[Blank] City USA: Huntington Beach, CA

[Blank] City

A city by any other name…

You may recall some weeks ago that the entire Western United States experienced one serious heat wave. As any card-carrying Angeleno knows (it’s sadly official now: my new driver’s license has my LA address), when it’s 140 degrees outside, you go to the beach. As any sane card-carrying Angeleno knows, when it’s 140 degrees outside, you LEAVE L.A. and go to the beach. I took the Blue Camry down PCH and encountered… this.

That is fog. Lots of it. Instead of the 90+ degree temperature I left behind on the Westside, temps were in the cool 70’s in Huntington Beach. A quick consultation with my phone’s Weather app would have remedied this before a two hour drive, but alas. Content to beat the heat, I pulled off the main highway, walked the two blocks to the beach, and instead of the rocky, kelp-strewn beaches of my youth, I was presented with the widest, straightest, flattest beach I have ever seen, complete with boardwalk. It was shiny, spiffy, and downright pristine.

A beach replete with lifeguard towers, free-standing restrooms, volleyball courts, palm trees, and nary an out of place sandbar in sight. This was a postcard-worthy beach. This was a beach that out-of-towners fantasize about. This was a beach, Huntington-style. Utterly confused, I laid down on the perfectly manicured sand and listen to the knee-high waves crash and their sound echo off of the man-made seawall. After the fog lifted later in the day, the temperatures stayed in the 70’s, and a few hours later, I was headed back down Beach Boulevard, attempting to take in the entire Huntington Beach experience. It was, in a word, immaculate. It was utopian. It was ideal. It was… very Huntington Beach-esque. However, with the artificiality of it all, I was left to wonder how that city got it’s alleged nickname (which shall never be uttered on this blog in connection with Huntington Beach).

Ah, yes, the elephant in the room: Huntington Beach’s official nickname, [Blank] City USA, which, being originally from Santa Cruz, I must disagree with. As the story goes, Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz have forever been in a dispute over the merchandising rights to the name “Surf City USA”, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially awarding the designation to Huntington Beach back in 2006. Santa Cruz, being the peaceful, laid-back people that we naturally are, decided to let bygones be bygones and graciously let Huntington Beach have the name, because a protracted legal battle would be silly.


Despite some mixed reactions from residents of both cities (this Surfer Mag article seems a little skewed towards the HB side of things, but I’m admittedly biased), the State Senator that represents Santa Cruz introduced a bill to legally declare Santa Cruz as the rightful owner of “Surf City USA”.

Now then, all of that said, no less of a SoCal authority than the L.A. Times quoted another Surfer Mag article which decisively ruled on Santa Cruz’s side. Obviously, I completely agree with this 100% and automatically reject any other evidence to the contrary. And if anyone dares utter the words [Blank] City USA in connection with Huntington Beach within my earshot, then we’re going to have some words. Reasonable words, of course. Because I am a reasonable person.


Posted on August 13, 2013, in Sense Of Place and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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