As we all know, most of the conversations that occur amongst surfers out in the lineup tend to be either frustratingly lame, extremely outrageous, or both. Personally, I tend to tune out the minute someone begins with another chapter of “I’m Surfing With A Hangover.” Or, “I’m thinking of buying some property here.” And regardless of whether or not I can relate, my ears go into immediate deaf mode when they hear, “Dude, how am I supposed to lay down on my board with that Brazilian chick out here!” The fact is that unless it’s me burping up Old Crow, me about to hook up some beachfront, or my boner keeping me from paddling into the next wave, I don’t give a shit and wouldn’t want to talk about it or hear someone else talk about it either way.
What I heard recently, though, actually had me paddling closer to the source for a better listen and by the time I had grasped the jist of what was being said, I was shocked, confused, and curious. According to the guys having this talk, it would seem that the State of California, hard up since long before the economic crisis hit the rest of the country and desperate for cash, is considering increasing state revenue by taxing surfers. Now like I said, I’ve heard it all and I was just about to tune this out too, when I realized that these guys were serious!
California is in deep, financially, and these surfers were saying that nothing is out of the question when it comes to coming up with cash to pay for things like state debt, education, and making improvements on the state’s inadequate infrastructure. To me this makes sense. I mean, we all saw the national headlines last month speculating about how the legalization and subsequent taxing of weed might save the State’s economy. Not to mention countless other gloomy headlines about budget cuts and tax increases. But how the hell do you tax surfing?!
The people I heard this from were suggesting that much in the same way state governments already tax cigarettes, booze, gambling and cars, they could do the same for surfing. By making surfers pay to register their surfboards as ‘watercraft’ and having beach cops enforce the law with fines, the state could potentially increase revenue for coastal communities who like everyone else have endured drastic budget cuts. Yeah, I know this sounds whack, but think about it; If everyone smoked, drank, and gambled, there’s no way any law that taxed these products would pass. The fact is, that these people are a minority and so when money’s short these groups are easy targets for this kind of tax bullying. Are surfers such a group? If you’ve ever received a speeding ticket for going 5mph over, then you know that life’s not always fair, that governments are not above exploiting their citizens for cash, and that there’s usually not a damn thing you can do about it.
As of yet I haven’t been able to confirm these reports. The fact remains, however, that California is in serious financial trouble and I strongly suspect that tyrant figures in government are scheming daily on new ways to make cash and looking for new groups to foot the bill. We all know that they can raise the price of a pack of smokes 25 cents, 50 cents, a dollar and people will still buy cigarettes. Is it the same case for California surfers and their surfboards? I urge anyone who has heard any info about this to come forward so that a strong and timely resistance can be mounted against the effort. I’d hate to have to trade in my ‘watercraft’ for a sponge even if it did make surfing with Brazilian chicks more comfortable.
Posted by Caleb on Saturday, May 16th, 2009 in Surfing.