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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
US towns fight for Surf City name
Surfing at Huntington Beach
Major surf competitions are held each year at both beaches
Two California beachfront communities are facing a legal battle to claim the coveted title of "Surf City USA".

The Los Angeles suburb of Huntington Beach has trademarked the famous name, and ordered Santa Cruz, to the south of San Francisco, to stop using the title.

Lawyers ordered a Santa Cruz clothes shop not to sell Surf City T-shirts.

Both have a strong surf pedigree: Huntington Beach is associated with a famous song, and Santa Cruz is thought to be the spiritual home of US surfing.

Huntington Beach began calling itself Surf City after the co-writer of a famous 1963 pop song of the same name moved to the city and gave it his blessing to use the title.

But Santa Cruz is reputed to be the spot where three Hawaiian princes first introduced surfing to the mainland US in 1886.

T-shirt clamour

The dispute over the official rights to the Surf City USA title has been simmering for several years.

But a legal notice served on a Santa Cruz shop, Noland's on the Wharf, marked a new escalation in the rivalry.

The shop was ordered not to sell a T-shirt carrying the slogan "Surf City Santa Cruz California USA" after the end of September.

Store owners immediately discounted the items and sold out in a hurry as locals rushed to buy the t-shirts, apparently as a badge of pride.

According to reports, the shop now has hundreds of customers waiting for t-shirts.

Big waves, big money

Local authorities in Huntington Beach believe they have official sanction to the Surf City title, branding the community as Surf City USA on the town's official website.

The big waves are here, but they have the deep pockets
Ginger Noland
Santa Cruz store owner
Officials were granted trademarks earlier this year in an effort to stop Santa Cruz, further up the coast near San Francisco, from claiming parts of the lucrative surf trade.

There are also plans to expand the range of products bearing the Huntington Beach Surf City USA brand.

In Santa Cruz, the store owner at the centre of the dispute said the local demand for the "banned" t-shirts showed the local depth of feeling.

"The big waves are here," Ginger Noland told the Associated Press.

"But they have the deep pockets."

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