United changes surfboard policy for flights to and from California

United Airlines wants its passengers to be able to hang ten and get pitted in California for less.

Last week, the airline announced it will no longer be charging $150 to $200 for surfboard baggage fees for its flights to and from California. The exciting change came thanks to California Gov. Jerry Brown declaring surfing as the official state sport.

“We want to make it easier for customers to surf our beautiful beaches, whether they're visiting or call the Golden State home,” Janet Lamkin, United's president for California, told Forbes.

But, as USA Today noted, the idea to stop the baggage fee is not just a sign of good faith for its surf-loving passengers. Instead, it’s likely the airline made the decision to remain competitive with other airlines.

Alaska Airlines eliminated the surfboard surcharges (and other oversized equipment charges) of up to $75 one-way in July 2017. Now, Alaska merely charges its standard $25 first checked bag fee each way for boards, skis, golf clubs, and more.

Hawaiian Airlines also changed its surfboard policies in 2017. It now allows more boards per bag for a flat fee of $100 each way.

All surfers should also beware that the airline will still be charging $150-200 — along with standard checked bag fees — on other routes, including connecting flights.

But, perhaps most importantly, the airline also announced that it will be donating $50,000 to Sustainable Surf, a California-based nonprofit working to preserve the state’s coast and oceans.

“We are looking forward to partnering with United to better enable our shared goals and values of keeping the world clean,” Sustainable Surf co-founder Michael Stewart said in a statement. "Sustainable Surf is thrilled to receive support from United Airlines to help us protect and regenerate ocean health."

Use that extra $200 and start planning your surf trip to some of California's best beaches.