects a
'laid-back' and relaxed lifestyle."
The full Legislature must still give
its thumbs-up to the resolution,
which carries no force of law --
which is just as well, considering
there are also towns called Surf
City in New Jersey and in North
By Linda Gledhill - San Francisco