Recognizing a childhood passion and an allure of California’s coastline, Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, introduced House Resolution No. 30 to commemorate Wednesday’s eighth annual International Surfing Day.

Founded by the Surfrider Foundation, International Surfing Day aims to give recognition to the surfers of California and around the globe in unity to celebrate the sport of surfing and protect the beach and ocean environment.

California’s coastline spans 1,100 miles and has one of the strongest, most iconic coastlines in the world with surf break destinations such as Malibu, Trestles, Mavericks and Rincon. The surfing industry in California hosts numerous domestic and international surf contests annually that combined with everyday surf tourism help drive the $1.15 trillion economic engine of the California coastal economy.

Williams has been an avid surfer from a young age and has taught him much about life and faith. The sport served as a key bonding activity with his father, an author of surfing history, Malcolm Gault-Williams.

“I’d wake up, go surfing to start the day, take my shower at the beach showers and then step into society,” Williams said. “At that time in my life is when I began to see the beach and our beautiful coastline as the great equalizer in the community — we can all enjoy it. That helped sure up my passion to fight to protect that equalizer.”

Since 2005 International Surfing Day has grown into a global event with more than 25 countries involved in the festivities on June 20. International Surfing Day is marked by surfing as well as other water activities that give back to the oceans and beaches, such as engaging in beach cleanups. In 2011, participants of International Surfing Day picked up 5,000 bags of trash internationally.

“International Surfing Day is a wonderful opportunity for California residents and visitors to celebrate the sport of surfing and also to learn about issues affecting our coastal environments and some of the state’s most iconic surf spots,” said Jim Moriarty, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. “We are extremely excited that Assemblymember Das Williams introduced House Resolution 30, and that the Assembly supports this resolution commemorating International Surfing Day and celebrating California’s surfing heritage.”

— James Joyce is a field representative of Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.