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Travel BLOG
July 10, 2017

Jack's Historic Paddle Out - My Weekend In Santa Cruz

Photo by @1mandabear

After yesterday's historic paddle out, it would be easy to say that last weekend was all about Jack O'Neill. Our feed alone has been filled with videos and images from the once-in-a-lifetime event and I am honored to say I was able to attend. I got up bright and early to secure a good spot, and lucky for me, it paid off with a nice perch at the top of the stairs where I could see hundreds of surfers file down to the water with their boards.

Photo by Allen Hughes Photography

I was shoulder to shoulder with a local photographer, Allen Hughes, who's 50+ years in the Santa Cruz surfing community, added to the nostalgia and historical significance of Jack's memorial and legacy. "I bought my first wetsuit from Jack back in 1965" Hughes shared, "and I remember going down to surf right here by rope, not stairs." Times sure have changed and it's no exaggeration to say that Santa Cruz wouldn't be the same without Jack O'Neill. 

Photo by Rachel Endsley

As hundreds of folks walked by it was a joy to see the multigenerational support and participation in the paddle out. Dads and moms ushering their little ones down the stairs, seasoned surfers gingerly walking down - it was amazing. One woman walked by and Allen greeted her. She shared how she had been crying all morning. After she passed by I asked Allen if she was family and he said, "No, but she was a pioneer in women's surfing." I was in awe. So many stories walking right by me.

Amazing aerial photo by Howard Boots McGhee

For all of those who attended and participated, thank you. Thank you for making the event one that the O'Neill family will not forget; one that locals, visitors, surfers, and the world will not forget. I hope you enjoyed these images from the historic day, and please remember to tag yours with #VisitSantaCruz and #MyWeekendInSantaCruz.

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