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Santa Cru z Waves Magaz i n e

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Santa Cru z Waves Maga z i n e

Dane Nabal nabs an evening gem close to home. Photo: @chachfiles

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Santa Cruz Waves Magaz i n e

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Santa Cru z Wave s Magaz i n e

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S an ta C r uz Wav e s Magaz i n e Publisher Tyler Fox Editor Elizabeth Limbach Photo Editor Paul Topp Proofreader Josie Cowden

SCW Staff Photographers Yvonne Falk, Tyler Fox, Steve “Birdo” Guisinger,

Volume 1.5 - Feb / march 2015

Dave “Nelly” Nelson, George Saitas, Matt Snow, Jake Thomas, Paul Topp, Vaughn Visnius

Contributing Photographers: Jant Allinger, Nick Chao,

Word on the Street


Best of the Web


Grom Spotlight: Cole Sandman


Remember When ... ? Santa Cruz Surf Club


Nonprofit: The Clean Oceans Project


In Depth: Break-Ins


Special Report: Mavericks


Behind the Lens: Steve “Birdo” Guisinger



Travel: Nelly on the North Shore


Design nomBat Brand Development

Outdoors: The Great Park


Ad Design Krista Rigsbee, Julie Rovegno

Fashion: Spring Trends


Artist Profile: Andres Amador


Upcoming Events


Jack Neenan, Suzanne Welles-Joesph, Sadie Wittkins

Field Report: Succulents


Distribution Mick Freeman

Dining Guide


Local Eats: Community Tables


Founder / CEO Tyler Fox

Music: Winkipop City


On the Cover

Business: Caliber Truck Co.


Comic: In the Bubble #2


Event Gallery: SCW Holiday Party


Kevin Craft, Ryan “Chachi” Craig, Dustin Damron, Fred Pompermayer, Edward Saenz, Billy Watts

Contributing Writers Kevin Craft, Yvonne Falk, Tyler Fox, Traci Hukill, Neal Kearney, Linda Koffman, Christa Martin, April Martin-Hansen, Dave Nelson, Damon Orion, Kyle Thiermann

Contributing Artists Andres Amador, Joe Fenton

Creative Director Julie Henry

Sales Director of Sales Stephanie Lutz Account Executives Julia Cunningham, Jillian Hogan,

Santa Cruz Waves, LLC President Jon Free

Nic Hdez launches into the lime light. Photo: Nelly / SPLwaterhousing The content of Santa Cruz Waves Magazine is Copyright © 2015 by Santa Cruz Waves, LLC. No part may be reproduced in any fashion without written consent of the publisher. Santa Cruz Waves Magazine is free of charge, available at more than 100 local distribution points. Anyone inserting, tampering with or diverting circulation will be

F i n d u s online

prosecuted. Santa Cruz Waves assumes no responsibility for content of advertisements.

For advertising inquires, please contact or 831.345.8755.




Santa Cruz Waves Magaz i n e

To order a paid subscription, visit

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letter Fr oM the FounDer Powered by:

FinDing balance

Photo: Billy Watts

In the midst of 50 foamy-mouthed surfers, I somehow found myself in the perfect position for a clean 20-footer while surfing Mavericks on Dec. 20. There was no turning back—I was going no matter what the outcome. After a weightless drop and almost going over the handlebars, I regained balance and started to shift my weight, steering my 10-foot beast of a board toward the safety of the channel. I soon realized there was no way of escaping the oncoming avalanche and I was forced to press the eject button. My attempted dive ended up being more of a side flop and, upon connection with the water, I went into a breakdance spin, throwing one leg forward while the force of 400 bathtubs of water proceeded to pummel me. After a violent rinse cycle, I surfaced to find a sharp and debilitating pain running up the back of my right leg. My day was done. After a week of reflection, my take-away was pretty simple. I have known for years that I’m way too stiff, and now that lack of flexibility has left me hobbling around at a snail’s pace. We often put so much focus on the areas where we already excel that we forget the importance of balance within the body. Whether it’s your nutrition, physical routine or exercising your mind, I encourage you to take that honest assessment of your weaknesses and act now. There’s no time like the present.

Tyler Fox – Founder of Santa Cruz Waves and Big Wave World Tour competitor



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WorD on the street

W H AT I S YO U R FAV O R I T E F E S T I VA L , L O C A L OR OTHERWISE? → asked on PACIFIC AVENUE in downtown santa cruz ← By Yvonne Falk

The First Friday Art Tour because it’s an incredible opportunity to discover new artists and see the awesome art being created locally. The way they set it up makes it fun to walk around downtown [Santa Cruz] on First Friday.

My favorite event is Fiesta because it brings the whole community of Santa Barbara together. It’s a fun time to celebrate and not think about work worries. Andrew Merrill, Trash truck driver

Anaiis Nysether, Student

That dusty art festival in the Nevada desert [Burning Man] is my favorite. It is the best art party on the planet. So many creative people going there and giving gifts of their art, their creations, their sculptures, their music. I’ve been going for 20 years, and as a photographer and an artist, it’s an essential event. Matt Scott, Artist

The Rainbow Gathering because it’s a peace gathering. It’s not a festival, it’s not an event … there are no live bands playing there. It doesn’t cost any money. Money is taboo there, food’s free, all your tobacco is free. It’s just a love festival that’s been going on 40 years and you can’t beat free love.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston. It’s a fun event outdoors and it has a good vibe to it. John Hopper, Retired

Elii Overham, Student

Ian Hall, Street clown

The Avocado Festival in Carpinteria because I really like avocados and Carpinteria has a good small-town feel. Cole Erickson, Student



s anta c cru ruzz WaVe s Magaz i n e

My favorite festival is called Loi Krathong. It’s a Thai festival that took place in November while I was there. It’s basically just a festival of lights with lanterns that you send up into the sky. It’s very beautiful.

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best oF the Web »» the most LIKED, SHARED & READ POSTS from our website and social media. «« SANTACRUZWAVES.COM/LOCAL-LOOP

Approaching Superstorm: A River in the Sky 11,745 views “Atmospheric Rivers” include hurricane-strength winds and can yield rainfall comparable to that of hurricanes.

King Tides to Hit Monterey Bay Shores 2,353 views

The first wave of the year’s highest tide laps California shores.

Surfer Survives Bite in Central California 2,335 views

A man surfing on the Central California coast was dragged underwater by a juvenile great white shark.

Pineapple Express: Santa Cruz Weathers Severe Storm 1,176 views

The storm barrelled through the county, bringing torrential rain and fierce wind, swamping roads, toppling trees and taking out power.


Mountain Biker Gets Chased by Bear 10,523 views

Can a bike outpace a bear? Mountain bikers would rather not find out. Whether this video of a bear in hot pursuit of a mountain biker is real or not, it’ll get your heart racing.

Dangers of Surfing Pipeline with Shaun Tomson 6,083 views

Surfing great Shaun Tomson opens up about the risks and rewards of surfing one of the sport’s most famous waves— Pipeline.

Downhill Skateboarder Narrowly Avoids Tragedy 5,517 views

Watching this downhill skateboarder’s elegant zig-zag down a narrow, winding country road is entrancing and peaceful—until, that is, he comes around a corner and nearly collides with a bus.

Bird's Eye View of Massive Mavericks 4,143 views

This mesmerizing, slow-paced video gives the viewer a bird’s eye view of the Dec. 20, 2014 Mavericks contest, capturing the uncanny mix of monstrosity and majesty displayed by the 30-to-35foot waves faced that day by more than 60 brave surfers.


Low tide at Natural Bridges tonight. 834 Photo: @xbirdo

Dreaming of pumping winter swells during this period of small surf. 770 Photo: @zorro_del_mar



santa cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

Seacliff Beach. 728 Photo: @vvvcruz

The first light of 2015, filtering beneath the surface of calm seas. 692 Photo: @tradersnow

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It’s not every day you meet a grommet here in Santa Cruz

the Volcom family. His parents are the nicest people on

with an overabundance of charisma and class. But Cole Sandman fits the bill. He has to be one of the happiest and

the planet and they've raised him well. The future is bright for ‘Sand Dude.’”

most enthusiastic youngsters I’ve ever met. Every time I see him, be it in the water with his pops or hanging at a contest

Sandman’s peers are also well aware of his burgeoning talent.

site with his homies, Sandman always takes time to say hi and

Twelve-year-old Santiago Hart, another up-and-coming grom in

ask how I’m doing. Not too many 12 year olds are so outgoing.

Santa Cruz, has nothing but good things to say about his coun-

There’s something special about this pre-teen towhead.

terpart. “Cole has been stepping it up this past year,” Hart says. “He’s been doing some real man hacks and shredding. [I’m]

Richie Olivares, Sandman’s team manager for Volcom, which

looking forward to surfing more swells with him.”

sponsors him, sensed this young man’s magnetism immediately. “The first time I met Sandman was at Volcom’s Totally

At of press time, Sandman was busy with school and the surf

Crustaceous Tour championships a couple of years back. He

team, and was looking forward to a month-long stint in Kauai

was surrounded by chicks and had the big-



over the winter. Santa Cruz Waves caught up

gest smile on his face. I introduced myself

By Neal Kearney

and instantly knew that he belonged [with]


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with the lil’ ripper before he jetted off to the warm water and Hawaiian vibes.


Date of Birth: Oct. 14, 2002 Home break: The Lane and lots of Midtown spots that will not

Best contest result: Third place at a Volcom contest at The Lane.

be named.

I haven’t done great in contests—I’m more of a free surfer.

Height/weight: 4 feet 6 inches, 78 pounds

Favorite surfers in the world: Josh Mulcoy, Nat Young, Andrew Doheny, Yago Dora, Wade Goodall and John John Florence.

Sponsors: Volcom, O’Neill Surf Shop, B.E. Sanding, Creatures of Leisure

What inspires you to surf? Finding new uncrowded spots to surf with just your good friends out.

Years surfing: Four years If you could travel one place to surf, where would it be and Favorite move: Getting barreled and lay-back snaps

why? Somewhere sick in West Oz like Yallingup or the Box, because I like to surf slabby waves.

Favorite surfing buddies: Wow, that’s a hard one—there are so many. Here are a few: my dad, Josh Mulcoy, Autumn Hays,

Advice to other groms: Don’t be too serious, have fun, do what

the Edwards sisters, Skinny and Ayanna Collins, Elijah Saleri,

you love, always respect the older guys and treat others the way

Adam Bartlett, the Slebirs, Richie Oliveras, Kris Lyman, London

you want to be treated.

O'Reagen and all my Volcom family buddies—Braden, Alani and Rusty Helm. Plus all my friends in Kauai and SoCal.

Any thank yous? My parents for always helping me out and taking me places to surf, the whole Volcom family for everything they

Interests outside of surfing: Skateboarding, playing electric guitar,

do for me and Josh Mulcoy for taking me on super rad trips and

listening to music, art, hanging out with friends and finger boarding.

for being a really good friend and role model.

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reMeMber When ... ?

in The CluB An original member of The Santa Cruz Surfing Club dishes on the early days of surfing in Santa Cruz

By Neal Kearney Photos: Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum

anta Cruz hasn’t always

member. Waves sat down with him to hear about his memories

been a surf town. Origi-

from that era.

nally, the sport came to Santa Cruz with the visit

The CluB:

“Locally, nobody else was surfing. Mem-

of three Hawaiian princes in July of 1885. It didn’t become popular

bers of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club were the ones who started

until the 1930s, when surfers from Southern California visited the

it. It was a mixed group—some of us lived on the Westside, some

area and discovered the bounty of cold, yet perfect, surf.

of us downtown and some of us lived on the Eastside. I started at about age 14 in junior high at Mission Hill Junior High. It was

A group of local teenagers took notice and subsequently caught

just us youngsters at first, but then a few older guys from out of

“surf fever,” borrowing the visitors’ boards and gathering as much

town [Burlingame and San Mateo] started coming around, and

advice as possible. These youngsters began shaping their own

between them and us we formed the club around 1936.

surfboards in a high-school wood shop, and a fledgling surf community was born, culminating in 1936 with the establishment of

In ’38, the Junior Chamber of Commerce built the clubhouse

the Santa Cruz Surfing Club. Ninety-one-year-old Harry Mayo was

board house for us. We had keys [and] charged guys from out of

one of those pioneering youths, and is the last surviving original

town a buck to store their boards in there. The club was social and Continued on Page 30 ▶



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Continued on Page 30 ▶

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R e m e m b e r w h en ... ? Santa Cruz Surf Club

◀ Continued from Page 28

became more popular with time. We started charging dues, so in

able to get down to the clubhouse early or something, and there

’38 it became more organized. We had a president, a secretary

was nobody around, we’d wait for somebody to show up to go

and a treasurer. We had our own bank account. During the war

out with. Then we’d surf for approximately an hour and come in.

we leased a hamburger stand for our clubhouse and we bought

If it was the wintertime, we’d come into the clubhouse to warm

it later.”

up—we had a pot-bellied stove. We’d get it goin’ with wood, try to warm up, take off our wet bathing suits, put a warm one on,

T h e E q uipme nt:

“We had basically two types

or put our pants back on. Or, if the weather was halfway decent,

of boards. We had the planks—solid planks—and the rest were

we’d sit in front of the clubhouse facing the east and warm up

hollow paddleboards. I made

with the sun.”

In the early days, there

mine in high school in 1939, at Santa Cruz High School. We

The C ulture: “I don’t know exactly what the girls

were no wetsuits or

had skegs, like on a rowboat.

at that time thought about us. We had plenty of women hang-

Tom Blake [the inventor of

ing around. We even had a couple gals surfin’ with us. But folks

the surfboard fin] came and

didn’t like them surfing ’cause they could fall and get black and

visited us one time. He used

blue marks if they got hit with a board.

leashes—just bathing suits and paraffin wax.

an umbrella to sail around Cowell’s. The first windsurfer.

If you weren’t a big football player, or a big basketball player,

[Laughs] No wetsuits or leashes—we wore bathing suits and we

you were out. Surfing was nothing, it wasn’t even counted. It’s

used paraffin wax.”

changed. But still, some girls hung around at the beach with us. We weren’t looked on very highly because we weren’t winning

T h e S u rfing : “You didn’t go out alone. If we were



Santa Cru z Wave s Magaz i n e

any big games for the old alma mater. You had to be a football

“Originally you couldn’t get in [the club] if you drank or smoked.

jock or something, so we more or less flew under the radar.”

WOr lD WA r ii AnD T h e De Cline Of The Or ig inA l CluB : “Originally, in the Santa Cruz Surf Club, you couldn’t get

But that changed

in if you drank or smoked. But that changed

during the war.”

it did. It was a different attitude. We didn’t

during the war. I’m sorry to say it did, but know if tomorrow we’d be in the service. It was a kind of feeling of ‘What the hell?’ We

did no drugs, to my knowledge. All of us went into the service: army, navy, air force. I went into the Coast Guard. We all came back—one guy had a knee problem, but we all came back. By then, the club started breaking up. We were older, going to college, married with kids, workin’, etc. By the ’50s, I was done. I was workin’ three jobs and I joined the fire department in ’49. Then I was married and had a baby. Didn’t have the time to go surfin’ no more!” Harry Mayo, pictured in his surfing days.

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Sea Shepherds The Clean Oceans Project steers toward solutions to marine plastic pollution By Linda Koffman | Photos: Jake Thomas

In 2008, as a mass of marine debris continued to swell in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a group of concerned Santa Cruz

in Micronesia, scientifically dissecting the benefits and concerns

residents decided to do something about it. The Great Pacific

of plastic-to-fuel (P2F) conversion and demonstrating a small-

Garbage Patch, as the gyre of

“When you make environmentalism profitable, the whole world will turn a deeper

scale P2F converter system to the public.

trash is called, spawned The Clean Oceans Project (TCOP),

“I’m looking for practical solutions to plastic pollution,” says

a nonprofit based in the San-

Holm, who oversees a crew of 10 TCOP volunteers. The founder

ta Cruz harbor and helmed by

and executive director has secured an ongoing collaboration with

Captain Jim “Homer” Holm.

Cabrillo College Earth Science Professor David Schwartz and his students. Together, they continue to work on plastic-to-fuel re-

Educating, researching and

search and debris surveying, supporting TCOP’s aim to increase

shade of green.”—Jim

recycling are at the top of the

awareness and create a method of gathering waste data on a

TCOP agenda. And the organi-

global basis that will feed policy into the future.

“Homer” Holm, executive

zation has been busy: mem-

director of The Clean Oceans Project 32


s anta cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

bers have been surveying and

Touting P2F as an alchemist approach of morphing excess mate-

collecting massive amounts

rials we have already taken out of the ground into new sources

of refuse in the Gulf of Alaska,

of oil, Holm tries to bring the futuristic technology in front of the

orchestrating a future project

eyes of the public so that it can become a normality of the now.

Continued on Page 34 ▶





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N O N P R OF I T : The Clean Oceans Project

◀ Continued from Page 32

The power of the dollar, he says, can motivate the masses a little faster than simply the dogood romanticism found in the sustainable living dialogue. “Converting plastic to fuel supplies a financial incentive to do the right thing,” he explains. “And when you make environmentalism profitable, the whole world will turn a deeper shade of green.” While he calls TCOP “a very expensive hobby, because it’s not putting food on the plate but it’s putting food in the soul,” the veteran sailor and impassioned activist hopes that will change. The last year has seen TCOP embraced by the local community and Holm can’t hide his earnest gratitude as he reels off some shout-outs: “Hula’s gave us money from their Aloha Mondays, Annie [Morhauser] from Annieglass has been an angel, Jeff Larkey from Route 1 [Farms] has been an incredible supporter—one of my heroes, and now New Leaf has al- wine, beer & cider on-tap

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lowed us to get into their token [donation] program.” With TCOP aspiring to grow even more with grants and public fundraising, it wants to convert volunteers into paid staff who can impart the dire warnings embodied by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch while also championing some doable remedies. “A big part of success is just plain old getting the word out,” Holm says. “The education is just as important as picking up the trash and making it into something. If people aren’t aware of these things and don’t have hope that there’s something making a difference, then they won’t go out of their way to change.” Learn more at


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you’re a local surfer, it’s almost a foregone conclusion: Somewhere along the line, you, or someone you know, have been a victim of theft. Thieves are the land sharks of the Santa Cruz surf scene, as common as pimples at a One Direction concert and as aggravating as a twerking mosquito. Santa Cruz Waves contributor Neal Kearney is one of countless local surfers who has lost a wetsuit to a thief. On Saturday, Dec. 20, after surfing Mavericks’ biggest waves in four years, he drove to Lighthouse Field, where he jumped out of his vehicle to get a quick look at the surf. After checking out the waves and deciding he was done surfing for the day, he returned to the car to find that an anonymous Christmas elf had helped him ring in the holidays in the key of Suck.

Riding the waves of theft in the Santa Cruz surf community By Damon Orion



s anta cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

| Illustrations by Joe Fenton

Kearney drove away from the scene one wetsuit lighter. “Within less than five minutes of leaving my car unlocked, it was gone,” he laments. He adds that this wasn’t the first

time a thief had made off with one of his belongings: While he was

five, open your garage and rifle through your house.”

surfing at Manresa a few years ago, someone broke into his car and stole his cell phone.

According to Collins, the overcrowding of local jails makes it easy for such people to sustain their criminal careers without fear of

Not too surprisingly, phones are a hot-ticket item for these sticky-

severe penalty. “You look at, and you

fingered crooks. A couple of years ago, pro surfer Kyle Thiermann

see guys getting arrested nine times in a month,” he offers. “They

learned this the hard way when he left his keys under one of his

rob people, get busted, get a

car’s tires while surfing at Steamer Lane. Upon returning, he dis-

ticket, get out and start rob-

covered that his cell phone was gone. “Luckily, someone saw

bing people again.”

the guy who [stole] it, so I was able to chase him down and get it back,” the 24-year-old surfer chuckles. “It didn’t need to get vio-

Santa Cruz mayor Don Lane

lent, but I definitely made it very clear that I was going to get my

links the overcrowding of our

cell phone back.”

jails to the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011. Since

Overcrowding of local jails makes it easy for people to sustain their criminal careers without fear of

According to Thiermann, most of these pilferers are drug ad-

the passing of this act, a great-

dicts who are selling high-end stolen goods for a mere $15 or $20

er number of Californians

a pop—just enough to get their next fix. Many of them prey on

who have committed certain

surfers by hiding near a spot like Laguna Creek, Pleasure Point or

mid-level offenses have been

The Hook and watching for someone to leave a car unlocked or to

sentenced to county jail, resulting in less room for prisoners. Thus,

leave a key in an easily accessible place.

fewer people are being incarcerated for lower-level crimes.

Some especially ballsy burglars will walk right up to the front

Lane adds that Santa Cruz County is currently working to turn an

porches and backyards of hapless surfers to swipe things like

old jail facility into a rehabilitation facility. “People who are sen-

wetsuits, surfboards and bicycles. Thiermann has had several

tenced for these kinds of crimes repeatedly would be locked up,

surfboards and wetsuits stolen from the backyards of not only his

if you will, but they’d be locked in a place where there was real

current residence on 36th Avenue, but also his former residence on

work being done with them to change their lives and habits,” he

the Westside, where theft is especially prevalent. He claims that lit-

says. “I see that as being really helpful in this, because even if we

erally all of his surfer friends have had at least one such experience.

were putting small-scale thieves in jail for a month instead of a

severe penalty.

day, they’d still just be coming out and probably continuing what Professional surfer Ken “Skindog” Collins has seen many a thief

they’ve been doing.”

skulking around his neighborhood on the Westside. “Whenever I forget to lock my car, they’re in there, rifling,” he states. “They’re doing it

The mayor notes that even criminals who have made progress in

every night. They just go up and down every street in Santa Cruz and

rehab are likely to relapse if they have nowhere to live. For this

check car doors and house doors. If you leave a car unlocked and you

reason, he believes that another piece of the puzzle is to find

have a garage door opener, they’ll just come back between nine-to-

housing for these people.

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I N D E P T H : break-ins

Local surfers can do their

“I think it’s going to take the

While we search for solutions to the theft problem, local surfers

part by looking out for one

City of Santa Cruz and the

can do their part by looking out for one another. “The good thing

county and other govern-

about Santa Cruz, and specifically the surf community, is that most

ments doing everything they

surfers tend to have each other’s back,” Thiermann points out. “I’ve

can to encourage building

had it happen once or twice where a neighbor called me late at

affordable housing,” he says.

night and said there was someone checking out our house.”


“The key for me is building specific kinds of housing: small units and higher density. That’s what makes housing relatively less ex-

It also can’t hurt to wear your car key as a pendant instead of

pensive. People don’t want that kind of density in single-family

leaving it under one of your tires while you surf. And, as Kearney

neighborhoods, but in a place like downtown Santa Cruz, where

warns, “Lock your doors, be aware of your surroundings and

we do already have six- and seven- and eight-story buildings, we

don’t be in too much of a hurry. Slow it down.”

could build a lot of small apartments, and those then become part of our more affordable housing stock.”

5 Pranks to Flip the Coin on Those Pesky Thieves Put rattlesnakes in your drying wetsuit.

Install a joy buzzer under your car’s door handle. Give those nasty bandits the buzz they’re looking for. For a little extra oomph, hook that sucker up to your car battery.


2. Leave fake drugs in your car. Your would-be thief won’t be in much of a mood to take your iPhone after he snorts the crushed Altoid powder you’ve left for him.



s anta c ruz WaVe s Magaz i n e

At the very least, whoever tries to rob you will turn his own clothes into a different kind of wetsuit … by whizzing in his pants.


Leave a fake severed finger on your car’s passenger seat

4. Put a pedalactivated tube of blue dye on your bike. When he starts pedaling, a fountain of blue dye will spray out from between the handlebars, drenching the culprit’s head and turning him into Sticky Fingers Smurf.

Realistic-looking fake fingers can be found at Halloween shops, or there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to make them. Extra credit: Leave a bloody axe and some stuffed garbage bags on your backseat.


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“If you take four waves on the head, you’ll get washed through the rocks,” Ken “Skindog” Collins tells the motley crew of bigwave surfers as we motor out of the dock on the cold morning of Dec. 20. Some of the surfers on our boat are Mavericks vets like Nic Lamb, Tyler Fox and Anthony Tashnick. Others are first timers like Koa Rothman and Koa Smith, both of whom had flown in from Oahu the night before, hungry for the wave of their life and the media attention to keep their sponsors happy. “If you get close to the rocks, take your leash off and hold it in your hand,” Skindog continues. “If you get caught in the rocks with your leash on, you’ll be in trouble.” Everyone has their own way of mentally preparing to surf 50foot waves. Skindog talks to fill the silence. Dave Wassel tucks a Hawaiian tealeaf inside his wetsuit for luck. Mark Healey absently gazes out the window like he’s commuting to work. As we pull into the channel at Mavericks, the captain parks us so close to the bowl we can hear the surfers talking in the lineup. A picture of George Clooney gunning his boat up a mountain of water in The Perfect Storm flashes into my mind, but our captain seems confident and the photographers onboard are giddy to have a front-row seat to the greatest show on Earth. At first, the waves seem slow and no one rushes to get off the boat—a theme I’ve found to be consistent with most veterans. But when Jamie Mitchell finally drops into a dark five-story building and takes the brunt of it on his head, the cameras start clicking, and 60-plus people head straight into the serpents’ pit.



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IN THE BELLY OF, THE BEAST An insider s account of surfing Mavericks By Kyle Thiermann

Jamie Mitchell wears half the Pacific on his head. Photo: Billy Watts

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S P E C I AL R E P O RT : Mavericks

Underground charger Nic Vaughan snagged one of the biggest waves of the day. Photo: Nelly / SPL Waterhousing



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Shawn Dollar makes his descent on a Mavericks mountain. Photo: Nelly / SPL Waterhousing

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S pecial R eport : Mavericks

The dichotomy of souls Mavericks drew to her on this historic day

to the boat. As the day fades and the crowd thins, I drink a cup of

is surreal. Trained professionals like Shane Dorian and Greg Long

coffee and paddle back out for one more try. Within 15 minutes I

sit as deep as possible with icy focus. Men and women wield-

catch one of the biggest waves of my life.

ing 10-foot tanks rest on the shoulder, some of whom looked as though they had just graduated from their final surf lesson at

Suddenly I’m higher than I’ve ever felt and never want the day to

Cowell’s. I saw someone catch a shouldery wave who had not yet

end. Back on the boat once again, I watch the sunset and feel as

mastered the ‘pop-up.’

confident as ever sipping a cold beer. Suddenly, I hear someone scream. Apparently our captain got a bit too close to the bowl and

The next six hours is an emotional rollercoaster for me. I’m scared

the heaving beast that is Mavericks extended her white claws to

and then I’m psyched. Chatty and then silent. I fall on my first

swat the side of our boat. This sends Tyler Fox and Mark Healey

wave and the lip blows my bootie off my foot. I don’t catch an-

flying. I think she just wanted to remind us humans not to get too

other wave for three hours. I become crotchety and paddle back


▼ Ken “Skindog” Collins enters the beast with no back. Photo: Billy Watts ▶ Top left: Backside bravery by British surfer Tom Lowe. Photo: Nelly / SPL Waterhousings | Top right: Dave Wassel saluting the gods. Photo: Billy Watts Center left: Author Kyle Thiermann air drops into oblivion. Photo: Nelly / SPL Waterhousings Center right: Kyle comes up smiling, minus a bootie. Photo: Billy Watts  Bottom Left: Jamie Mitchell hands up broken board No. 1 of 3 for the day. Photo: Nelly / SPL Waterhousings Bottom Right: The New Captain Pete narrowly escapes disaster. Photo: Fred Pompermayer



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• Eyelash Extensions • Facials

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behinD the lens

Branching Out From skate decks to sunsets, Steve Guisinger’s got it covered By Neal Kearney

Steve “Birdo” Guisinger has been entrenched in the local skating scene for more than two decades. He started Consolidated Skateboards from the ground up in 1992. The company gained notoriety for its punk rock team and equally punk rock public ad campaigns, which cried foul over the infiltration of giant corporations (such as Nike) into the world of skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. No punches were pulled and Consolidated’s motto became the Nike-taunting phrase “Don’t Do It.” “I just want the surf, skate and snowboard industries to stay in passionate hands—the hands of the people who do it because they love it, not some giant, corporate entity,” Guisinger says of his grassroots stance on the board sports industry. Running a skateboard company has been his primary focus, but Guisinger has developed a new passion project—photography. A hobbyist photographer since the mid ’90s, Guisinger came together in January 2014 with Dave “Nelly” Nelson and Matt



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B e h i n d t h e L e ns : Steve “Birdo” Guisinger



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B e h i n d t h e L e ns : Steve “Birdo” Guisinger

“Roots” Walker to start a collective called “NRB Photography.” They cultivated an online presence by sharing their best photos on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Their social media clout is strong and growing, and has provided the three with an easy way to share their work with the masses. So what makes Guisinger’s shutter click? We ask him below. What is your favorite subject matter to photograph? I learned [photography by] shooting skateboarding, so my passion started with that. I love getting out into nature and shooting sunrises and sunsets. That’s one of the benefits of shooting during sunrise and sunset—they offer great opportunities to take in all the beautiful scenery. Many times I’ll leave the beach or mountains thinking, ‘Wow! I just saw that!’ One time I climbed down the cliff at the Davenport Pier, which is pretty sketchy, and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. On my way out in the dark I thought I was going to die and the parting gift was that I got to witness that once-in-a-lifetime sunset. What gear are you packing? Right now I shoot with a Canon 6d and a great assortment of lenses. I also have an SPL water housing that I shoot water stuff with. How did NRB Photography start? Matt “Roots” Walker, Nelly and I grew up together and all have a love for photography, surfing and skating. We decided to team up and share our photos together. It’s great because we can hang out and learn from each other. What makes the partnership work? We all have somewhat different styles. Nelly is an amped-out go-getter—definitely not afraid to do what it takes to get a shot. I am into trying new techniques and wild hairs in the field to make a photo unique, and Matt is really technical. He makes sure everything is right and that he has every focal point and exposure covered. It’s a great balance. Plus, both of those guys have an amazing eye. I feel really lucky to have teamed up with them and to have them as longtime friends. What has the response to NRB Photography been? It seems like people are stoked. It’s so flattering when people like and share your photo. We feed off of it and, in turn, want to give our followers our best efforts. How do you feel about water photography? It’s way harder than it looks. I’ve got mad respect for the dudes who charge and shoot surfing from the water. Especially with a wide-angle lens. You’ve got to be so close to the guy getting barreled or doing an



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B e h i n d t h e L e ns : Steve “Birdo” Guisinger



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B e h i n d t h e L e ns : Steve “Birdo” Guisinger

air to get the shot, so there is a definite skill for getting in the right place at the right time. Dudes like Nelly, who rip at surfing and take surf photos, have an instinct about when and where the wave is going to bowl or barrel and get themselves into that spot. It’s a crazy talent. When is your favorite time of day to take photos? Sunrise and sunset have the best light. Everything looks more amazing with that golden light. Not to mention that blue hour, about an hour after sunset, and shooting with a full moon. I also really love long exposures at night. Clouds move, water moves and it gives photos such a cool, unique look.



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s anta cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

The Seven-Mile Miracle

Dispatches from the North


Photos and Text by Dave “Nelly” Nelson It’s hard to imagine the beauty and power of the North Shore of Oahu until you experience it for yourself. The island has so much to offer—its rich history and culture being some of my favorite aspects. If you are a surfer, it’s the absolute mecca as well as the proving ground where the world’s best showcase their skills. With the quality of waves and their proximity to the beach, it’s no wonder why this famed stretch of coastline is referred to as the “Seven-Mile Miracle.” Here’s that incredible vista as seen through my lens.

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ne drizzly Thursday in November, a friend and I followed the Brook Trail Loop

in Pescadero Creek County Park from its high point atop a grassy ridge down to a creek-cut forest seemingly straight out of the Jurassic era. We’d been chatting nonstop all morning, but as we entered a zone of enormous ferns and filtered daylight, we kept falling silent and stopping to take it all in. In every direction stood massive mature redwood trees, their true size coming gradually into focus as our eyes adjusted to the light and scale of the place. They stood with a presence beyond description: survivors from another world.

By Tracy Hukil Photos: George Saitas

In some ways the most remarkable thing about that scene was not the silent giants rising from mist-shrouded hillsides but the fact that it unfolded 18 miles from Palo Alto, birthplace of Silicon Valley. Then again, for some environmentalists, that’s been the whole idea all along. In a 1902 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, redwood crusader Carrie Stevens Walter wrote this:



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outDoors: The Great Park

◀ Continued from Page 62

“Imagine a time in the not very remote future when the whole peninsula from San Francisco down to San Jose shall become one great city; then picture, at its very doorway, this magnificent domain of redwood forest and running streams, the breathing place of millions of cramped and crowded denizens of the city.” At the time, Walter was a leader in the upstart Sempervirens Club, which had formed to save the old-growth redwoods in what is now known as Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Their action led to the creation of California’s first permanent state park: Big Basin, naturally. Today, 110 years later, the group that now calls itself Sempervirens Fund is poised to manifest Walter’s vision of a sanctuary just over the ridge from 7.4 million Bay Area souls. Measuring 195 square miles, it contains all the biggest old-growth redwood groves south of the Golden Gate Bridge. It incorporates 700 miles of waterways and 30 subwatersheds. It may one day include a national monument. It’s an idea of such scale and significance that the Sempervirens Fund calls it, simply, the Great Park.

“Imagine a time in the

If you start at Alice’s Restau-

not very remote future

Boulevard and Highway 84,

when the whole peninsula

ing Highway 84, Highway 1,

rant, at the corner of Skyline and draw a big rectangle us-

from San Francisco

Highway 17 and Skyline Bou-

down to San Jose shall

have roughly circumscribed

become one great city; then picture, at its very

levard as the sides, you will the massive park. This may leave you wondering what, exactly, this Great

doorway, this magnificent

Park really is. What kind of

domain of redwood forest

cadero, Davenport—inside its

and running streams.”—

other parks? Inside that big

park has towns—Felton, Pesborders? Or, for that matter,

Redwood advocate Carrie

200-square-mile rectangle

Stevens Walter in a 1902

cherished open spaces—Big

San Francisco Chronicle article

lie some of the state’s most

The Great Park BY THE NUMBERS: 195

square miles


acres of protected land


additional acres planned to be protected


miles of waterways




endangered or threatened animal species


rare or endangered plant species


miles of trails (and counting)



Basin, Año Nuevo, Castle Rock—as well as county parks like Quail Hollow in Santa Cruz County and Pescadero

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O u t d oor s: The Great Park

Creek in San Mateo County. That doesn’t even include the BLM-

The point is that, after the Great Park is complete, the redwood

owned Coast Dairies property, the subject of a campaign for na-

ecosystem won’t be destroyed or hopelessly fragmented. Ani-

tional monumenthood, or San Vicente Redwoods, which, at 8,500

mals will still be able to live there. Fish will be able to swim and

acres, is one of the crown jewels of the Great Park.

spawn in the streams. Plants will be able to thrive there and absorb climate-changing carbon from the atmosphere. The Great

In a nutshell, the goal of the Great Park is not to build a gated

Park will still be able to support the 11 endangered or threatened

recreation area with a ranger kiosk, it’s to preserve an intact red-

species of animal and the 33 species of rare or endangered plant

wood ecosystem spanning 138,000 acres on the windward side of

sthat currently make their homes there. That includes animals

the Santa Cruz Mountains.

like the marbled murrelet, a seabird that needs old-growth coastal trees for its nest, and the mountain lion, which needs undisRight now, about 99,000 of

turbed areas for birthing and raising its young. It also includes

those acres are protected

less charismatic living things like the Ohlone manzanita, which

will be a crazy quilt of wild

in the form of parks, open

occurs only on Lockheed-Martin land and looks to most people

spaces, water district proper-

like every other manzanita—yet is nevertheless a unique species.

lands, recreation areas,

ties and the like. That leaves

agricultural land and

39,000 acres that still need

In short, a completed Great Park means biodiversity, clean water

protection from development.

and clean air. It also means big fun.

It doesn’t all have to turn into

The opportunities for outdoor play in the Great Park are stag-

parks. In fact, in the end the

gering. Already it contains 375 miles of trails and 28 camp-

Great Park will be a crazy quilt of wild lands, recreation areas,

grounds, and that’s without the 40 miles of San Vicente Red-

agricultural land and working forests where low-yield harvest of

woods trail in the pipeline or the network that will eventually

second-growth trees will offset land maintenance costs, as it will

crisscross Coast Dairies.

In the end, the Great Park

working forests.

in San Vicente Redwoods.



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At full buildout, three major regional trails—Skyline-to-the-Sea, the California Coastal Trail and the summit-trotting Bay Area Ridge Trail—will traverse sections of the Great Park. One day, with luck and some well-placed easements, it might even be possible to hike from Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to the Pacific Ocean via San Vicente Redwoods. Reed Holderman, executive director of Sempervirens Fund, says the group aims to complete its protection of the Great Park during the two-year tenure of Board President Fred Keeley, who came into the position on July 1 of last year. “Ideally we’ll complete The Great Park while he’s president,” Holderman said last summer. “We’ve been building to this point. Now’s the time.” Traci Hukill is co-founder and editorial director of Hilltromper, an online outdoor recreation resource for Santa Cruz County. Find it at

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s anta cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

Spring fashion in Santa Cruz By Christa Martin,

Photos: Nick Chao

Santa Cruz fashion springs forward this season. Mild temperatures are matched by peekaboo stints from the sun, calling for a change of wardrobe. Shed jackets and scarves and step into this season’s styles. For Santa Cruzans with an aversion to pastels, take the seasonal color palette and make it your own. Use pink in your accessories and make your grounding color a strong burgundy. Pair with classy gray booties and distressed boyfriend jeans. For an alternative look, ditch robin’s egg blue and choose navy. Add clogs to accommodate the change in weather and a top with a cutout back—perfect for a bright spring day. About the shoot: Santa Cruz Waves magazine teamed up with The Penny Rose (a Santa Cruz fashion blog) to create this spring editorial fashion spread. Photographer Nick Chao captured these images during a photo shoot at San Lorenzo Garden Center, while Christa Martin styled and produced the project. Crew: Photographer, Nick Chao / Stylist, Creative Director, Christa Martin / Model, Heather Chase / Makeup, Jillian Wilkey for Salon on the Square / Hair, Sheryle Pettet for Salon on the Square.

Clothing. Look 1: Boots, Coclico, Ringo (Smudge Color), $423, Jade / Pink Clutch, Lee Coren, $70, Jade / Jeans, Citizens of Humanity, Corey, $250, Cameron Marks / Sweater, Loma, $390, Cameron Marks / Triple Leiter Necklace, Erin Considine, $300, Cameron Marks / Cuff, $57, Click Click Bang / Rose Gold Earrings, $88, Blank Verse Jewelry. Look 2: Clogs, Maguba, Stylist’s Own / Clutch, Tracey Tanner, Carmen, Cobalt Distressed, $225, Cameron Marks / Top, Lauren Moffatt, $295, Cameron Marks / Jacket, Lauren Moffatt, $390, Cameron Marks / Jeans, Citizens of Humanity, Corey, $250, Cameron Marks / Cuff, $57, Click Click Bang.

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Fash i on : Terry McInerney & Nuala Leather

Leather worker Terry McInerney is one skilled bag lady By Christa Martin Growing up in a small town in Ireland, Terry McInerney was introduced to fine arts at a young age. “My mom was a huge crafter,” says McInerney of her teacher. “Today, she ties fishing flies professionally and travels around the world giving demonstrations. She’s one of the only women in her field.” And McInerney is one of the only women in her field in Santa Cruz. The skillful leather worker sells her functional and stylish bags at the lifestyle boutique Stripe and on Etsy. But while she learned how to sew clothing, construct toys and knit as a youngster, it was only recently that she dived into the medium of working with leather. Seven years ago she was a stay-at-home mom taking a respite from a career in social work. She walked by Leatherwise, a store in Santa Cruz, for the umpteenth time and finally decided to go inside. “That was it,” she says. “Everything happened. The smell of it and the feel of it—I had to work [with leather].” McInerney scooped up a pile of leather and took it home. Applying her sewing skills and some instructions from the owner of Leatherwise, she set to work creating her first bag. That design would become her signature piece in her leather line, Nuala. Throwing the inaugural bag over her shoulder one day, McInerney stepped out to the drug store where she was approached by Suna Lock, a local business woman who was about to open Stripe. “Suna said, ‘I like your bag,’ and my daughter said, ‘My mom makes them,’” the artisan recalls. Creativity and commerce merged during that chance encounter, and McInerney has been selling her work at Stripe ever since. Nowadays, her classic bags are her best sellers, but she also creates bracelets, watches, wallets and clutches. “I love seeing [my bags] out and about in public,” she says as she nods at a passing woman carrying a Nuala bag. “Crafting is like therapy.” For some retail therapy of your own, find Nuala bags at Stripe, 107 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, or at nualaleather. 70


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s anta cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

Sand artist Andres Amador finds beauty in the ephemeral By Damon Orion Photos courtesy of Andres Amador

Sculptor/illustrator Leonard Baskin was painting with broad strokes when he said, “Art is man’s distinctly human way of fighting death.” While it would probably be fair to say that most artists hope to create works that will outlast them, it’s quite the opposite for Bay Area-based landscape artist Andres Amador, whose creations exist solely for the here-and-now. Using a rake as his paintbrush, Amador turns the beaches of Northern California into canvases for his art, much of which consists of crop-circle-like patterns and sacred geometry-style designs. Soon after being brought into this world, these impressive large-scale images are erased by the tide. Amador, who holds a degree in environmental sciences from UC Davis, claims that the practice of creating extremely perishable artwork has given him valuable insights into life’s temporary nature. Most people have to go through a major crisis such as the unexpected loss of a loved one in order to gain this kind of perspective. “Fortunately, I’ve been granted this kind of visceral connection to this idea without tragedy, which I feel grateful for,” he says. “What’s the motivation to do anything when we know that none of our efforts will persevere not too much longer after our lifetime?” the artist asks rhetorically. This, he muses, can be a dispirit-

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AR T I ST P R OF I L E: andres amador

ing thought, sometimes leading one down a path of depression or nihilism. “But I’ve had the opposite movement, which is that every moment is precious,” he goes on. “What I leave behind doesn’t matter. What I’m experiencing right now—that’s all that matters. Once I started moving down that track, it was really clear for me: What do I want my life experience to be at any particular moment? I would like it to be filled with … joy, exploration, wonder, love.” Lest we get the impression that Amador has mastered the art of non-attachment, he notes that he has a garage filled with sculptures that he can’t bear to part with. He describes the impermanent aspect of his beach art as “just a happenstance, a feature of the location and of the medium.” Before he got into sand art, Amador was doing large sculptural installations, many of which were geometrically oriented. At festivals and other events where his work was on display, people

Photo: Edward Saenz



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AR T I ST P R OF I L E: andres amador

◀ Continued from Page 76

Photo: Michelle Ranson

would often ask him about the meanings behind the shapes of

Amador tends to get extremely focused while creating his art,

these self-stabilizing structures. At a loss for answers, he began

often forgetting to eat, drink or use the bathroom. “Even though

to research the meanings that people have ascribed to specific

I may need to go to the bathroom when I start, it all goes away

geometrical shapes. This led him into the areas of ancient archi-

once I begin,” he says. “So there’s definitely hyper-focus, which is

tecture, sacred geometry and crop circles, the last of which he

almost a type of meditation.”

describes as “essentially the layout of architecture: a two-dimensional design that you can build from.”

Even off the shore, he has a “be-here-now” demeanor that bears witness to the lessons he’s learned while creating hundreds of

One day in 2004, Amador was on the beach in Hawaii, showing a

beach paintings over the past 10 years. Among other things, this

friend what he had learned about various geometric principles.

practice has taught him to live for the present, not for the future.

While illustrating these ideas with a walking stick, he realized that

“I ask myself, and I ask other people when they’re facing issues,

the beach could be the ideal canvas for art that mimics patterns

‘How is your light shining? In doing whatever [you’re doing now],

found in the natural world.

is it having your light shine brighter?’” he notes. “I find that if I have a connection to that as my guide, I pretty much can’t make a

“Since I’ve been doing the art, I’ve noticed patterns so much more

wrong choice, because I’m really living for my life experience right

keenly all around me, whether they’re made by nature or they’re

now … which isn’t to discount thinking toward the future, plan-

on a piece of fabric,” the artist notes. “I’m always taking pictures

ning and all that, but I think those things take care of themselves

of the things that catch my eye so that I can study them and dis-

when we’re being true to the thing that is bringing us life force

entangle what’s happening.”

right now.” See more of his work at visit



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“Every moment is precious. What I leave behind doesn’t matter. What I’m experiencing right now—that’s all that matters.”

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UPCOMING EVENTS • Finding Flow: Introduction to Hula Hoop Dance

• Pinot Paradise

| Living in Santa Cruz, we are lucky to be

Hula-hoop dance is a quintessential element of a sunset beach

in an area with such an extensive number of excellent wineries.

scene in Santa Cruz. The beauty and flow of an adept hoop

The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association is present-

dancer is astoundingly beautiful. If you are an adult interested

ing an event that will give you a deeper understanding of the

in learning the art form, this class is perfect for you. It is aimed

wine you drink and help you discover many new wineries in our

at adults just beginning to explore hoop dance. Starts Feb. 1

area. The three-day event includes tastings of exquisite local pi-

and continues every Sunday from 4 - 5 p.m. for 12 sessions

nots and an educational forum about the process by which the

at 2801 Mission St. Ext., Santa Cruz. $10 drop-in, $40 for five

wine is created. March 20 - 22 at The Mountain Winery, 14831

classes and $60 for 10 classes

Pierce Road, Saratoga. Day One—Wine Technical Session: $65; Day Two—Pathway to Pinot Paradise: $25; Day Three—Pinot

• Santa Cruz Baroque Festival

| This five-piece concert

Noir Grand Cruz Tasting: $85-$100.

series aims to bring old music back to life. It features early clasFeb. 21, March 1, April 11 and May 2 at the UC Santa Cruz

• Santa Cruz County Symphony Concerts: “Pacific Perspectives” | It has been said that the Santa Cruz

Recital Hall, 1156 High St. General $25, Seniors (62+) $20, youth

Symphony has become one of the best groups south of San

and college students with ID $5.

Francisco and north of Los Angeles. Having such a magnificent

sical music of the Baroque period as well as neo-Baroque works.

ensemble so conveniently located in our city is incredible, and

• Migration Festival

| The Migration Festival is great for

in this upcoming concert, semi-local Bay Area talent will be cel-

families who love the outdoors and enjoy learning about the

ebrated through the performance of Daniel Stewart’s Sinfonia

world they live in. Kids can participate in games and crafts that

and Lou Harrison’s Pacifika Rondo. Along with pieces by Bay

celebrate animals that migrate to our area, watch skits, listen to

Area composers, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto will be performed

migratory animal talks and enjoy live music. Feb. 14 from 11

by Youjin Lee. March 21 at 8 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium, 307

a.m. to 4 p.m. at Natural Bridges State Park. Free.

Church St. and March 22 at the Mello Center in Watsonville. $25-$70.

• Banff Mountain Film Festival

| This international

film festival presented by National Geographic and North Face will instill or reaffirm a deep-seated lust for adventure. The short films, which are all oriented around different outdoor sports and adventures, will take the audience on a journey across some of the highest mountains and wildest water imaginable. Feb. 20, 21 and 22 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Rio Theatre. $18-$20

• Coastal Spirits - Countywide Artists

| Come sup-

port local artists by attending this locals-only art show presented by the Santa Cruz Art League. If you are an artist residing in Santa Cruz County, consider submitting a piece you are proud of. The deadline for submissions is March 1. Make sure to bring two labels for your art piece and $35 for the installation fee. Reception is March 7 from 3 - 5 p.m. Exhibition is March 6 – 22. 526 Broadway, Santa Cruz. Free.



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A Taste of Tuscany in the Capitola Village

Caruso’s Tuscan Cuisine and Pizzeria Capitola Mercantile, 115 San Jose Avenue, Capitola, CA 95010

831.465.9040 | Dinner served 5pm-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday

“in Mah’ Belly Deli”



Cold Beer • Wine Soft Drinks • Bagels Java Bob’s Coffee Deli Fresh Sandwiches Beach Supplies s anta c ruz WaVe s Magaz i n e Friendly Service!

Deke’s Market

Complete Mini-Market 831-476-5897 334 7th Ave. Santa Cruz, Ca

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Step into easy spring gardening with water-smart succulents

By Linda Koffman

The vernal equinox blossoms on March 20, and there’s no better

and prefer more shade), and you’re ready to put some hardy succu-

time than the first day of spring to start one of the oldest hob-

lents into the ground, planter boxes or pots. After adding some rock

bies around. Gardening—that dirtying, meditative, get-on-your-

mulch atop your beds for increased drainage and heat retention,

hands-and-knees humbling communion with Mother Nature—

your fresh family of flora will require little post-planting attention.

makes for some purifying mental and physical fun. Sure, it may be the ultimate “Dummy Garden” (as a friend of mine But Santa Cruz, populated with many a landscaper and outdoor

of colors, geometric shapes and sizes. Plus,

newbie gardeners whose novice hands may

propagating their cuttings can create the

not be as soil-stained as their neighbors’. Maybe you want some verdant company enlivening your abode but you don’t want to do a lot of maintenance. Maybe you want lush leaves and flower bursts but you don’t want to impose on the environment with hefty water needs. Be not afraid, ye virgin of the plant world, I’ve been there, and a low-impact garden with high rewards is within your soon-to-be green thumb’s reach. Where to begin your baby steps? Drought- and neophyte-tolerant succulents are your new best friends. Gather some well-draining cactus soil, hone in on your full sun to partial shade areas (but take note of specimens that can burn easily



recently quipped), but succulents get the job done in all sorts

enthusiast, can be an intimidating place for

s anta cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

Sure, it may be the

natural gift that keeps on giving. Remember

ultimate “Dummy

not make news headlines, but it will fare

Garden,” but succulents get the job done in all sorts of colors, geometric shapes and sizes.

Dolly the sheep? Your at-home cloning may much better—with way fewer financial and feeding needs. Here are a few of this beginner gardener’s faves, but be forewarned: What may start out as a quickie endeavor could unearth your latest and long-lasting obsession. Continued on Page 86 ▶

V o l 1 .5 - F e b / M ar ch 20 15



FI E L D R E P OR T : Succulents

◀ Continued from Page 84

Echeveria imbricata is the inescapable star

Warning: What may start

of many succulent-heavy landscapes. Dubbed

out as a quickie endeavor

the “blue rose,” it’s clear what’s in a name with this plant’s radial and powdery blue leaves that mimic the elegant unfolding of a rose. When summer heat hits, expect long red stems with flowers tinted red and orange to jut out toward the sky.

Sempervivum tectorum, or “hen

S en eci o rowleyanus, commonly known as “string of pearls” for obvious reasons upon

first sight, can be striking when disseminated to have a waterfall curtain effect. Literal strings of tiny green globes that retain water

one savings because you get clumpings

hang delicately over planters or pot edges.

multi-tiered flower heads. The mother

Crassula ovata is the ever-present “jade plant,”

plant spawns smaller offshoots that are easy to pick

beloved in feng shui because its deep green and

off and replant elsewhere.

fleshy coin-shaped leaves supposedly bring good

Calandrinia grandiflora, a true winner for its grayish-green body and far-reaching tentacular

juju that attracts wealth and luck. Jade, which can also be configured to have a bonsai style, blooms clusters of mini white flowers with pointy petals.

stems that lunge forth with fuchsia flowers like jewels erupting from the ground, is a stress-

Senecio mandraliscae, widely known

free scene stealer. Also known as Chilean rock

as “blue chalk sticks,” groups together

purslane, this perennial pops with vibrant color to make

long, slender fingers that reach up and

an eye-catching accent when nestled against walls, fencing or

outward. Sit back and watch as cooler

bed borders.

tones of silver and blue run loose with an expansive, bushy effect.

Kalanchoe tomentosa






Aeonium garnet is another low-growing and

leaves whose soft, fuzzy and gray

wide rosette phenom, only it’s the ginger of the

characteristics earn it the nicknames

family, with bronze and red hues that darken in

“donkey ears,” “panda plant” and “pussy

the sun to make it a standout from the typical green

ears,” while its dotty brown edges get it


dubbed “chocolate soldier.” This one is especially alluring to the touch and can be great as contrasting decorative undergrowth at the base of taller potted plants.


and long-lasting obsession.

and chicks,” is also a popular two-forof robust green foliage also shaped like


could unearth your latest

s anta cru z WaVe s Magaz i n e

V o l 1 .5 - F e b / M ar ch 20 15



Dining guiDe

. Downtown .

Woodstock’s Pizza Craft Brews. Legendary Pizza. Heated Outdoor Patio.

Assembly Seasonal rustic Californian cuisine. 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

710 Front St., Santa Cruz (831) 824-6100

Zachary’s Diner-style American cuisine in a casual family-friendly atmosphere.

Cafe Mare Authentic Italian dining, fresh, organic local ingredients. 740 Front St., Santa Cruz

(831) 458-1211

El Palomar Unique and fresh Mexican cuisine, family recipes.

(831) 426-4852

Kiantiʼs Pizza & Pasta Bar Unique menu, family style, full bar. (831) 469-4400

The Wharf, Boardwalk . & Harbor . 2218 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

(831) 423-4545


334 7th Ave., Santa Cruz

Ideal Bar & Grill

(831) 423-5271

(831) 420-1700

493 Lake Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 479-3430

Pleasure Pizza Downtown Offering traditional pizza, as well as new and

. Midtown .

exciting tastes and textures. (831) 600-7859


Sushi made with fresh-caught seafood and locally grown produce.

1222 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

Pono & The Reef Traditional Hawaiian grill, poke bar, fresh ingredients,

(831) 600-7093

Aloha Island Grille Authentic Hawaiian-style plate lunches.

full bar. (831) 426-7666

1700 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz

(831) 479-3299

River Cafe Local, organic, farm fresh gourmet. 415 River St., Santa Cruz

located by the wharf, fun atmosphere.

Johnny’s Harborside Fresh seafood with stunning view of the harbor.

dining atmosphere.

120 Union St., Santa Cruz

(831) 476-5897

106 Beach St., Santa Cruz

Pacific Thai Authentic Thai Cuisine and Boba Teas in a modern and casual

1415 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 476-4560

/ Afghan food.

1319 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 423-1711

Deke's Market Complete mini-market and the “In Mah’ Belly Deli.”

Laili Santa Cruz's answer to high-quality organic Mediterranean / Indian / Pakistani 101 Cooper St., Santa Cruz

The Crow’s Nest Iconic restaurant and bar located at the harbor.

1100 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 427-0646

1534 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831) 425-7575

Hulaʼs Island Grill California twist on Hawaiian island grill and tiki bar. 221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz

819 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

Zoccoli’s Iconic delicatessen, sandwiches, salads, sides.

1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 427-4444

Chaminade Indulge in decadent culinary choices and fine dining in Santa Cruz. (831) 420-1280

1 Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz

(831) 475-5600

Rosie McCannʼs Irish Pub & Restaurant High-quality pub fare, 29+

Charlie Hong Kong Offering healthy, flavorful Asian street cusine.

rotating beer taps, and a generous selection of Irish whiskeys.

1141 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

1220 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 426-9930

(831) 426-5664



s anta c ruz WaVe s Magaz i n e

Continued on Page 90 ▶


d -We Sun r-Sat m p u 10 m Th 11p


A H O L A D E V R E S ! Y L I A D

HAWAIIAN GRILL • SANTA CRUZ Over 20 different types of poke all made to order!

Traditional Hawaiian plates and recipes from Hawai’i...

Amazing wraps & salads Vegetarian and gluten free items!



Best Voted Food aiian •Haw urant Resta w e N r •Best up fo unner iendly r f and r • Kid h c n u L d es an •Best ll plat year e •Sma h t nt of a r u a •Rest

Catering V o lavailable! 1 .5 - F e b / M arCheck ch 20 15 it | out 89 online and email us for more info!

Di n i n g gu i D e

◀ Continued from Page 88

The Crêpe Place Array of savory and sweet crêpes, French food and live muisc. 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 429-6994

(831) 458-2321

(831) 426-2739

Vasili’s Authentic and fresh, with vegetarian-friendly Greek food. (831) 458-9808

334 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz (831) 425-5300

Hollins House At Pasatiempo. Magnificent views, award-winning cuisine, and

(831) 471-8115

. Eastside & Capitola . Canton Cantonese, Szechuan and other Asian fare, full bar.

outstanding wine list. (831) 459-9177

900 41st Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 475-8751

Mission St. BBQ Serving up smoked barbecue, craft beer and live music.

(831) 427-0135

West End Tap & Kitchen Traditional pub flavors with a California twist.

1618 Mission St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060

and list of local farmers and ranchers.

. Westside .

20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz

Ristorante Avanti Featuring local, sustainable, organic foods. Menu, wine list,

1501A Mission St., Santa Cruz

burger. Grass-fed beef, fun atmosphere, and a great beer menu. 1520 Mission St., Santa Cruz

(831) 421-0507

1917 Mission St., Santa Cruz

Seabright Brewery Rotating beer selection, with dog-friendly outdoor patio. 519 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz

841 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz

Ristorante Italiano Vintage venue featuring fish and Italian entrees. 555 Soquel Ave., Ste 150, Santa Cruz

Parish Publick House British-influenced pub food with full bar.

(831) 458-2222

Caruso,s Tuscan Cuisine & Pizzeria Authentic Tuscan cuisine and pizza, cozy atmosphere, in the heart of Capitola Village. 115 San Jose Ave., Capitola, CA 95010

(831) 465-9040 Continued on Page 94 ▶



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Dining Guide

◀ Continued from Page 90

Cava Wine Bar Fine wine, good company, great ambiance.

115 San Jose Ave., Capitola

(831) 476-2282

Chill Out Cafe Fatty breakfast burritos, espresso drinks, beautiful garden.

2860 41st Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 477-0543

East Side Eatery, Pleasure Pizza Offering traditional pizza, as well as new and exciting tastes and textures.

800 41st Ave., Santa Cruz

(831) 431-6058

Shadowbrook Fine dining with a romantic setting, cable car lift. A Capitola tradition since 1947.

1750 Wharf Road, Capitola

(831) 475-1511

Süda Contemporary cuisine in retro-modern restaurant. Voted best new restaurant 2013.

3910 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz

(831) 600-7068

Surf City Sandwich Gourmet sandwiches, homemade soup, salads, beer and wine. Opening 2015.

4101 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz

(831) 239-5801

Zelda’s on the Beach Breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner overlooking beautiful Capitola Beach.

203 Esplanade, Capitola

(831) 475-4900

Zizzo’s Coffeehouse & Wine Bar Full-service coffeehouse and excellent wine selection.

3555 Clares St., Capitola

(831) 477-0680

. Soquel . Cafe Cruz Rosticceria and bar, nice atmosphere, fresh and local.

2621 41st Ave., Soquel

(831) 476-3801

Main Street Garden & Cafe Organic Italian Mediterranean in a beautiful landscaped garden.

3101 N Main St., Soquel

(831) 477-9265

Michael's on Main Serving cutting-edge California comfort cuisine, small plates, and salads.

2591 South Main St., Soquel

(831) 479-9777 Continued on Page 96 ▶



Santa Cru z Wave s Magaz i n e



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V o l 1 .5 - F e b / M ar ch 20 15



Dining Guide


◀ Continued from Page 94

. Aptos & Watsonville . Aptos St. BBQ Santa Cruz County's best smoked barbecue, craft brews and live blues every night.

8059 Aptos St., Aptos

(831) 662-1721

burger. Aptos Grass-fed beef, fun atmosphere, great beer menu.

7941 Soquel Drive, Aptos

(831) 662-2811

Cafe Rio Enjoy ocean-front dining with breathtaking views.

131 Esplanade, Aptos

(831) 688-8917

Cantine Wine Pub Extensive selection of wine & beer. Eat, drink, savor.

8050 Soquel Drive, Aptos

(831) 612-6191

Cilantros Parrilla y Cantina Authentic Mexican cuisine with fresh ingredients, high-quality meat and seafood.

1934 Main St., Watsonville

(831) 761-2161

Kauboi Seasonal organic ingredients, traditional Japanese.

8017 Soquel Drive, Aptos

(831) 661-0449

Manuelʼs Mexican Restaurant Traditional, delicious recipes, cooked fresh daily, served with a genuine smile.

261 Center Ave., Aptos

(831) 688-4848

Palapas Restaurant & Cantina Coastal Mexican Cuisine. Extensive tequila selection. Happy Hour, and dinner specials.

21 Seascape Blvd, Aptos


Sanderlings in the Seascape Resort Where your dining experience is as spectacular as the view. 1 Seacscape Resort Drive, Aptos


Severino’s Bar & Grill Award-winning chowders, locally sourced ingredients.

7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos

(831) 688-8987

Zameen Flavorful Mediterranean Cuisine in a casual dining setting

7528 Soquel Drive, Aptos

© 2015 EWC



CAPITOLA / 831 477 9331 1955 41st Avenue

Santa Cru z Wave s Magaz i n e



S anta C r u z Wav e s M ag azi ne

(831) 688-4465

V o l 1 .5 - F e b / M ar c h 20 15






s anta c ruz WaVe s Magaz i n e

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local eats

Community tables offer an experiment in eating with strangers By Elizabeth Limbach

a cold, drizzly Saturday night this past winter, every seat was taken in Assembly, the year-old downtown Santa Cruz restaurant that focuses on local and seasonal cuisine. Chandeliers fashioned from cast replicas of elk antlers hung over the cavernous eatery, casting alternating patches of inky shadow and warm golden light across the dining room. Luckily for my mother, who was visiting from out of town, and me, two seats opened up at the end of one of the restaurant’s community tables. We settled in happily at the table’s edge, our elbows mere inches from the Photos: Jake Thomas

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s anta cru z WaV e s Magaz i n e

Continued on Page 102 ▶

kauboi grill and sushi bar open 7 days a week 4pm to late 831-661-0449 8017 soquel drive, aptos

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10 1

l oc al e at s: Community Tables

thirty-something couple seated beside us.

◀ Continued from Page 100

sembly, we looked at the things that influence us,” says Davis. “We wanted it to feel connected to the community and to foster com-

“We wanted it to feel

There are four community

munity. And we wanted it to be comfortable and relaxed, but with

connected to the

tables arranged down Assem-

an undercurrent of celebration, an undercurrent of merrymaking.”

bly’s center, each with seating for eight to 10 people. Made

This led the owners to ponder places in life that serve this pur-

locally from snag redwood

pose. From town halls and schools to churches and beer halls,

community ... to be

(trees that are dead but still

they considered the elements that have made these institutions

upright), the tables have a

such beloved gathering places throughout the ages.

comfortable and relaxed,

unique reddish hue and spo-

but with an undercurrent

radic pale and dark stripes.

At the center of it all was a common feature: the chance to break

But the tables aren’t just

bread with neighbors.

community and to foster

of celebration and

tables—for Assembly owners Zachary Davis and Ken-

“We felt like the community table was really fundamental to mak-

merrymaking.” —Zachary

dra Baker, they are symbols of

ing that a reality,” Davis says.

Davis, Assembly

endeavors in the pair’s com-

My mother and I did not break bread, per se, with others at our

pany, The Glass Jar, Inc., are

table that blustery night at Assembly, but we did break the ice.

trying to accomplish.

Mid-meal and mid-conversation, my mom turned suddenly to


what Assembly and its sister

our neighbors with her pointer finger raised. “Ah, but sometimes “Before we looked at table layouts or sizes or floor plans for As-

1 02


s anta cru z WaV e s Magaz i n e

they do!” she exclaimed. Not having eavesdropped on our fellow

diners as she apparently did, I had no context for her interjection. “My husband and I met at a bar and we’ve been married for almost 30 years,” she added. The couple laughed and said they stood corrected and everyone returned to enjoying their meals. (I later learned that the woman had said, “No one ever meets the person they marry in a bar,” to which my mother couldn’t help but respond.) The possibility of speaking to people who are not in your party is a condition of sitting at the community table. This is more appealing to some than to others, explains Davis. The host or hostess acts as a filter, identifying “community table people” from the “private table people” and seating customers accordingly. (Shared seating is not, for instance, ideal for private conversations—or break-ups, as one germane Portlandia skit so hilariously demonstrated.) For those who do seek the communal experience, it can be enjoyable and unpredictable. At Assembly’s big tables, Davis has observed old acquaintances get reacquainted and strangers go from polite conversation to sharing a bottle of wine.

ee d are “All I n waves, s ty so me ta re Pizza u s a Ple fine.” and I’m

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½ Price Pitchers and Free Bacon on Anything and FREE Delivery V o l 1 .5 - F e b / M ar c h 20 15


10 3

l oc al e at s: Community Tables

“We’re providing the table where you can either run into some-

ily-style meal with on- and off-menu dishes for 12 adventurous

one and find a place to sit together or meet someone at the

diners. (Reservations can be made by calling 423-2020.)

table and strike up a conversation,” Davis notes while Paul McCartney appropriately belts “Come Together” over the restaurant’s speaker system.

In a time when our eyes

“It could be great for people who are new to town and are looking to make new friends in a new place,” says Soif’s general manager, Christian Groon.

Large, shared dining tables

are often fixed on screens,

are nothing new—the trend

In a time when our eyes are often fixed on screens, and we tweet,

are communal tables

can be traced back to the

post and like in order to feel some sense of connection, are com-

French Revolution, and ta-

munal tables part of a renaissance of interaction—an antidote

bles that involve eating with

that has surfaced to counterbalance our tech-induced seclusion?

strangers have peppered res-

Are they a symbol of the human spirit fighting back—of claiming

taurant floors in the foodiest

our place at the table, so to speak?

part of a renaissance of interaction?

of American foodie cities for years. Now, they are part of


the culinary zeitgeist in any town with a high enough concentration of kale- and pour-over coffee-obsessed denizens—as expected

In the very least, they are a recipe for food envy-inspired ordering.

as seasonal ingredients on a menu and food trucks serving Korean

Even the least sociable diners at a community table will inevitably

tacos. Here in Santa Cruz County, flocks of breakfast lovers roost

feast their hungry eyes on the parade of dishes being delivered to

at the communal tables at Silver Spur in Soquel, in a scene that

their neighbors; influenced, consciously or not, by the pouring of a

one Yelp reviewer paints as “a never-ending carousel.” About a mile

ruby-red wine, the presence of a frosty beer, the wafting aromas of a

away, the after-work crowd clinks pints at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop

savory appetizer or the arrival of a chocolaty dessert.

& Pour House’s extensive picnic tables. For Davis, the tables are an opportunity for diners who At Soif Wine Bar, a few blocks away from Assembly, a 12-person community table gets diners in the mood

desire closeness to their food to find closeness through food, as well.

for the wine bar’s menu, which encourages trying wines by the glass and sharing small plates. “I wanted people to experiment and try new things," explains owner Patrice Boyle, "and having a table like this where they don’t know exactly what’s going to happen when they sit down allows them to feel free to experiment and be a little bit more open with their experience.” Soif is taking its experiment one step further with a weekly community dinner that they launched in January. Every


evening, the big table hosts a prix fixe, fam-

1 04


s anta c ruz WaVe s Magaz i n e

“I absolutely think there is a relationship between wanting to know about your food, where it’s sourced from, the path of travel it had, and then what the dining experience is like and how you share it,” says Davis. “If you don’t believe in the importance of the sourcing and how food is raised, how it’s prepared and delivered, if you’re just eating for subsistence, then there’s not a whole lot to share. People who seek out a place like this are seeking to engage on all of those levels. And I think that spirit is catching.”




10 5

ASSEMBLEforFOOD.COM ~ 1108 PaciямБc Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA ~ (831) 824-6100


With his boozed-up days far behind him, musician and pro surfer Russell Smith forges ahead with his rock/bluegrass band Winkipop City By Damon Orion | Band photos: Janet Allinger

1 06


Based on the playful title EP Phone Home, you might ex-

ronment where surf culture went hand-in-hand with an extreme

pect to hear something lighthearted—maybe even funny—when

lifestyle. “In this town, we went through a time when we were

you throw on the debut release from local bluegrass/rock band

just doing our own thing, and the thing to do was to party,” the

Winkipop City. Instead, the opening track is a churning, moody

34-year-old musician and pro surfer recalls. “We all were just go-

little tune called “Whiskey,” which begins with vocalist/guitarist

ing through our issues and numbing [ourselves] to whatever we

Russell Smith announcing that he is “wasted on your side of the

were numbing down to. It’s fun when you’re doing it, but the next

sun,” and ends with him proclaiming, “I’m free every day. I get by

day is never fun. I learned that the hard way, because I probably

with no fear today.”

did it a thousand times … at least.”

Smith, who wrote the lyrics to “Whiskey” by freestyling, hadn’t

While Smith respects people who can have a few drinks without

given much thought to the meaning of these words until it came

going over the edge, he has never been such a person. “For me, it

time to shoot a video for the song. While kicking around ideas for

was all the way to the end: one [drink] is too many and 10 is not

the clip, local cinematographer Toby Thiermann picked up on

enough,” notes the singer, who quit drinking nearly a decade ago.

something that the songwriter himself had missed: The song can

“Every time I did it, it turned into a blackout fest. I’d get phone calls

be taken as a tale of Smith’s alcohol- and drug-laden past. Like

the next day: 'Hey, dude, you slapped me down at The Catalyst,

many other members of his peer group, Smith grew up in an envi-

bro. What the hell’s going on, man?’ I’d get multiple calls like that.

s anta c ruz WaV e s Magaz i n e

Continued on Page 108 ▶

z u r C a t n a S

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V o l 1 .5 - F e b / M ar c h 20 15


10 7

M u si c : Winkipop City

◀ Continued from Page 106

Photo: Nelly / SPL Waterhousing

After apologizing for six, seven years, I was done apologizing.”

for approximately 45 years, Bob was able to listen to the songs once and then nail almost all of his tracks in single takes. “We

Intentionally or not, Smith funneled those years of struggle into

kept pretty much everything,” Russell recalls. “That’s how easy it

the lyrics for “Whiskey.” “Subliminally, I wrote about myself a

was for him to read the music and play along with it. If you listen

little bit,” he admits. “I wasn’t even really aware of it until Toby

to it, what you’re hearing there is totally improv.”

started making a video.” “Whiskey” serves as an introduction to Winkipop City’s unusual bluegrass/rock sound, which owes much to the banjo playing of Smith’s father Bob, whom he jokingly calls “the common man. He’s a carpenter, and his name is Bob Smith, all right?” The younger Smith brought his dad into the fold soon after listening to the first six songs he had recorded with Winkipop City. Feeling that there was something missing from these recordings, he asked his father to overdub some banjo tracks onto the preexisting material. As someone who has been playing bluegrass music

1 08


s anta c ruz WaV e s Magaz i n e

It’s easy to picture the father-and-son dynamic making for some

members of his former band,

memorable band drama, but apart from what Smith laughingly

Machete Fight, as being espe-

alludes to as “a few little weird outbursts [on my part] that came

cially helpful in that arena.

from a childhood issue or something,” things have been going

“All of the chords that I’m

smoothly. “It’s been great connecting on a different level than fa-

playing now in Winkipop City

ther/son stuff,” the guitarist offers.

is stuff I learned from them."

owes much to the banjo

Smith, whose grandmother was also a bluegrass musician, began

Though he contrasts the all-

playing of Smith’s father,

playing guitar at about 16. While his father played a key role in

for-one ethos of playing in a

getting him into music, he notes that the elder Smith is “so ad-

band with the solitariness of

vanced that it was hard for him to dumb down and teach me, so I

surfing, Smith gets the same

kind of just learned by myself.”

feelings when things are going well in either situation. “Playing

Winkipop City’s unusual bluegrass/rock sound

bob smith.

in a band, once you connect on something and everyone’s on the The musician adds that his dad and the other members of

right beat, it feels good,” he says.

Winkipop City—percussionist Mario Martinez and bassist Ian Smith—are well versed in music theory. “They really know the

Learn more on Winkipop City’s Facebook page:

instruments; they know the wording and the universal language


to music,” he says. “Maybe I’m singing and writing the songs, but I’m learning from them. They’re really nice to me as far as helping me learn what I’m even playing, because I’m just going off of hearing it and chords I’ve learned from friends.” He cites the

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Downhill skateboarding is really gnarly. That might sound obvious, but I, for one, had no idea just how gnarly it is. I’m a hardcore skateboarder who’s spent years bombing hills in San Francisco, but what these downhillers do is so next level that it’s a disservice to call it only “next level.” It transcends whatever description I might give it. My eyes were recently opened to this when I was told that Caliber Truck Co. made skateboard trucks for downhill long boards. This brought to my mind images of racers in leather suits and pointy helmets speeding down a straight line. You know, the type of downhill skateboarding that’s like Nascar—all about competition and who can get from point A to point B the fastest. My assumptions were quickly corrected when I watched Caliber’s feature-length video, Grade, which is available on their website, With California as an influence, a new movement called “free-ride downhill skateboarding” is emerging across America and, as it turns out, the Santa Cruz company is the premier provider of equipment for this movement. “What we do is definitely influenced by our California roots of surfing and skateboarding,” says Caliber owner Brandon Stewart. “We wear street clothes and just regular skateboard gear, and we are helping skaters break new ground.”

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Busi n e ss: Caliber Truck Co.

Just like competitive downhill skateboarding, the free-ride guys go extremely fast. But any similarity between the two ends there. “We are all about style,” says Caliber General Manager Spencer Joseph. The emphasis on style is palpable when you watch Caliber’s promotional videos. The riders draw creative lines, ride beautiful terrain and push the limits physically and mentally. Imagine bombing down a hill at 50 miles per hour and then power sliding through a hairpin turn. It’s exciting to watch, like a mix of drift-car racing, extreme motorcycle riding and surfing and snowboarding on concrete. Stewart, who before starting Caliber sold electronic components to make ends meet, wanted to shift his career to reflect this love of skateboarding. Fresh from San Francisco State College of Business he launched Caliber from his home during the winter of 2010. “I assembled 300 trucks on my kitchen table,” he says, adding that he was inundated with Christmas orders as soon as he opened for business. “I came in at the right time, when the sport was seeing 400-percent growth. Things have calmed down a lot since then.”



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Busi n e ss: Caliber Truck Co.

But business remains strong for “the biggest downhill skateboard truck company.”

“The faster you go, the better everything

“We’ve been able to develop

works.” —General Manager Spencer

a geometry that decreases


stability,” says Stewart. “We

When we spoke, a large order of trucks was being packaged for shipping to Europe.

speed wobbles and increases are not reinventing the wheel, just expanding off some of

“Things are still good,” he says. “We don’t keep many trucks in

our favorite truck geometries.” Caliber takes its cue from truck

the warehouse for long. We get ’em, and then we ship ’em.”

companies like Gullwing and Randall trucks. They use reverse kingpin geometry and a secret bushing formula to help athletes

Their repertoire doesn’t just include trucks. “We make everything

achieve high-risk maneuvers while traveling at terminal velocity.

except boards—we partner with Arbor for boards,” Stewart explains. “We make everything else: wheels, bushings, gloves, hard-

“The faster you go, the better everything works,” says Joseph.

ware, and, of course, trucks.”

“[It] takes that commitment to get to that speed where the trucks and wheels work at the optimal level.”

Anyone who’s ridden down a hill on a skateboard has probably experienced speed wobbles. It’s that feeling of impending doom that

One thing that stands out about the company’s office is that there

happens when your trucks begin to tremble, usually just moments

are a lot of skateboards around, but not many longboards. “We

before you wipeout. At the speeds these daredevils achieve, those

are just skateboarders,” explains Joseph. ”We don’t want to get

quivers can have drastic, even deadly, consequences.

typecast as just longboarding. It’s just all skateboarding, and all our guys ride everything.”



Santa Cru z Wave s Magaz i n e

Continued on Page 118 ▶



July 22 - 26


with world-renowned shaman


Brant Secunda Brant Secunda V o l 1 .5 - F e b / M ar c h 20 15



bu si n e ss: Caliber Truck Co.

◀ Continued from Page 116

“What we do is definitely influenced by our California roots of surfing and skateboarding.” —owner brandon stewart

A testament to this fact is that they are launching the second generation of a street-skate truck line in 2015. They also hired Jordan Tabayoyon from NHS, Inc., who was also the skate team manager at Santa Cruz Skateboards. He brings hardcore street-skate sensibility to Caliber. “We want to continue to progress skateboarding of all types,” says Joseph. To that, Stewart adds, “It’s the love of what we do that keeps it fresh and real.”



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Ringing in the holidays and celebrating our new location at 3912 Portola Drive, Ste. 7. Thanks to everyone who was able to join us for making it an incredible evening. Photos: Yvonne Falk

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Santa Cru z Wav e s Magaz i n e

Santa Cruz Waves Magazine Vol 1.5  
Santa Cruz Waves Magazine Vol 1.5  

Feb / March 2015