AB 467 Equal Pay for Equal Play

UPDATE: September 16, 2019
Signed into law!
UPDATE: May 2, 2019
Support is withdrawn until the bill is amended.

Inspired by the movement that got women included at Mavericks and earned equal pay for all events in the World Surfing League, State Assembly member Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas), of the 76th District in coastal North County, this week introduced a bill, AB 467, that would require equal pay for all athletes in events that are held on state property used for recreation.

The law could affect such events as surf and skateboard competitions, all forms of running, cycling and ocean races, and possibly other tournaments.

The inspiration for the bill was borne out of the battle in Northern California to get women surfers included in the Mavericks competition.

The event began in 1999 and features the surfing of waves that can top out at a bone-crushing 60 feet. In the two decades since there has not been a division for women.

In 2015, Sabrina Brennan, who lives on the cliffs above Mavericks and is president of the San Mateo Harbor Commission, formed the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing (CEWS). She and a number of top-level female surfers began to work political channels to bring equal pay to surfing.

The group successfully lobbied the California Coastal Commission to add to its permitting for the 2016 Mavericks event a requirement that it include a women’s division. Due to the previous event ownership’s bankruptcy, which led to the World Surfing League taking it over, Mavericks hasn’t been staged in the last couple years.

Though inspired by efforts by surfers, Boerner Horvath’s hope is that equity extends beyond the World Surf League to all levels of surf contests as well as other sports leveraging California’s public lands – from cycling to marathons.