Not only is surfing the official sport of California, Santa Cruz is the birthplace of mainland surfing in the United States, when in 1885, Hawaiian royalty visited the area, rode the waves on surfboards crafted from redwood trees, and the rest is history. Since then, many surfers have been drawn to the Santa Cruz area for the challenging sets and classic breaks along its coastline. Jack O’Neill – surfer, ocean conservationist, and founder of the eponymous surf company O’Neill – helped bring the sport to the world stage, developing the modern-day wetsuit. Today O’Neill is synonymous with surfing.
Want to dip your toe into the sport of surfing? Try a lesson with a local surf school like Club Ed or Richard Schmidt. Or check out the Santa Cruz Longboard Club Invitational during Memorial Day Weekend, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum or watch the wave riders at Steamer Lane, The Hook, Pleasure Point, or other hot spots around town.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can get on board with the local surf culture in Santa Cruz County!