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VOL 4.5

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 1 FEB/MARCH 2018


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Visit Today! SantaCruzSolarHomes.com | 1018 Rodriguez Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 Call for more info: 831.854.7454 All renderings, floor plans, and maps are artist’s concepts and are not intended to be an actual depiction of the buildings, fencing, walkways, driveways or landscaping. Walls, windows, porches and decks vary per elevation and lot location. In a continuing effort to meet consumer expectations, City Ventures reserves the right to modify prices, floor plans, specifications, and amenities without notice or obligation. Square footages shown are approximate. Please see your Sales Manager for details. ©2017 City Ventures. All rights reserved. BRE LIC #01877626.

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1

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WELCOME TO

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1. Von Lux - beauty, skin care, aesthetics 2. Vice Salon - hair, nails, make-up & more 3. Vanity by the Sea - designer and sport sunglasses 4. Capitola Candy Co. - candy, chocolates & more 5. Lumen Gallery - art, decor, jewelry 6. Capitola Reef - beach boutique/toe rings 7. Beach Break by Marianne’s - ice cream & eats 8. Sea Level - t-shirts/sweatshirts/gifts 9. Capitola Hotel - boutique hotel 10. Sotola - farm-to-table lunch/dinner 11. Margaritaville Capitola - coastal mexican cuisine 12. Zelda’s on the Beach - breakfast/lunch/dinner/music

4 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES *Artistic representation. Locations are generalized.

10


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anta Cruz Veterans Alliance (SCVA) cannabis is grown locally in Santa Cruz County by US military veteran cultivators. Over 75% of the SCVA staff are veterans and we are acutely aware of the negative consequences of the opioid crisis. This is why we began the SCVA Veteran Compassion Program, where once a month we donate a portion of what we grow to our veteran members FREE OF CHARGE.

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Cover boy Anthony Tashnick styles his way through a dreamy green drainer. PHOTO: NELLY / SPL​

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Experience. Integrity. Results. · Full service management, including bookkeeping, maintenance and leasing · Over 20 years of local experience · Fully-staffed maintenance and janitorial services · Currently managing over 750,000 square feet of investment buildings consisting of over 500 rental units 831.688.5100 | alleninc.com Retail | Office | Industrial | Multi-Family | Hospitality

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Deluxe Foods has been the Aptos area’s favorite grocery store for almost 40 years and we are proud to offer great products and services to our customers year round. Deluxe is a one stop shop for all your entertaining needs. The managers are always happy to work with the customer’s requests and special orders to make sure you are getting exactly what you want.

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COME TO

Deluxe Foods of Aptos for all of your Entertaining Needs. Deluxe Foods has a large selection of fresh cut flowers, roses, gift baskets, & sweets for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day. We also have everything you need for your St. Patrick's Day and Easter get togethers. Come check us out!

Local Wine & Large Selection of Hand Crafted Beer

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Non-Toxic Full Service Hair Salon

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Halfway between Steamer Lane and Mavericks.... lies a hidden jewel

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MODERN BANKING. TRADITIONAL SERVICE.

SANTA CRUZ WAVES M AG A ZINE

PUBLISHER TYLER FOX

EDITOR ELIZABETH LIMBACH

PHOTO EDITOR ERIK L ANDRY

PHOTOGRAPHY

SCW PHOTOGRAPHERS TYLER FOX BRYAN GARRISON JEFF "KOOKSON” GIDEON AUDREY L AMBIDAKIS MARA MIL AM LESLIE MUIRHEAD DAVE "NELLY" NELSON NEIL SIMMONS JAKE THOMAS

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS FRANK BERTHUOT JARED CHANDLER SHARON GREEN TEDDY MILLER DON MONTGOMERY MIKE SANTAELL A

EDITORIAL

WRITERS DAVE DE GIVE ALOE DRISCOLL TYLER FOX JOEL HERSCH NEAL KEARNEY LINDA KOFFMAN ELIZABETH LIMBACH LESLIE MUIRHEAD

ARIC SLEEPER MELISSA DUGE SPIERS KYLE THIERMANN TARA WALKER

PROOFREADER JOSIE COWDEN

DESIGN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR JOSH BECKER

SALES & OPERATIONS

PRESIDENT STEPHANIE LUTZ

CFO SARAH CRAFT

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES SUZIE JOSEPH K ATE K AUFFMAN SADIE WIT TKINS

OFFICE MANAGER LESLIE MUIRHEAD

DISTRIBUTION MICK FREEMAN FOUNDER / CEO TYLER FOX

On the Cover: Modern-day explorer Anthony Tashnick stumbles across a rare gem somewhere on the Central Coast. Photo: @CHACHFILES

The content of Santa Cruz Waves magazine is Copyright © 2018 by Santa Cruz Waves, Inc. 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 prosecuted. Santa Cruz Waves assumes no responsibility for content of advertisements. For advertising inquiries, please contact steff@ santacruzwaves.com or 831.345.8755. To order a paid subscription, visit santacruzwaves.com.

F I N D US O N L I N E

www.SantaCruzWaves.com @SANTACRUZWAVES 3 0 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES


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Time slows down in deep barrels like this. Austin SmithFord enjoys every surreal second of tunnel time. PHOTO: @CHACHFILES

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 3 3


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FIRST LOOK

PHOTO: LESLIE MUIRHEAD

LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER

By TYLER FOX

T

he Little Engine That Could, The Polar Express and good ol’ Thomas The Tank Engine were a few of the children’s books I eagerly requested as a child. The toy train set I received for Christmas one year was a hit, and I’d spend hours resetting the tracks to go around all sorts of objects, like the dining room table or the unsuspecting sleeping cat. As I got a little older, my friends and I would put pennies on the real tracks when we heard the lumbering giant in the distance and excitedly wait to collect our little copper pancakes. When teenhood arrived, we’d run and jump on the caboose and see who could ride it the longest. (Teenagers aren’t always known for making the safest choices … ) My point is that trains are very much a part of our culture, history and heritage. However, in light of the proposed local plan to build a new

commuter train next to a trail (known as the “rail-trail” option) or create a simple, beautiful and direct trailonly corridor (aka the “Greenway”), the choice has become obvious to me. Here are a few of the drawbacks to building a new commuter train that have informed my stance on the issue and led me to believe that the Greenway is the right thing to do. The width: There are a total of 24 bridges or trestles along the corridor between Watsonville and Davenport, and they simply are not wide enough to support an active rail line next to a path. The plan is to construct costly new bridges, a handful of which would be too big of an engineering feat. In those cases, the path will be diverted back down onto busy streets. The environmental effect: Growing up in Aptos, I’ve walked this corridor many times and seen firsthand how narrow much of it is.

In order to fit a train, trail and the legal buffer zones, huge excavations, retaining walls and massive tree removal would have to be done. In my eyes this is like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. The cost: According to the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Master Plan, the estimated cost for the “rail trail” is $127 million, and that does not include the retaining walls or excavation projects. A Nelson/Nygaard study estimated that the Greenway bike and pedestrian path could be built for $50 to $70 million. I could go on, but for now I’ll leave you with a saying of my grandfather’s that I find to be useful time and time again: “Keep it simple, stupid.” There’s still time to become educated on the issue and add your voice to the conversation. Visit sccgreenway.org to learn more.

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 3 5


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INSIDE Volume 4.5 - FEB/MAR 2018

58

112 FIRST LOOK

35 Letter from the Founder 39 Best of the Web 41 Word on the Street 42 Causes: Follow the Money 46 Remember When ... ? 54 Local Legend: Marciano Cruz

138 DROP IN

58 In Depth: The Hydrofoil Hype 70 Behind the Lens: Audrey Lambidakis 88 Outdoor: Bill "The Wizard" Lee 92 Faces of Surf: Shawn Rhodes 100 Environment: The Dolphin Board 102 Art: Tom Killion 108 Music: Nomalakadoja

70 FOOD & DRINK

112 Local Eats: The Best Brunch 116 Drinks: Hidden Fortress Coffee 124 Dining Guide

COOL OFF

137 Field Notes 138 Company Feature: Prisma Guitars

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 3 7


Contemporary womens clothing & accessories 208 Monterey Ave. Capitola, CA. 95010

831-515-7255

@jadeallenboutique

Life’s happiest moments happen at home Whether you’re searching for your first home or moving to your next, I will make the process a memorable one. Find out why my clients consistently give me 5-star reviews! greatsantacruzhomes.com 831-515-2281

THIS IS HOME This is where stories are told,

gratitude is taught and meals are shared…sometimes in secret.

CHRISTINE PINI REALTOR

CalBre# 01997297 831-515-2281 christine.pini@cbnorcal.com

3 8 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES

Website: www.greatsantacruzhomes.com Facebook: facebook.com/greatsantacruzhomes Instagram:christinepinisantacruz


FIRST LOOK BEST OF THE WEB

BEST of the WEB

I INSTAGRAM

5 VIDEOS

R NEWS

GRATEFUL FOR SANTA CRUZ @jakejthomasphoto ♥ 4,163

DUDE SURFS OVER SHARK A 19 year old surfed right over a bull shark and captured it all on his GoPro. 20,056 views

MARINA CITY COUNCIL OPPOSES EXPANDED OFFSHORE DRILLING Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado affirmed the city's opposition to any new oil drilling or exploration off of the coast. 6,023 views

LUMINOUS DAWN @levymediaworks ♥ 3,492

BACKWASH BILLY A body surfer is caught flying. 16,819 views

CHANGES TO CITY’S FOOD PACKAGING ORDINANCE To-go food-service wares must be biodegradable, compostable or recyclable. 6,003 views

SUNSET OVER THE SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK @neilsimmonsphotography ♥ 3,291

LANIAKEA, NORTH SHORE Some of the best Hawaiian surfers enjoying 6-to-8foot-plus waves. 14,272 views

BIKE AND BOARD INDUSTRY LEADERS BACK TRAIL A coalition of industry leaders announced support for the trail plan advocated by Santa Cruz County Greenway. 3,244 views

“I OFTEN THINK THAT THE NIGHT IS MORE ALIVE AND MORE RICHLY COLORED THAN THE DAY.” —VINCENT VAN GOGH @wetfeetphoto ♥ 3,171

FIRST-EVER MOUNTAIN BIKE DESCENT OF CORBET'S COULOIR The infamous, icy Corbet's Couloir is tackled on mountain bike. 12,130 views

A SALUTE TO WASTEWATER PROFESSIONALS The first-ever Water Professionals Appreciation Week in California highlighted the important role of water industry and professionals. 2,856 views

VISIT US:

santacruzwaves.com/videos @santacruzwaves santacruzwaves.com/local-loop SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 3 9


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FIRST LOOK

WORD ON THE STREET

Q:

What do you think of hydrofoiling?

d BY LESLIE MUIRHEAD

ASKED ON EAST CLIFF DRIVE

Jan Madsen, dental hygienist: “I think they are dangerous. They should not be out there in the ocean. You could seriously decapitate someone. [I am] not into them.”

Joe, international software sales: “I have hydrofoiled behind a boat before and it is super sketchy because it’s non-linear control when you are getting towed by a rope. Going out on the ocean on it looks interesting, but to me surfing is way more fun for now.”

Alex, hospitality employee: “I don’t know much about it, but it looks super cool. I have seen videos of Kai Lenny out on one in the open ocean, and you can [ride] forever.”

Makena Foulger, environmental scientist: “It looks cool to glide on top of water, but it seems kind of sketchy: what if the huge fin hits you when you wipeout?”

Doug Whitemore, software engineer: “It seems kind of cool. It would be really fun to try, but also seems pretty dangerous.”

Dylan, traveler: “It’s scary to think about what it would be like if everyone started doing it. Having 50 guys out on those things is going to be sketchy.”

Michael Farther, surfer/comedian: “I think they should go hang out with the boogie boarders.”

Misha, clothing buyer: “When I see those guys out there it makes me feel timid to take a wave because I think it’s pretty dangerous, and I’m afraid they are going to hit me. It doesn’t seem very organic having all that machinery out there in the ocean when you’re just trying to catch a few waves.”

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 4 1


FIRST LOOK CAUSES

26.2 MILLION $

TO REPUBLICANS

vs. $14.4 million to Democrats. If the 2016 presidential election is any indicator, the voters of Santa Cruz County support Democrats by a majority. Commercial banks, on the other hand, lean in the other direction. According to the political money-tracking nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, commercial banks like JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America contributed nearly twice as much to Republican political campaigns as Democrats in 2016.

FOLLOW THE

MONEY

THE LENDING PRACTICES OF COMMERCIAL BANKS AND THE PERKS OF KEEPING IT LOCAL

W

hether picking out produce at the market or purchasing a new pair of jeans online, it’s important to know where goods come from and how they’re produced. But while many of us strive to be as organic,

4 2 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES

By ARIC SLEEPER

fair-trade, and cage-free as we can, most of us don’t think twice about the business practices of the places where we store our hard-earned cash. For-profit banks like Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo invest and lend vast sums of money to politicians, organizations, and

projects many may not realize, like the campaign of Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan or the Dakota Access Pipeline. Want to learn more? Take note of these telling facts about how big banks vote with their dollars, and how local credit unions compare.


FIRST LOOK CAUSES

500 MILLION

$

The amount Wells Fargo provided to the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline; the bank stood by their actions amidst protests to the project.

Nearly

14

$

BILLION

ENVIRONMENT:

POLITICS:

• Thirty-seven of the largest banks in North America provided almost $87 billion to the extraction, processing, and burning of fossil fuels in 2016.

• The disparity and amount paid to political campaigns by commercial banks has grown steadily since 1994, when banks gave on average around $12,000 to Democrats and $14,000 to Republicans in the House. In 2016, commercial banks gave an average of nearly $19,000 to Democrats and $39,000 to Republican candidates.

• JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America led the pack in funds provided to deep-water oil extraction projects, providing $2.6 and $2.4 billion to the industry, respectively. • Santa Cruz County may have been the first in the country to ban fracking, but the three biggest banks found within it (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo) financed a combined amount of more than $7 billion to finance fracking projects from 2014 to 2016.

I

• Of the approximately $664,000 already provided to 2018 political campaigns by Bank of America, nearly 72 percent has gone to Republican candidates. Wells Fargo has given almost 60 percent of its campaign contributions to Republicans so far. The top recipients of campaign contributions in the current 2018 election cycle are Republican Patrick McHenry, who, among other

The amount Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America funneled to the most climate-changing, environmentally destructive, and capital-intensive fossil fuel industries like tar sands oil extraction and pipeline construction in 2016.

controversial acts, used funding from his own Political Action Committee (PAC) to pay legal fees for his former aide who had committed voter fraud; North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, a proponent of the Keystone XL Pipeline; and current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. • Commercial banks’ biggest lobbying group, the American Bankers Association (ABA), provided nearly $10 million in 2016 to PACs and individual candidates. The ABA fights for legislation to combat the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which curtailed bank practices after the recession, and to ensure that citizens who file for bankruptcy are forced to still pay a portion of their debt, among other issues.

CREDIT UNIONS

n comparison, credit unions spend much less on lobbying, and although they also veer to the right, the turn is much less sharp. In the 2016 election cycle, credit unions gave $1.8 million to Democrats and $2.1 million to Republicans. Credit unions are not run by stockholders or a board of investors, but a voluntary board of directors elected by the credit unions' owners— its members. Although not for profit, credit unions still make money, which they reinvest in their members in the form of lower rates and fees.

In California, interest rates on a standard credit card provided by a credit union were more than 6 percent less than one issued by a commercial bank and about 1.4 percent less on a five-year auto loan. Santa Cruz County credit unions (which include Santa Cruz Community Credit Union and Bay Federal Credit Union) are gaining popularity, with a total membership of nearly 80,000 members, an increase of 23 percent since 2011 and an all-time record high. The average bank size is nearly 15 times the size of the average credit union.

Credit unions are more willing than commercial banks to work with small-business owners and nascent entrepreneurs. The average loan size for a credit union member in the United States is $250,000. Credit unions are too small to care about big oil and do not finance energy extraction, which means peace of mind for their environmentally minded members. Community-focused local banks like Lighthouse Bank and Santa Cruz County Bank are also great alternatives to the big guys.

(Sources: The 2017 Banking on Climate Change Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card; Foodandwaterwatch.org; Opensecrets.org; Center for Responsive Politics)

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R E M E M B E R

WHEN...

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REMEMBER WHEN ... ?

… a covert group of guerrilla artists took on U.S. government policies, corporate advertising and Santa Cruz billboards?

I

By DAVE DE GIVE

PHOTOS COURTESY OF BOB STAYTON

t’s hard to imagine today, but Santa Cruz was once crammed with billboards—lots and lots of billboards. Today, there are only two in the county: one on Highway 17 that typically features a car ad, and another near the Mystery Spot that permanently advertises the attraction. These are the only exceptions to local ordinances that now prohibit billboards and keep Santa Cruz beautiful in the process. But back when there were still billboards everywhere, a clandestine network of guerilla billboard artists called Truth in Advertising (TIA) operated in the dead of night, changing select billboard ads into social and political commentary. From 1980 to 1985, TIA’s clever alterations were precise and professional in an era when Photoshop hadn’t been invented and graphics were created methodically by hand. The billboards would appear to be genuine displays until their re-crafted messages were read more carefully.

BEFORE & AFTER On March 27, 1985, Truth in Advertising

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joined local protests of the Miss America pageant, which was then held in Santa Cruz, by changing the original billboard (pictured below) from "Miss America" to the protest slogan "Myth America."

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Santa Cruz resident and TIA founder Bob Stayton never set out to be an underground billboard artist. He simply found himself caught up in the events of the day and needed a way to react to them. The tipping point for Stayton, who stayed in Santa Cruz after earning a graduate degree in physics from UC Santa Cruz in 1978, was a beer ad near his then-neighborhood around May Avenue. “There was a billboard on Ocean Street just over from our house that was for Coors,” says Stayton. “I’d lived in Colorado and so had two of my housemates at the time. Coors was always anti-union; they were bad guys in Colorado … so we had this motivation to do something and I had seen that other people had done billboard art.” The initial operation was not a success. Late one night, Stayton and TIA members used double-sided tape to carefully put up the strips with their edits to the Coors ad. But when they drove by to admire their handiwork the next day, they saw that it had fallen down after the sun melted the tape’s glue. “The funny part was my girlfriend’s mother was visiting us at the time,” says Stayton. “She actually was the one that suggested that we use wallpaper paste.” Its 20-minute drying time allowed them to apply the glue at home, fold the strips in half and

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On Feb. 15, 1981, this billboard at the corner of Center and Cedar streets in downtown Santa Cruz was modified to make the above political statement. A photo of the revised billboard landed on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

then unpeel and apply them when they reached the billboard, allowing them to successfully change the ad. TIA had two primary goals: to get people to think outside of the corporate logo box and to raise awareness of important issues that members felt were not getting enough play in the media.

While a few of the targets of their protests now seem dated at first glance, many of the same issues persist today—just with different names and places. In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States, Russia was called the Soviet Union, and the U.S. was flexing its military might in Central America. To

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many, the possibility of war and even nuclear war seemed real. The feminist movement was active in Santa Cruz, where the Miss California Pageant held at the Cocoanut Grove was a frequent target for protests. “We raised social issues that the media at the time would gloss over,” says Stayton. “The El Salvador situation was terrible. The U.S. [military] was in El Salvador, but no one would admit it. But it was clearly going on.” Their billboard work started getting media attention of its own. When TIA altered a Triumph cigarette ad to proclaim “Triumph for democracy: U.S. out of El Salvador,” two weeks later a picture of the altered billboard appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times next to a story about President Reagan and the U.S. Navy. A photo of a Carlton cigarette billboard converted by TIA to an anti-war message was included in a November 1981 edition of the Phoenix—a now-defunct Santa Cruz alternative weekly— in its coverage of the city’s overwhelming vote in favor of a resolution to end U.S. military aid to the Salvadoran government. Good Times Weekly, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and Bruce Bratton of Santa Cruz Express all covered TIA’s billboard adventures. The nighttime billboard operation grew more sophisticated and the crew set up a lookout system to watch for police and to

~

These guerilla amendments, which were made to a billboard in downtown Santa Cruz on July 28, 1982, were left alone for 34 days before being covered up.

ask curious onlookers to please move on so as not to draw attention. The closest they came to being caught was when a Santa Cruz police car cruised by as Stayton was serving as lookout at a billboard on Cedar Street, near what today is Café Bene but at the time was Cymbaline Records. Stayton immediately yelled out for his lost dog

Mario, which was the signal to the others that they were in danger of being spotted. The police officer stopped and helped Stayton look for Mario, who didn’t actually exist. “When [my friends] heard my call, they jumped down,” says Stayton. “We waited 15 minutes and then they went back up and finished the job.” In TIA’s five-year

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lifespan, the billboard companies never filed a police complaint and no one was ever arrested. Sex in advertising was an important target for TIA that Stayton points to as another timeless issue, citing the recent spate of sexual misconduct reports that have surfaced. TIA once changed a suntan lotion ad featuring a bikini-clad woman and a tiger from “Tropical Blend. The Savage Tan” to “Typical Blend. Sex in Ads.” And a billboard at Center and Washington streets proclaiming Sharlene Wells as Miss America 1985 was changed to read “Myth America.” (Local feminists had for years held “Myth California” counter-pageants to protest the Miss California pageant in Santa Cruz, which eventually caused it to relocate away from the city.) Stayton chuckles as he says that TIA’s actions had the unintended effect of causing people to look at billboards more often, to see if they had been altered. Their run of billboard doctoring ended when the City of Santa Cruz successfully defended in court its longstanding desire to prohibit billboards and they were taken down in 1986. “We had nothing to do with the billboard ban,” says Stayton. “The billboard ban had begun a decade before we even started, but then it got tied up in court.”

~

The above alterations to the below Ocean Street billboard went up July 14, 1980.

Stayton sees parallels between TIA’s heyday and the present-day political climate, and he hopes that people remember that they can confront and resist policies they disagree with, whether through social media or other means. “I decided when Trump was elected to start re-promoting Truth

in Advertising,” says Stayton, who launched a TIA website at sagehill.net/ tia and also documented their billboard work on Facebook in the wake of the 2016 election. “Because this whole idea of fake news and corporate control has gotten so bad [again] that I wanted people to think of [how] they can get alternative messages out there.”

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FROM OAXACA TO PLEASURE POINT, MARCIANO CRUZ’S JOURNEY CONTINUES TO INSPIRE

o n a i c r a M

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K LOCAL LEGEND

young boy wanders outside of his neighborhood of San Pablo Huixtepec, in Oaxaca, Mexico, lured by the gleeful noise of children playing in the streets. Before he realizes it, he’s walked straight into a large celebration. The 6 year old almost flees, but is halted by the hypnotic dance of a colorful, candy-stuffed piñata tied to a tree, swaying in the wind. He sees a group of 10-year-old boys lined up in a row in the street, waiting to race for the sweet prize. By NEAL KEARNEY

A man approaches and asks, “Would you like to race?” The boy looks down. He’s barefoot and wearing hole-riddled pants held up by a rope around his waist. He looks at the other kids in their new shoes and shorts and notices that they are all laughing—laughing at him. He hesitates for a moment, but the thought of all of the candy waiting inside that purple and yellow piñata firms his resolve. He nods and joins the line. The man blows a whistle and the boys are off. The older boys blaze past the barefooted boy—but their lead doesn’t last long. Over coffee in a Pleasure Point café, Marciano “Chango” Cruz mesmerizingly recounts this defining moment from his past, one that instilled in him a courageous approach to life even when the odds are stacked against him. “Little by little I started passing everyone, and before I

knew it I had won,” he says. “The man who got me to enter the race tried to grab me to celebrate my win … I was so shy that I got scared and I started to run away. “So I kept running out of that place and didn’t even get any candy,” he adds, laughing at the memory. Cruz arrived in the Santa Cruz area in the late 1970s and has lived in Pleasure Point for the past 20 years, where he is recognizable in the surf lineup by his dark Mayan features, loud laughter and piercing whistles of excitement. Despite learning the sport in his thirties, he honed his longboarding technique over the years, becoming a skilled and valued member of the Point’s surfing scene. He’s also been serving the community at large for more than two decades, namely through his efforts at the Resource Center for Nonviolence

and by organizing La Liga De La Comunidad, an all-ages soccer league. Despite his successes in life, Cruz still struggles with assimilation in a country where people of color are often up against the ropes. Born in 1963, Cruz didn’t often see his father, who would travel to the United States to work. Cruz idolized his absent father and missed him desperately while he was gone. “One time, he came back from the states and brought back a watch—one of the watches that when you push a button it lights up,” Cruz recalls. “At the time I couldn’t believe it, and I became so curious about all the things I’d never seen before in my land or my life.” This fascination with the wonders of American life and a strong desire to be with, and also to be like, his dad prompted Cruz to join a large group of young men

Marciano Cruz, or "Chango" as he's more commonly known, is a staple in the Pleasure Point line-up, where he's usually catching some of the best set waves and hooting with excitement as he goes. PHOTO: KOOKSON

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PHOTO: BRYAN GARRISON

on an illegal border crossing when he was 13. When he arrived at the border, he called his father, who urged Cruz not to come find him. His father was afraid that his son would face hardship because he was brown. Cruz was crushed, but with no money, he kept running north. Soon after, Cruz began working in Moss Landing and living in Watsonville, where he became entangled in gang life. “We went to a dance in Watsonville,” Cruz recalls. “One of my friends got stabbed. That was the first time I saw little gangsters in the street or people that relate to the streets. I got attracted to the streets, because of the way they defended us and gave us a way to survive.” In the late 1970s, Cruz and some friends moved to the Beach Flats area of Santa Cruz, which was becoming a dangerous place. Yet Cruz says it also offered sanctuary to the marginalized 5 6 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES

members of society who sought strength in numbers and easier ways to make money than picking strawberries in a hot field all day, even if it meant crime or violence. Over the years, Cruz had run-ins with the law. He continued to hang out with his trouble-making crew until 1989, when his world changed forever. “I met a woman—a beautiful woman with red hair from Michigan,” he says. “She became my wife and I started trying to change my life.” He took a job with the Parks and Recreation Department improving the Beach Flats neighborhood, and soon had his first child, a son named Anthony. “Seeing my son being born changed my life,” he says. “Seeing this little guy made me look back on things and the way I lived my life. I didn’t want him to go through what I did, so I started working hard to fit into this society.” Cruz’s community outreach caught the attention of the late

Scott Kennedy, who was the cofounder of the Resource Center for Nonviolence and, at that time, the city’s vice mayor. Kennedy proved to be Cruz’s largest supporter and gave him the encouragement he needed to turn his life around. “Nobody believed in me more than Scott,” Cruz admits emotionally. “He knew I wanted to survive and see my kid. He sent me through a lot of trainings to be different and to learn more about living in our society. So, through that, the courage came to start doing things in the community.” Cruz began to volunteer at the Resource Center for Nonviolence and started Kids’ Club, a program in the Flats that provides children with opportunities for safe field trips and activities. It was during this transformative time that Cruz moved to Pleasure Point, where he and his son, then 6 years old, learned to surf. Cruz became hooked. The healing powers of the


K

PHOTO: KOOKSON

PHOTO: KOOKSON

LOCAL LEGEND

“Seeing my son being born ... made me look back on things and the way I lived my life. I didn’t want him to go through what I did, so I started working hard to fit into this society.”

sea became a new focus for Cruz, and he shared that newfound passion by introducing Kids’ Club participants to the sport, as well. “Water is an extension of life,” says Cruz. “I believe the water heals the mind and spirit, and it allows me to help people as much as I can. It gave me the strength to be able to survive; to allow me the stability to help my family and help my community. To share this gift with the children of our community is a blessing.” Despite his positive trajectory, Cruz still scrapes by to support his family, which now includes two daughters, Esperanza and Susana. He stays afloat by landscaping

and selling some of his paintings— images based on his past and identity, such as the La Virgen de Guadalupe, the Mexican Flag, and Mayan statues. Through it all, he continues to give time and money to his community, especially with La Liga. If a player can’t afford cleats or jerseys, Cruz will dig into his own savings to make sure that there are enough resources for his players. Resource Center for Nonviolence co-founder Peter Klotz-Chamberlin can’t praise Cruz enough for his work— particularly his efforts with the soccer league. “Cruz’s dedication, especially for the

kids, has been amazing,” says Klotz-Chamberlin. “The league brings together people from different sides of town, of the county, different gang-identified areas to play soccer. I think it was an important means of violence prevention and communitybuilding among immigrants.” “I know it’s hard to change everyone," Cruz says, "but this is the philosophy I live by: if you help just one person in this world, that person can help others. The idea is to keep guiding, to keep encouraging others to be positive and do positive things in society around us—that’s what keeps me going.” SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 57


THE HYPE HYDROFOIL

FOIL-BOARDS ALLOW SURFERS TO RACE ALONG ON PREVIOUSLY UNRIDEABLE WAVES. SO HOW THE HELL DO THEY WORK, AND WHERE WILL THEY GO NEXT?

O

By Kyle Thiermann

n a pleasant day last fall, although the water is still warm by Santa Cruz standards, I walk down to the beach in my thickest wetsuit with a hood and booties—a get-up I normally reserve for only the coldest days of the year. I’m not using the extra rubber for warmth: It’s a safety precaution.

I am about to try foil-boarding for the first time, and my theory is that if the board flips and the carbonfiber blade cracks me in the head, the cut won’t go as deep. Two accomplished surfers accompany me: fellow rookie foiler Kyle Buthman, who is sponsored by Quiksilver and has been surfing since he was a toddler, and Santa Cruz Waves founder Tyler Fox, a

Kai Lenny rips across an open-ocean  swell outside of his hometown of Paia in Maui, Hawaii. PHOTO: FRANCK BERTHUOT

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Mavericks competitor who has ridden a foil on a number of occasions. The wave that we are about to surf breaks roughly 200 yards off of a popular beach on the Westside. The swells approach from deep water and hit a shallow reef, causing a wave to break momentarily. The reef then drops into deep water, the wave fizzles out, and all that remains is unbreaking open-ocean swell. It is a horrible wave. As the first meager wave hits the reef and crumbles, Buthman catches the whitewater and stands up—a simple task that he has performed thousands of times on a regular surfboard. Moments after he pops to his feet, however, the board levitates 2 feet out of the water, leaving only a small airplane-shaped wing in the water. It accelerates like a rocket down the face and launches Buthman onto his back.

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Fox catches the next wave. As he stands and the board lifts, he crouches and centers his weight. The wave fades. Normally this is where a surfer’s ride ends, but Fox continues to accelerate to a velocity I have never seen reached on such a small wave. When it’s my turn, I don’t even make it to my feet. As soon as the whitewater catches my back, the board abruptly lifts out of the water and, like a ship free-falling over the back of a wave, I come crashing down. The sharp wing tip narrowly misses me. For a fleeting moment as the board rises, though, I feel weightless. I’m hooked. A SPORT IS BORN Picture yourself in an airplane waiting to take off. Seat belts are fastened and you’re still texting even though the flight attendant warned

you to turn off your cell phone. When the pilot hits the accelerator, your head is forced to the back of your seat and you look out the window to see the airplane wing slice through air. What you do not see is that the foiled shape of the wing is deflecting the flow of air downward, creating more pressure on the bottom of the wing and less pressure on the top. At a certain velocity, this pressure difference becomes so great that it creates lift and the plane takes off. A hydrofoil is a miniature airplane attached to a two-and-a-half-foot mast on the bottom of a surfboard. Instead of using air pressure to create lift, it uses water pressure, and the energy of a wave propels forward rather than an engine. And because a surfer weighs a lot less than an airplane, the foil can generate lift at a slower speed: “flight” takes place at

when the America's Cup sailing teams incorporated foils, it eliminated the friction of the hulls and the teams’ speeds doubled.

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only about three miles per hour when the proper pressure is applied. The hydrofoil was invented in the late 1800s and was used in a variety of ways long before it was ever placed on a surfboard: water-skiers used foils as early as the 1950s; the USSR introduced several hydrofoil-based fast-attack crafts into their navy; and when the America's Cup sailing teams incorporated foils, it eliminated the friction of the hulls and the teams’ speeds doubled. A number of Hawaiian surfers, including Laird Hamilton and Mango Carafino, pioneered the technology on surfboards in the early 2000s. But it wasn’t until 2017 that foil-boarding caught fire around the world, largely thanks to water-sport phenom Kai Lenny. “When I started doing it I had to seek someone out to build me a foil,” Lenny tells Waves. “Then two or three companies popped up, and ever since, companies have been popping up all over the place.” Some of these brands include Cabrinha, Slingshot, GoFoil, Ride Engine, and Lenny’s sponsor,

Naish Foils. Many existed as kitesurfing manufacturers before entering the foil market. Last year the young Hawaiian posted a video of himself foiling in which he kicked out of a wave, gyrated back out to the lineup using only the power of the foil, and then dropped into the wave behind it. The video went viral and the stunt drew media attention from around the world. Today, many other top surfers are adding foils to their quiver, allowing them to surf previously unrideable waves at speeds never before possible. “When you have the best surfers in the world riding foils, guys like John John [Florence], Kelly [Slater] and Jamie O’Brien, it’s naturally going to have a big impact,” says Lenny. TRY, TRY AGAIN A few days after my first attempt, I drive to Haut Surf & Sailboards to meet Coleman Buckley, head of research and development at Ride Engine, a Santa Cruz-based company that designs foils. I need more intel on this perplexing craft.

 Above: Author Kyle Thiermann lifts off during one of his first sessions aboard a foil.

PHOTO: KOOKSON

 Opposite: With the help of the foil, these new and improved boats are reaching record speeds of over 50 miles-per-hour with wind speeds of just 18 miles-per-hour.

The 30 year old, who has sunbleached blonde hair and freckles from a life spent in the ocean, is one of the better foil-boarders in town. “Picture yourself on a 10-foot board,” he says, explaining why a foil is so much faster. “You have 10 feet of board in the water, plus the fins and a leash. It’s actually slowing you down a lot. You’re not dealing with any of that friction [on a foil].” “When I tried to stand up, the board took off without me,” I lament. The trick, he says, is to completely rethink my weight distribution: instead of spreading it from heel to toe like I would on a normal surfboard, I must oscillate my weight between my left and right foot to maintain equilibrium and harness speed. SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 6 1


“Five years from now I bet you’re going to see guys doing 8-foot airs on 2-foot waves.” —Kai Lenny

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 Top right: This hydrofoil missile boat was built for the Soviet Navy during WWII.

Middle right: Foil boards are also catching fire within the kite-surfing and wind-surfing realms.

 Bottom right: One of Coleman Buckley's latest highspeed carbon fiber prototypes. PHOTO: TYLER FOX

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 Santiago Hart is leading the foil charge for the groms and even shapes his own boards. This particular board is 3-foot-8-inches and was made from half of Wilem Banks' broken Mavericks board. PHOTO: TYLER FOX

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Buckley, Fox, and I take our foils back to the horrible wave a few days later. Buthman, a friend who knows all too well my obsessive tendencies when I dive into a new sport, lends me his Gath helmet before the outing. Heavy-duty head protection is a smart accessory for foil-boarding, which can have serious consequences. When former pro surfer Homer Henard’s foil flipped over and struck him above the eye, it resulted in a trip to the hospital. “Next time I get on a foil I’m going to put on battle armor and a welding mask,” Henard tells me. Buckley catches a wave and easily maneuvers the foil around the rest of us. I can’t help but notice, though, that introducing foils into the lineup poses a serious risk if the user is less

+

skilled. When vessel-sized standuppaddleboards appeared in our lineups (also thanks to Laird Hamilton) a few years ago, it was the equivalent of introducing semi-trucks onto roads previously used by Honda Civics and Mini Coopers. The collisions became more brutal. The introduction of foils could be like adding Ferraris with protruding blades—and not all drivers know how to handle sports cars. While Buckley admits that he can’t control where people will use Ride Engine foils, he says his company’s goal is to create products that allow surfers to draw new lines on new waves—not to jam up existing surfing spots. Lenny echoes Buckley’s opinion that most waves that are good for

foiling aren’t good for surfing. “If foils and regular boards are in the same lineup, though, I think seniority should always go to the sport that’s been around the longest,” he adds. As I watch Buckley effortlessly hover along a non-breaking swell, gliding silently above the sea like a pelican, I am mesmerized by the simple beauty of it all. The foil is an expression of humans at our best: using our creativity to dance with nature to a new beat. On my next wave I stand up and push down hard on my front foot. I push so hard that the foil doesn’t lift at all and I slowly chug along. Then, I lean back slightly and the rocket takes off. I hold on for a moment before flying off the back. It will take

A WEEK LATER, BUTHMAN COMES OVER TO MY HOUSE AND WE LAUGH ABOUT THE FACT THAT EVEN THOUGH THERE’S A BIG WINTER SWELL COMING, ALL WE WANT TO DO IS RIDE FOILS IN HORRIBLE WAVES.

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Above: Coleman Buckley doing a little R&D on one of his new Ride Engine foils somewhere in Santa Cruz. PHOTO: TYLER FOX Opposite: Local pro Kyle Buthman moments before disaster. PHOTO: BRYAN GARRISON

another 20 or so tries before I am able to successfully ride a wave. It’s possible that foil-boarding will remain too technically difficult for the masses to adopt. Perhaps it will remain in the hands of a select few—another feather in the cap for those who want to push the envelope and conquer new waves. Lenny, however, tells me that it’s been difficult for Naish to keep up with order requests, and of Ride Engine, Buckley says “we basically can’t make them fast enough.” When I ask 10-time Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Champion and avid foilboarder Jamie Mitchell where he thinks the sport will be in five years, he says, “I bet we’re going to see more people use them to make open-ocean channel crossings.”

I pose the same question to Lenny, who made a 50-mile channel crossing from the Big Island to Maui on a foil last year using only wind and open-ocean swells. He pauses, then says, “They’re going to get lighter, stronger, and stiffer.” “It’s crazy to let my mind go to and imagine what’s possible,” he goes on. “Five years from now I bet you’re going to see guys doing 8-foot airs on 2-foot waves.” A week later, Buthman comes over to my house and we laugh about the fact that even though there’s a big winter swell coming, all we want to do is ride foils in horrible waves. “Every time I do it, I feel like I get significantly better,” he says. “It’s like I’m a grom learning how to surf again.”

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BEHIND THE LENS

D A K I S

THE BIG-WAVE LENSWOMAN ON HOW SURF PHOTOGRAPHY CHANGED HER LIFE IN THE WAKE OF A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY By ELIZABETH LIMBACH

L

ife didn’t go as planned for Audrey Lambidakis. Seven years ago, the Santa Cruz native was a college track athlete with her heart set on becoming a flight nurse after graduation. Her life was all “running and books,” without room for much else. Then everything changed in a moment. Lambidakis fell on her head during an improv class and sustained a brain injury that indefinitely derailed her plans, tossing her into a cycle of cognitive dysfunction, relentless pain, disorientation, and speech loss. Eventually, after five years on a merry-go-round of medical treatments and misdiagnoses, she was correctly diagnosed with vestibular migraines, tremors, ocular damage and post-concussion syndrome. It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 at the Mayo Clinic that she began receiving treatment that actually helps. Meanwhile, it was a long and painful journey. Following her accident, Lambidakis couldn’t talk, listen, read, or write for more than a few minutes at a time. No longer able to run, drive, study, or live on her own, she was forced to drop out of school and move home. Soon she was also battling a dark depression—a common reality for those suffering from traumatic brain injury. The rate of depression increases by nearly eight times in the year following

This wave was captured on the fourth anniversary of my "accident and first anniversary of my best friend’s death." SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 7 1


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such an injury, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Things began to shift when her mom brought her to the beach one day. “It got into my soul—it just kind of soothed something in there,” she says. For a girl from “Surf City,” Lambidakis had never been much of a beachgoer. She didn’t know the first thing about surfing, nor had she ever dabbled with photography. So it came as a surprise to everyone, her included, when surf photography became her lifeline. While she charged ahead in her recovery, Lambidakis’ photography blossomed from an amateur point-and-shoot style to professional and eye-catching, landing publication with Magicseaweed.com, Surfing, and this magazine. These days, the 25 year old can often be spotted— clad in a helmet and goggles—bobbing in the lineup at The Lane, or shooting from a boat in the channel at Mavericks. Waves caught up with her to learn more about how she managed to pick up the craft while coping with the effects of her injury.

How did surf photography become part of your recovery process? In between doctors’ visits, if I had enough energy I’d go to West Cliff and take photos. They weren’t any good, but it was fun and it was beautiful, and it was something to focus on. I’d be wiped after an hour and would have to rest for days afterward—my parents hated it. They were right: it was not exactly the best for my recovery. But it was something new and I was moving forward out of what I was going through. I had been so fixated on school and running and I lost both of those … and this was the first passionate thing I felt since losing everything.

How did you transition to shooting from the water? The water was always the goal—I wanted to get as close to the action as possible—but I couldn’t exercise because I’d lose my eyesight. So it was a waiting game to see when I had recovered enough to try and get in the water. I finally got the OK from a doctor to try it out. I splashed around in the water, and when that felt good, I got [a camera] housing, and then I started shooting. In 2016, I swam out at Ocean Beach with Tyler Conroy when it was stormy. I made it out. The first

 Healey chooses to take the road less traveled at Mark Mavericks on Jan. 26, 2017.

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Peter Mel has 

been surfing Mavericks for more than 20 years and is still charging harder than ever.

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Above: Matt Becker free falls into oblivion.

Opposite top:

Chasing the winter sunset with Nat Young.

Opposite bottom left:

Pat Shaughnessy is always one to watch when the waves turn into mountains.

Opposite bottom right:

The photographer at work.

set came and I got some shots, then the second set came and I got pummeled. I hit the bottom and my fins flew off. I caught one with my toes and the other was gone. I was at the bottom of the ocean putting on my fin and trying to get back up. It was kind of scary, but also exciting—it actually made me want to do it even more. It’s a whole other world to shoot from water. I have to wear goggles because the light is always an issue. Those are annoying—they’re tinted, and I look foolish, but it makes it possible for me. I tried it without goggles and I lasted 10 minutes. I was seeing spots, I was dizzy, I couldn’t think. It wasn’t safe. I also wear a helmet. The housing for my camera can leave a bruise if it hits my body. If it hit my head … it’d be stupid not to wear a helmet.

What toll does photography take on your body now? My recovery time is a lot less now. I still get nauseous and dizzy, and I have to rest the whole next day. If I go out on the boat at Mavericks, the next day I am worked. I can’t function. I generally don’t have the brainpower to talk or even make eye contact. I’m in a lot of pain. There’s a lot of sleeping involved.

How did Mavericks enter the picture? I got interested in big waves, and I drove up for a lot of the fall swells in 2015 and Skinny [Ken "Skindog" Collins] got me on a boat for the Dec. 20 swell—the big one. The boat got hit by a wave, and Mark Healey and Tyler Fox jumped off. The only reason I didn’t get all of my equipment SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 7 7


Othmane "Hotman" Choufani is from Agadir, Morocco and spends his time chasing huge swells all over the globe. At only 25, he's well on his way to solidifying himself as one of the best big-wave surfers out there. Here he is at Mavericks on Jan. 18, 2018.

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Jumping for joy on the North Coast. PHOTO: TEDDY MILLER

ruined and fall off the boat was because of Bob Pearson—he ran past me and gave me a warning. There was no time to take cover. If it weren’t for his arm I held onto I would have gone overboard. After that, there was no way I could be on the cliff—I had to be out on a boat.

What about the thrill is so attractive to you? I think it’s the adrenaline. I wanted to be a flight nurse, and I did ski rescues as a kid on the slopes. That’s something I’m comfortable with—that type of high pressure. It feels good. Even though I’ll be knocked out the next day, in the moment the adrenaline makes me feel closer to how I was before my injury. It kicks everything into high gear, and I can

almost function at the level I did before. My goal with this, if it could ever happen, is to do rescues at Mavericks, like Frank Quirarte. I don’t really want to be sitting on a boat shooting—I want to be shooting while running rescues on a jet ski. But with my injury and recovery, I can’t do that—at least right now.

Do you have a favorite photograph from your portfolio? For me, it’s more about the experience than the photos. Of course I like the photos, but it’s more about what I get to do to get them. Last week I almost got catapulted from our boat. I was probably three feet off the nose of the boat, and Jamie Mitchell had to grab me and pull me back in—it’s that stuff, and being there for it, and shooting from

tricky situations. … I loved when our boat got hit [in December 2015]. I know you’re not supposed to love that stuff, but I did. It was such an adrenaline rush.

What has surf photography meant to you? I’ve been in constant pain for over half a decade. That type of pain can become unbearable, and deeply depressing. Surf photography takes me out of that pain, the medical world, and all of the loss I’ve had to go through with my injury. It’s helped bring back a little bit of purpose to the waiting game of recovery. It’s joy. Follow Lambidakis on Instagram: @audrey_lambidakis.

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Merlin slices her way through the Molokai channel during the Transpacific Yacht Race, or Transpac, last July. PHOTO: SHARON GREEN

MAGIC in theWATER

Around the time that Santa Cruz was becoming known worldwide for its legendary waves and burgeoning surf industry, it was also becoming internationally renowned for producing a new class of ultra-light racing sailboats. At the center of it all was Bill Lee, “The Wizard of Santa Cruz.”

“I

t was like driving down Highway 1 at full speed, at night, in the middle of a rainstorm with no headlights.” That was how the late Harvey Kilpatrick described the first record-shattering race across the Pacific Ocean aboard the

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By JOEL HERSCH

breakthrough sailing yacht Merlin, recounts his fellow crewmember Dave Wally. It was the 1977 TransPac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, and Merlin—a 68-foot experimental design—had eclipsed the previous record time, set in 1971, by more

than 22 hours. The new record: 8 days, 11 hours, 1 minute and 45 seconds. It blasted off of waves and accelerated with the wind blowing from the stern, which caused the long, almost awkwardly narrow hull to power westward like a toboggan down a steep hill.


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“Everyone was abiding by the rules … Bill came around and said he didn’t care about any of that, he just wanted to go fast.”—Capt. Jo Rodgers Bill Lee pictured in December 2017 in the Santa Cruz Harbor as Merlin was hoisted out of the water and prepared to be shipped to its new owner in Florida. PHOTO: TYLER FOX

Wally says that much of the time Merlin raced across the Pacific, the bow was plunging— or “submarining”—ferociously underwater. “We called the experience of sailing that boat ‘the cosmic thrill,’” Wally says. “It’s a magic boat.” This wicked new sailing vessel, built and put into the water earlier that same year, was the brainchild of Santa Cruz yacht designer Bill Lee, a sailing enthusiast with a background in mechanical engineering. For Lee, the most important thing when it came to sailing was speed. “Fast is fun,” Lee tells Waves, repeating the mantra he coined decades ago that came to represent the mentality for sailboat racing

during that era of innovation. During the 1960s and ’70s, Santa Cruz was the epicenter for radical sailboat design, and at the time it seemed to involve everyone, says Capt. Jo Rodgers, who has worked on boats for more than 40 years, sailed and raced all over the world, and recently retired from his career as a marine surveyor, which included appraisal of Bill Lee Yachts. “Bill threw away the rule book,” says Rodgers. “Everyone was abiding by the rules of the IOR [International Offshore Rule], which were standardizing qualifications for race boat designs. Bill came around and said he didn’t care about any of that, he just wanted to go fast.”

Lee was not alone in his pursuit of designing sleek hulls and faster race boats. Fellow Santa Cruz boat designers George Olsen and Ron Moore helped him forge a new class of yachts called Ultra Light Displacement Boats, which are defined by their relatively low amount of water displacement based on their overall hull length. “These boats had fin keels and space rudders, taller masts and all the ballast way down low in their keel,” Rodgers explains. The majority of the materials being used were balsa core and fiberglass, making them considerably lighter than other boats. The Merlin, for example, weighed just 25,000 pounds—a

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Find Your

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PHOTO: TYLER FOX

“There was lots of boat-building talent available in Santa Cruz, all you had to do was teach surfboard builders to build sailboats.” —Bill Lee

PHOTO: TYLER FOX

quarter of what an average 68-foot racing boat weighed. Lee designed and built his boats on a hilltop property in Soquel that came to be known as “The Coop” because he had converted the property’s old chicken coop and a milking barn into manufacturing space. “The buildings were long and skinny, so they were perfect for boat work,” Lee says. Lee was known for hiring dozens of local surfers, and Rodgers says that the boat designs inevitably were influenced by the surf world. “A lot of surfers worked for me because of their fiberglassing skills,” Lee says. “At the time, there was lots of boat-building talent available in Santa Cruz, all you had to do was teach surfboard builders to build sailboats. It was the same basic stuff, and very highquality laminations. Fiberglass professionals from other areas

didn’t know how to shape things that were fast—they knew how to build shower stalls.” Merlin has sold nine times over four decades. Lee himself purchased the boat back in order to race Merlin last summer in the 2017 TransPac, and though it didn’t set any records, its fame makes waves in any regatta. Last November, Merlin sold once more, this time to a buyer based in Florida. Lee’s Santa Cruz brand of yachts can still be found sailing on the Monterey Bay almost daily in the form of the Chardonnay II charter boat, a Santa Cruz 70 with a reduced rig. When asked about his old moniker “The Wizard,” Lee shrugs it off, saying he thinks it was just something that people liked the sound of. Rodgers, however, recalls specific origins: he says Lee would regularly wear a long robe with stars on it and a pointed wizard hat at each boat-hull

launch. With his spectacles and the aura of mystique around his boat designs’ incredible speed, the characterization of a wizard was an appropriate fit. Lee, now 75, retired from boat building in 1994, selling the business in the Soquel hills. He continues to work as yacht broker under the title Wizard Yachts, Ltd. Rodgers says that the impact Lee made on the sailing world was monumental, referring to him as the “the godfather of the California sailing ultra-light movement.” He adds that the era was equally as formative for the identity of Santa Cruz. “It was a really magical time for the sailing world, especially here in Santa Cruz,” Rodgers says. “People’s eyes were opening to what was possible. It brought so many people closer to the water, just like surfing, and it made this place a true sailing community.”

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Y S A E NO

S K C I R E V at MA

LLAR HIS STE N O S T BREAK REFLEC HODES AMOUS F R N D L W A R O SH AT THE W CAREER

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hen considering the life of a standout Mavericks surfer like Shawn Rhodes, one might assume that his scariest underwater moment would be something like a two-wave hold down—an experience that has made some of the best, including Shane Dorian and Greg Long, question their hazardous profession. By NEAL KEARNEY

But Rhodes’ closest call came much earlier in life. As a young boy, he was playing by himself in an otherwise unoccupied pool when he suddenly slipped and sank to the bottom of the deep end. “I remember looking up at the surface from below, just thinking, ‘How do I swim?’” he says. Luckily, a man had seen everything happen from his second-floor window and rushed down to rescue the waterlogged kid. Rhodes was so spooked that when his stepdad Jim tried to take him surfing at age 7, he kicked and screamed all the way to the water’s edge, clawing at the sand as though he was heading into an fiery oven. “So it’s kind of trippy: I went from almost drowning to surfing big waves,” laughs Rhodes. Rhodes, now 46, has cemented his veteran status at Mavericks. He’s among a tight-knit crew of Northern California surfers, including Matt Ambrose and Ion Banner, whose

performances at the break have been nothing short of outstanding for more than two decades. Along the way, there was a troop of Santa Cruz surfers, like Darryl “Flea” Virostko and Pete Mel, nipping at their heels with full-throttle efforts at the powerful break off of Pillar Point. Rhodes looks back kindly on that pressure to perform, grateful for the push from the star-studded Santa Cruz squad. “In those early days, the only time it would get packed was with all the Santa Cruz guys coming up,” he says. “But it was fine—they were pushing everyone’s limits. I liked rising to that challenge, to be honest. I felt like that was my peak.” It all traces back to that day his stepdad had to drag him into the ocean, when young Rhodes realized that the ocean was not as scary as he’d built it up to be, and that it was actually really fun. “I just remember looking through the water—it was so clear and I could see kelp and little fish swimming in front of us,” he

recalls. “From then I was hooked. I just wanted to do it more and more and more.” Rhodes spent a few years bodyboarding the playful waves by his home, off Pedro Point in Pacifica. After a few years, he ditched the bodyboard and returned to surfing. It wasn’t long before he was charging waves bigger than most homes. Rhodes and his crew relished the rush of the surf at Pedro Point, but pined for something bigger. Something heavier. Something like the perfect peaks off of Año Nuevo State Beach, except 20-feet high. One day, Mavericks pioneer Jeff Clark pulled up to the Point on a solid swell and asked if they had bigger boards, as he had a secret big-wave spot that he thought they were ready for. Rhodes heeded this call to arms, and the next year ordered up some bigger boards for his quiver. “We were always talking about that elusive, perfect, and

PHOTO: COURTESY OF SHAWN RHODES SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 9 3


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Perfect positioning on a glassy bomb in the Mavericks event. PHOTO: DON MONTGOMERY

giant wave,” he says. “All of a sudden, we had it.” Rhodes paddled out at Mavericks for the first time at age 21. Over the next two decades, he was out for every swell possible. His performances during sessions and subsequent clips in Mavericks surf flicks such as Nuthin’ but Nuts! and Twenty Feet Under made him a no-brainer to be considered for the Quiksilver “Men Who Ride Mountains” event in 1999. Over the next 15 years he competed in eight iterations of the invitational event when it ran, placing as high as seventh place. He’s open about his recent “retirement,” in which he has not surfed the break for the past five years. Nor Cal Surf Shop, which he opened in Pacifica 25 years ago, keeps him busy. The shop is just a stone’s throw from his beloved Pedro Point and services the local community with surf goods, including boards from his own surfboard label, Neptune Surfboards.

“THE THOUGHT OF DYING WAS ALWAYS ON MY MIND OUT THERE. … IT’S

DOWNRIGHT

DEADLY.”

“I started a surf shop because there used to only be one around, but they didn’t really take care of the kids,” he says. “So I was of the mind that I could establish one that could.” Thirty-one-year-old Pacifica local Travis Payne is one of the locals he’s mentored in Pacifica, along with Mavericks charger Colin Dwyer and aerialist/ competitive dynamo Brogie Panesi. Payne stunned the surf world when he placed second in the 2016 Titans of Mavericks contest, and is always one to watch at the explosive reef. He counts himself as lucky to have grown up under Rhodes’ watch. “I’ve known Shawn since I was in elementary school,” Payne says. “He let me borrow a big-wave gun and took me out to Mavericks for the first time when I was 16. Shawn was an animal at Mavericks, and pretty much anywhere else he surfed.” Rhodes was also one part of the “Committee 5” at the Titans event, along with Clark, threetime contest champion Virostko, and his childhood chums Banner and Ambrose. The group served as a governing body for the event, deciding on invitees, wild cards, waiting periods, and more. He’s

Rhodes enjoying a frothy one close to home. PHOTO: DON MONTGOMERY

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Rhodes finds comfort within a cold, dark cave somewhere on the North Coast. PHOTO: DON MONTGOMERY

RHODES RELISHED THE RUSH OF THE SURF AT PEDRO POINT,

BUT PINED FOR SOMETHING BIGGER.

SOMETHING HEAVIER. grateful to have had the experience to represent Mavericks, but walked away with a bit of a sour taste in his mouth after money troubles forced Titans CEO Griffin Guess to file for bankruptcy in early 2017. “I know Griffin ultimately had his heart in it, but I don’t think the money he needed was there for him,” he reflects. “He always seemed sincere and genuine but did things that weren’t so sincere and genuine.” When Rhodes is not busy managing business at Nor Cal, he can be found taking his own kids surfing. He’s relishing their “twinkle-in-the-eye” look that he once wore after being introduced to the waves by his stepdad all those years ago. As far as his relationship with Mavericks, his reverence for the break will never end. “The thought of dying was always on my mind out there,” he says. “That’s a crazy wave. It could kill anyone at any time, rescue vest or not. It’s downright deadly.”

Rhodes sheds the wetsuit for a little R and R in the tropical waters of Indonesia. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF SHAWN RHODES SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 97


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PHOTOS: COURTESY OF ZACHARY OSTROFF

ENVIRONMENT

The

DOLPHIN BOARD of AWESOME A NEW PROTOTYPE SURFBOARD SETS HIGH STANDARDS FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY MANUFACTURING. WILL OTHER INDUSTRIES TAKE THE HINT?

L

ast year, Zachary Ostroff, a recent Stanford University graduate specializing in earth systems and sustainable development, was falling more deeply in love with surfing and began a routine of getting in the water almost every day. But, given

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By JOEL HERSCH

his environmental consciousness, it plagued him that the majority of boards available pose a serious threat to the planet once they are disposed of. “The equipment I was using to engage with the ocean was made from some of the most toxic, least-recyclable materials

humans have ever created for mass manufacturing,” he says. This was the key issue in Ostroff’s mind when he embarked on a massively collaborative mission to develop the world’s most sustainable surfboard. Soon, the Dolphin Board of Awesome was born: a 3D-printed, recyclable,


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ENVIRONMENT

“It’s just a surfboard made from plastic water bottles and algae, but it’s a really inspiring way to get this conversation going.” —Zachary Ostroff, creator of The Dolphin Board of Awesome

Dolphin Board partner Nate Petre, from Imperial College London, at Nike's LAUNCH Sustainability Summit in March 2017.

and compostable surfboard, utilizing sustainably sourced algae, discarded plastic water bottles, and custom printable designs that can be sent with the click of a button. The algae used in the Dolphin Board is sourced mostly from lakes in Mississippi where the invasive plant life edges out other life forms, explains the 24 year old. Therefore, he adds, extracting the algae for manufacturing purposes is a win-win. The algae is fermented and transformed by a partner company called ALGIX into poly-lactic acid (PLA), which, with a mixture of sugarcane and corn, can be shaped using 3D printers. Because the boards can be shaped digitally and sent as a file to a 3D printer anywhere in the world, Ostroff’s concept cuts down drastically on shipping costs and associated fuel consumption. “An additional component of the Dolphin Board of Awesome is [that they are] printed with recycled plastic bottles,” Ostroff says. One of Ostroff’s key partners is Nate Petre, a doctorate student at the Imperial College of London researching additive manufacturing. It was

Petre’s lab partner who figured out how to make 3D printer ink out of plastic water bottles. By using both algae and plastic bottles, Ostroff says the company can spread the story of how flexible additive-manufacturing 3D printing has become. The result is a surfboard that he says is less expensive and more durable than the majority of surfboards currently on the market. The Dolphin Board has been tested by the likes of Danny Fuller, a pro surfer from Kauai who got barreled while riding it at an undisclosed location in Southern California. Beyond the surf industry, Ostroff hopes that the Dolphin Board becomes a symbol for what is possible in the world of manufacturing. “When we first started talking about this concept [in 2016], we realized this was an incredible way to animate the technologies that exist today and that are, ideally, really going to help us as humans—outside of the surfing world, on a larger scale—move toward a more sustainable future for the planet and society,” he says. For the first round prototype, tthe Dolphin Board of Awesome was designed using a coating of fiberglass,

which means it’s not entirely plantbased. The team, which is comprised of 18 individuals from all around the globe, used a type of environmentally friendly resin called Super Sap made by Entropy Resins. “It’s about 95-percent plant-based material, and we’ll get closer to 100 percent as we get bigger [3D] printers, which will mean we can print the boards in one single piece and we won’t need fiberglass to hold it all together,” explains Ostroff. As work on the Dolphin Board of Awesome continues (it is being developed at both the Imperial College of London and in the Bay Area), Ostroff says he hopes that other industries will take notice and become inspired to consider new systems for sustainability. “If we can 3D print surfboards that Danny Fuller can get totally barreled on, then what else can we do?” he muses. “It’s just a surfboard made from plastic water bottles and algae, but it’s a really inspiring way to get this conversation going.” The Dolphin Board of Awesome officially launches in late spring 2018. Keep up with its progress at dolphinboardofawesome.com.

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DROP IN ART

Woodcut print artist

TOM KILLION

captures California’s wild edge By DAVE DE GIVE

A

s is often the case with great endeavors, Tom Killion’s artistic process begins with a simple sketch. It’s a deceptive term in this case. The Point Reyes resident’s etchings are simple only in the sense that they belie the greater beauty of the final result: beautiful woodcut and linoleum-cut prints of scenic Central Coast locales. By any other comparison, the sketches by the book artist, printmaker, and outdoor enthusiast are intricately detailed renderings, capturing crucial elements of distance, geography and tone that aid the later stages of his process. Killion’s art was first driven by a love of the mountains and the ocean and how they converge, as well as an interest in the Japanese printmaking techniques of famed 18th- and 19th-century Japanese woodcut artist Katsushika Hokusai. “I grew up around Mt. Tamalpais, which is kind of our Mt. Fuji,” says Killion. “And I love Japanese prints and Japanese aesthetics and so I already had this idea in my head: I wanted to make a little book of these prints of Mount Tamalpais like Hokusai’s views of Mount Fuji, and I had some Haiku-like poems that I was working on to go with this.”

POGONIP, SANTA CRUZ. TOM KILLION. COPYRIGHT 2015. SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 1 0 3


DROP IN ART

MC WAY ROCKS, BIG SUR. TOM KILLION. COPYRIGHT 2015. 1 0 4 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES


DROP IN ART

VINCENTE CANYON, BIG SUR. TOM KILLION. COPYRIGHT 2015.

In another life, Killion might have been a cartographer or a topologist, divvying up landscapes into shapes, layers, and planes. But his artistic talent would be wasted on maps of a technical or geographical bent. Instead, Killion creates beautifully intricate landscape prints using just the right balance of art and science to combine the different elements into a single, delicate piece of fine art. There’s a delayed gratification to his work. The many steps between initial sketch and final product compel Killion to have faith that, in the end, the beauty of his work will reveal itself. Surprisingly, Killion never studied art in college, but he did learn how to operate a printing press while attending UC Santa Cruz—a skill that turned out to be an important component of his artistic process. “It had nothing to do with my school work or anything,” says Killion, who came from Marin County to attend UCSC when he was 17 years old in 1971, adding with a laugh, “I was a history major and

I was devoted to taking drugs and having fun and going surfing and all the other things people did in Santa Cruz in those days, and I think they still do.” Killion took an independent study course in press printing from Bill Everson, a poet-in-residence at UCSC who founded the Lime Kiln Press. He also studied with renowned printer and typographer Jack Stauffacher, who came to UCSC from San Francisco to teach a typography course on a printing press in the Cowell Dining Hall basement. Once a drawing has been made, Killion’s next step is to transfer the images onto a series of wood blocks through an elaborate tracing and carving process. Borrowing from the Hokusai tradition, Killion applies concave, woodworking implements to Japanese-style plywood, gouging out bits of wood along the lines of his original sketch. “You’re carving the image in reverse,” says Killion. “What you carve away is negative space but what you leave is the printing surface. Whatever color you put on that is

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DROP IN ART

the color that gets printed on the paper.” In the last step, the wood blocks are mounted into the printing press, one block at a time, but the same piece of paper is used in multiple press runs, allowing Killion to experiment with different colors for each facet of his illustration and resulting in unique numbered prints that are in high demand by the art-buying public. Killion also produces books and got the idea for his first large folio, The Coast of California, while living in a converted garage in his UCSC days at the end of Fresno Street in Live Oak, which he describes as at that time being undeveloped fields full of mustard flowers with a few little streets with scattered houses. It was not far from 26th Avenue Beach, of which he fashioned one of his early prints. He then ventured out further, making prints of the Pogonip in Santa Cruz, as well as Point Lobos and Big Sur to the south. Killion maintains that the printing instructors and the fellow “printophiles” and poets he engaged with at UCSC and in Santa Cruz were key to learning his craft. It’s also the basis for his 2015 book, California’s Wild Edge and its eponymous exhibit currently showing at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. “That’s one thing that was very Santa Cruz-inspired,” says Killion. “Even though the prints go up and down the coast, the center of that world is Santa Cruz.” See Tom Killion’s California’s Wild Edge exhibit through April 22 at the Santa Cruz MAH in downtown Santa Cruz, santacruzmah.org.

PHOTO: MAX JAMES FALLON

PT. REYES FROM DOUBLE POINT. TOM KILLION. COPYRIGHT 2015. 1 0 6 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES


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FEEL-GOOD

MUSIC

Local band

Nomalakadoja

unleashes their debut album PHOTO: XXXXXXXX

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DROP IN

MUSIC

hether the band is jamming at Zelda’s on the Beach, the Catalyst, or Moe’s Alley, it’s hard to find anyone sitting down at a Nomalakadoja show. Their positive vibe and upbeat style—a blend of roots reggae, ska, and island music—has the power to pull most people out of their seats and onto the dance floor.

PHOTO: MIKE SANTAELLA

By ARIC SLEEPER

“When we play live, the feeling just takes over—this raw crowd connection that we tap into,” says guitarist and backup vocalist Alex Walther. “I think that’s been our success: connecting with the crowd and letting the whole feeling of the music take over. It’s a total transfer of energy. When the crowd is into it, we play our best.” The band’s name, Nomalakadoja, like their sound, is wholly unique and originates with drummer and lead vocalist Spencer Vantress. Years ago, while freestyling with a friend, inspired by Outkast’s song, “Rosa Parks,” Vantress shaped a string of syllables into the name. He then created a logo of the word that he made into stickers and hats. While playing at Pono Hawaiian Grill one night, he was asked what his band was called. He didn’t have a band name,

but he was wearing one of his Nomalakadoja hats. “I came up with the name off the top of my head—literally,” says Vantress. “It stuck after that. And now, when people ask me what it means, I tell them it means we’re having a good time.” Nomalakadoja has had a few members come and go over the years, with Vantress always at the helm. Now, with Walther on guitar and the recent addition of Zack Thorensen on drums, the trio has fallen into a pleasant groove that led them to seek out a studio and record their first album. With the help their friend, Skunk Records co-founder Miguel Happoldt, they recorded at Different Fur Studios in San Francisco, where artists like Stevie Wonder and Primus, among others, have recorded in the past.

“It turned out to be the most ideal recording space,” says Walther. “And we recorded live to capture that same raw feeling that we have in our shows.” They have dubbed their debut album Feel Good Music, which is how Walther describes the band’s genre to those who have never experienced their shows. This pervasive air of positivity is something that the members actively seek to create and transmit through their music, and when they do it right, they find that a certain magic transpires between them and the crowd. “A lot of the time, when we’re playing, we get into a trance state—when the rhythm locks up and we’re playing super tight, everything becomes effortless and we’re floating in the moment,” says Vantress. “Then I’ll look around the room and realize everyone is in the same trance, and we can’t stop because there’s a special energy in the room and everyone’s feeling it.” Catch Nomalakadoja live at Moe’s Alley on Feb. 23. Find them online at nomalakadoja.com.

“A lot of the time when we’re playing, we get into a trance state—when the rhythm locks up and we’re playing super tight, everything becomes effortless and we’re floating in the moment.” —Spencer Vantress

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A comfortable Pleasure Point neighborhood restaurant known for honest food & cocktails

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> SAUSAGE FREEDOM MEAT LOCKERS

The Walker family has run Freedom Meat Lockers since 1970, winning many national awards for their custom cuts, smoked meats, ham, and more than 30 kinds of housemade sausages. Take your pick from hot Cajun, jalapeño cheese, traditional Polish, Bavarian cheese, and many more. Freedommeatlockers.com.

1

> COCKTAIL

If you agree that mimosas and Bloody Marys are just a teeny bit tired, scoot on over to Venus Spirits on Swift Street for a bottle of their handcrafted, small-batch gin made in hand-pounded copper Alembic stills imported from Spain. Grab a lemon off of your tree (or pick one up with your raspberries from the farmers market), crack open a Glaum egg, and make yourself a Clover Club cocktail. Visit venusspirits.com for the recipe.

2

> COFFEE

> WAFFLES

3

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THE GREEN WAFFLE These are not your average frozen waffles. Family owned and operated in Watsonville, The Green Waffle prides itself on producing traditional toaster-friendly staples without artificial ingredients, preservatives or sugar. Hearty and filling, they come in four nutrient-dense varieties—blueberry, apple, yam, and cauliflower—and can be found at New Leaf Community Markets, Deluxe Foods of Aptos, Staff of Life and other local grocery stores. Thegreenwaffle.com.

4

Java Junction has been serving up locally roasted coffee since 1992 at three locations: Seabright, the Santa Cruz Harbor, and the Gateway Shopping Plaza on River Street. They roast small batches of organic, fair-trade, bird-friendly beans daily, allowing you to pick your roast level, bean and provenance. For a true surfer’s brunch, pick up their classic Hawaiian Kona (most coffee sold as Kona is actually blended with inferior beans, but Java Junction’s is authentic and certified). For maximum flavor, buy only whole beans no more than a few days before serving and wait to grind them until immediately before brewing. Javajunctioncoffee.com.


> FRUIT

FARMERS MARKETS No matter where you live in Santa Cruz County, there is a farmers market close by. In addition to the five operated by Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets (Felton, Downtown, Scotts Valley, Live Oak, and Westside) there is also one in Watsonville, one in Aptos at Cabrillo College, and one at the Capitola Mall (newly reopened in 2017). While we are lucky enough to grow many fruits year-round here, late winter/early spring is peak season for all manner of citrus. Pick up some pink grapefruit—its mildness is perfect for experimenting with two distinctly different toppings: the traditional sprinkle of white sugar that brings out the sweet juiciness, or a liberal dusting of salt for a tangy margarita-like sweet/sour twist. And, while you’re there, don’t forget to grab some raspberries for your Clover Club cocktail. Santacruzfarmersmarket.org.

5 7 JELLIES/JAMS FRIEND IN CHEESES

6

Despite the moniker, you will not find any dairy products at Friend In Cheeses, but you will discover a delightful selection of unusually flavored jellies and jams to spread on your green waffle. With intriguing combos like Salted Watermelon, Fig & Fennel, Electric Beetroot, and Prickly Purple Heart Cactus Pear, it can be hard to pick just one—and luckily you don’t have to. Grab a pre-made gift pack or assemble your own out of their stock of mini-sized jars. Friendincheeses.com.

> EGGS

GLAUM FAMILY RANCH Sure, you can buy eggs from Glaum Family Ranch in pretty much any grocery store, but only at their Corralitos headquarters do they pop out of an antique vending machine accompanied by singing, dancing, holiday-attired mechanical chickens. Need even more novelty than that? Ask the staff for a flat of the extra-large brown organic eggs—many of them have two yolks. Glaumeggranch.com.

FOOD&DRINK

t s a f k B r ea The

Club

SIMPLE SUGGESTIONS FOR A MEMORABLE MORNING MEAL MADE FROM THE BEST LOCAL INGREDIENTS

W

By Melissa Duge Spiers

ith a farmers market in every corner of the county and store shelves groaning with locally made products, Santa Cruz is the perfect place to plan a farm-to-table (or, better yet, farm-to-bed) brunch. In order to start your day off in style, simply choose your level of effort—DIY or prefab—and add your beverage of choice.

PREFAB BRUNCH

Don’t want to go through the hassle of amassing ingredients and doing all of the cooking yourself? Order a full custom brunch spread from In The Breadbox. Owner/chef Jenn Ulmer Jenkins has been supplying Santa Cruz restaurants with delectable gluten-free menu items for years, and now she offers take-out meals for ordinary folks. A music buff, Ulmer provides an a la carte menu with delicious, quirkily named picks like Always On My Mind (an asparagus, sun-dried tomato and artichoke quiche with quinoa flour), the Soulshine (a zucchini pineapple coffee cake with cream cheese frosting), or The Unknown Legend (a cinnamon streusel muffin with raw honey butter swirl). Inthebreadbox.com.

PHOTO: MARA MILAM SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 113


• Sustainable Seafood • Fresh, Local & Organic Produce • Natural Source-Verified Meats

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| www.idealbarandgrill.com |

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FOOD&DRINK

DRINKS

Hidden Fortress Coffee is brewing up business one organic, fair-trade cup at a time By TARA FATEMI WALKER

When Amelia Loftus and her husband, Patrick, bought a house on 3.5 acres in Royal Oaks in 2010, they jumped at the chance to start a garden and build a chicken coop. Their burgeoning homesteading efforts grew the following year, when Loftus left her job of 15 years and her father passed away, leaving her a small inheritance. “Suddenly I had time and a little seed money, so the desire to start a small farm took hold,” says Loftus, who has nurtured a passion for organic, local food since spending time on a Vermont farm in her youth. “We built chicken coops and planted fruit trees, and started our micro farm.” They christened it Hidden Fortress after a movie by the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. “It suited our tucked-away location,” she notes. Selling pasture-raised eggs and fruit from their trees yielded meager revenue, but Loftus had an idea for fortifying the budding farm. “Fortunately, I had the foresight to

invest in another venture at the same time: I bought a small commercial coffee-roasting machine,” she says. “Roasting coffee had the potential to generate enough income to make a small farm with value-added products viable.” Hidden Fortress Coffee was born in 2012, when Loftus began selling at local farmers markets utilizing a solar-powered coffee booth. “As a market vendor, I became a part of the local farming community, and the relationships I have built with local farmers are incredibly important,” Loftus says. In November 2016, she opened Hidden Fortress Café, Watsonville’s first coffee roastery/café. It was the product of Loftus’ determination and nonstop work, and a supportive community of family, friends and business backers who donated to her Kickstarter fundraising campaign. The café features an intimate, comfortable atmosphere and stocks a variety of coffee, snacks and items including waffles, quiche,

sandwiches, salads, and soup. Loftus uses vendors such as The Green Waffle, Second Street Café, Kelly’s French Bakery and HOME Restaurant. “Opening a cafe with a food menu gave me a new way to work with local food producers, as a buyer,” Loftus notes. “Our business is still quite small, and the volume we purchase is pretty low, but as we grow we hope to be a better source of business for local farms and food artisans.” The café’s most popular coffee drink is a traditional hot mocha made with high-quality organic cocoa, organic milk (or alternative milk), and organic sugar if the customer wants sugar added. At farmers markets, the cold-brew mocha is the top seller. The espresso blend, which Loftus fine-tuned over the course of several years, is one of Hidden Fortress’ bestselling bagged coffees. At the heart of it all is coffee with values that her customers can get behind: Loftus’ coffee is organic and fairly traded, and produced by

Opposite: Coffee maven Amelia Loftus pictured at her Hidden Fortress Café. PHOTO: COURTESY OF AMELIA LOFTUS SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 117


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FOOD&DRINK

DRINKS

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF AMELIA LOFTUS

“When I roast coffee, I am making my best possible effort to honor the farmers who put in the lion’s share of work to produce that pound of coffee.” —Amelia Loftus, owner of Hidden Fortress Coffee

small-scale micro farmers who often do all of the processing by hand or with co-op facilities in their own community. Loftus roasts the beans in small batches and packs them in environmentally friendly bags. Giving credit to farmers is important to her. “I really love coffee, and knowing that it is mostly produced on small farms and is a very laborintensive crop has given me huge respect for these farmers,” she says. “When I roast coffee, I am making my best possible effort to

honor the farmers who put in the lion’s share of work to produce that pound of coffee,” she adds. “On average, it takes me about 10 minutes to roast and bag that pound of coffee that took more than 2.5 hours of farm work to produce.” For Loftus, all of the effort comes back to the pleasure found in a simple cup of coffee. “I love the look on a customer’s face when they experience a great cup of coffee,” she says. “I am lucky to see this quite often. There are still so many

people that have not really enjoyed good coffee. It is almost a knee-jerk reaction to dump a bunch of cream and sugar in the coffee before actually tasting it. I always encourage taking a sip of fresh-brewed black coffee, then adding extras if wanted. I’ll never forget the woman at the farmers market who took this suggestion, and after tasting asked me to fill the cup to the brim. She spent 20 minutes at a nearby table with that cup, and the look of enjoyment on her face was a huge reward.”

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 11 9


SANTA CRUZ & APTOS , CA

THEPA RISHPUBL ICK .COM

Westside - Santa Cruz Great pub fare, delicious cocktails, and a rotating selection of the best beer we can find to tap. 841 Almar Ave, Santa Cruz Open everyday for lunch & dinner 11am - 2am, Sunday Brunch open at 10am

NEW Aptos Location Two full bars, rotating taps, delicious pub fare, patio seating, thirst quenching cocktails 8017 Soquel Drive, Aptos Open everyday for lunch & dinner 11am - Midnight Sat/Sun open until 1 am

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Ocean View Lunch & Dinner Daily Reservations Suggested

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SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 12 1


BULLDOG

BRITISH PUB 611 LIGHTHOUSE AVE. The Locals Bar For Food & Fun!

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O P E N M O N D AY - S U N D AY 12 2 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES

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SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 12 3


CAFE CRUZ

DINING GUIDE Downtown ASSEMBLY Seasonal rustic California cuisine. 1108 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 824-6100, www.assembleforfood.com

AQUARIUS - DREAM INN Spectacular oceanfront dining just off the beach in Santa Cruz. One of Santa Cruz's top dining destinations, Aquarius offers seafood and organic Californian cuisine. Open every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as brunch on Sundays. 175 W. Cliff Drive, www.dreaminnsantacruz.com

BETTY'S EAT INN Locally owned burger joint with a fun vibe. Features award-winning burgers, fries, salads, beer, wine and shakes. Soak up the sun on the

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outdoor patios at all three locations. Expanded menu and full bar at this location only. 1222 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 600-7056, www.bettyburgers.com. Other locations: Midtown (505 Seabright Ave.) and Capitola (1000 41st Ave.).

EL PALOMAR Unique and fresh Mexican cuisine, family recipes. 1336 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 425-7575, www.elpalomarsantacruz.com

HULA'S ISLAND GRILL California twist on Hawaiian island grill and tiki bar. 221 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-4852, www.hulastiki.com

IDEAL BAR & GRILL A Santa Cruz institution with amazing beach, boardwalk and

wharf views. Open every day, featuring nightly specials and a full bar. 106 Beach St., Santa Cruz, (831) 423-3827, www.idealbarandgrill.com

teas in a modern and casual dining atmosphere. 1319 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 420-1700, www.pacificthaisantacruz.com

LAILI

PLEASURE PIZZA

Santa Cruz's answer to high-quality Mediterranean / Indian / Pakistani / Afghan food. 101 Cooper St., Santa Cruz, (831) 423-4545, www. lailirestaurant.com

Offering traditional pizza, as well as new and exciting tastes and textures. 1415 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 600-7859, www.pleasurepizzasc.com

THE OASIS TASTING ROOM & KITCHEN A collaboration between Uncommon Brewers and el Salchichero. Enjoy beer, small plates, burgers, and ramen. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. 415 A River St., Santa Cruz, (831) 621-8040, www.oasissantacruz.com

PACIFIC THAI Authentic Thai cuisine and boba

PONO HAWAIIAN GRILL AND THE REEF Traditional Hawaiian grill, poke bar, fresh ingredients, full bar. 120 Union St., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-7666, www.ponohawaiiangrill.com

POUR TAPROOM Gastropub fare with vegan and gluten-free options. Sixty beers and eight wines on tap. 110 Cooper St., Ste. 100B,(831) 535-7007, pourtaproom.com/santa-cruz.


& Authentic Hawaiian Style Cuisine...

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SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 12 5


FOOD&DRINK DINING GUIDE

LUNCH: MONSUN 11:303:15 HAPPY HOUR: MONFRI 46 LIVE MUSIC: THURS 69 • SAT & SUN 25

SOIF RESTAURANT & WINE BAR

LA POSTA RESTAURANT

A comfortable place to drink great wine, eat food that is as good as the wine, and then—if the wine is to your liking—buy some and take it home. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 423-2020, www.soifwine.com

With inventive Italian dishes crafted from local and seasonal ingredients, La Posta is a neighborhood restaurant that brings the soul of Italian cuisine into the heart of Seabright. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. 538 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 457-2782, lapostarestaurant.com.

ZOCCOLI’S

SEABRIGHT BREWERY

Iconic delicatessen, sandwiches, salads, sides. 1534 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 423-1711,www.zoccolis.com

Rotating beer selection, with dogfriendly outdoor patio. 519 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-2739, www.seabrightbrewery.com

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Harbor SUNDAY "LOCAL'S NIGHT" 3 COURSE PREFIXED DINNER $30 MONDAY "GARY'S RIB NIGHT" FULL RACK $20 ALL NIGHT HAPPY HOUR TUESDAY "ITALIAN NIGHT" SPAGHETTI & MEATBALLS $17 WEDNESDAY "SURF & TURF" $30 THURSDAY "DATE NIGHT" FEATURED WINES BY THE BOTTLE HALF PRICE WITH ANY ENTREE

THE CROW’S NEST Iconic restaurant and bar located at the harbor. 2218 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, (831) 476-4560, www.crowsnest-santacruz.com

Midtown AKIRA Sushi made with fresh-caught seafood and locally grown produce. 1222 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 600-7093, www.akirasantacruz.com

ALOHA ISLAND GRILLE Authentic Hawaiian-style plate lunches. 1700 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz, (831) 479-3299, www.alohaislandgrille.com

Westside/Scotts Valley BACK NINE GRILL & BAR Offers daily fresh grill favorites and specials, including a special kids' menu, along with a selection of local California wines and a spirited list of specialty cocktails. 555 Hwy 17, Santa Cruz, www.backninegrill.com

BURGER. Grass-fed beef, fun atmosphere, and a great beer menu. 1520 Mission St., Santa Cruz, (831) 425-5300, www.burgersantacruz.com

CASCADES BAR & GRILL AT COSTANOA California cuisine, local, organic, and handcrafted ingredients. 2001 Rossi Road at Hwy 1, Pescadero, (650) 879-1100, www.costanoa.com

THE CRÊPE PLACE Array of savory and sweet crêpes, French food and live music. 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 429-6994, www.thecrepeplace.com

CHARLIE HONG KONG Vegan-oriented menu. Southeast Asian fusion, organic noodle and rice bowls. Chicken, beef, pork and salmon offered. Family and dog friendly. 1141 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 426-5664, www.charliehongkong.com

EL JARDIN RESTAURANT Delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine featuring locally grown, fresh ingredients. 655 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz, (831) 477-9384, www.eljardinrestaurant.net

12 6 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES

HOLLINS HOUSE At Pasatiempo. Magnificent views, award-winning cuisine, and outstanding wine list. 20 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz, (831) 459-9177, www. pasatiempo.com/hollins-house

MISSION ST. BBQ Serving up smoked barbecue, craft beer and live music. 1618 Mission St., Santa Cruz, (831) 458-2222, www.facebook.com/missionstbbq

PARISH PUBLICK HOUSE British-influenced pub food with full bar. 841 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 421-0507, www.parishpublickhouse.com


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FOOD&DRINK

DINING GUIDE

WINGSTOP

SHADOWBROOK

The go-to destination when you crave fresh wings, hand-cut seasoned fries and tasty sides. Save time and order online. 845 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 454-9464, www.wingstop.com

Fine dining with a romantic setting, cable car lift. A Capitola tradition since 1947. 1750 Wharf Road, Capitola, (831) 4751511, www.shadowbrook-capitola.com

SOTOLA

Eastside/Capitola AVENUE CAFÉ Serving traditional breakfast and lunch, along with some Mexican favorites. 427 Capitola Ave., Capitola (831) 515-7559, www.avenuecafecapitola.com

CHILL OUT CAFE Breakfast burritos, espresso drinks, beautiful garden. 2860 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, (831) 477-0543, www.chilloutcafesantacruz.com

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, www.pleasurepizzasc.com

MARGARITAVILLE Waterfront restaurant offering a lively setting for casual Californian cuisine and cocktails. 231 Esplanade, Capitola, (831) 476-2263, margaritavillecapitola.com

PARADISE BEACH GRILLE

California farmstead concept focusing on local farms, ranches and seafood. In convivial quarters with an outdoor patio. 231 Esplanade Ste. 102, Capitola, (831) 854- 2800

ZAMEEN AT THE POINT Fresh, fast and healthy Mediterranean cuisine. Made-to-order wraps, bowls and salads. Open Tuesday through Sunday. 851 41st Ave, (831) 713-5520

ZELDA'S ON THE BEACH Indoor and outdoor dining with a beachfront deck, where American dishes, including seafood, are served. 203 Esplanade, Capitola, (831) 4754900, www.zeldasonthebeach.com

Soquel CAFE CRUZ Rosticceria and bar, nice atmosphere, fresh and local. 2621 41st Ave., Soquel, (831) 476-3801, www.cafecruz.com

THE JERK HOUSE

Fine dining in the Capitola Village. An award-winning beachside restaurant with spectacular ocean views. 215 Esplanade, Capitola, (831) 476-4900, www.paradisebeachgrille.com

Traditional and fusion Jamaican cuisine made with fresh, organic and locally sourced ingredients. Mellow vibe and outdoor patio. 2525 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz, (831) 316-7575, www.jerkhousesantacruz.com

THE POINT CHOPHOUSE

SURF CITY SANDWICH

A traditional neighborhood steak “chop” house restaurant where generations of local families, friends and visitors to the area meet to celebrate in a casual setting. With good honest food, local draft beer and wine, and premium cocktails, The Point Chophouse offers something for everyone—even the little ones. Dinner and happy hour daily; breakfast and lunch weekends. 3326 Portola Drive, Santa Cruz, (831) 4762733, www.thepointchophouse.com

THE SAND BAR Capitola's new hot spot for great food, cocktails, and weekly live music. 211 Esplanade, Capitola. (831) 462-1881

100% Ocean View Guest Rooms & Event Spaces Only Beachfront Hotel in Santa Cruz Catering by Jack O’Neill Restaurant & Lounge

Fast-casual dining with craft sandwiches, gourmet soups, salads, and a microtaproom. 4101 Soquel Drive, (831) 346-6952, www.surfcitysandwich.com

TORTILLA FLATS For more than 25 years, their Mexican food has blended the fieriness of Mexico with the sophistication of French sauces, and the earthiness of the Yucatan and complexity of Santa Fe with all the freshness and lightness that Californians expect. 4616 Soquel Drive, Soquel, (831) 476-1754, tortillaflatsdining.com 175 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 831.316.0576 www.dreaminnsantacruz.com

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 12 9


FOOD&DRINK DINING GUIDE

Aptos/Watsonville AKIRA Now in Aptos, sushi made with freshcaught seafood and locally grown produce. 105 Post Office Drive, Ste. D,  (831) 708-2154, akirasantacruz.com

APTOS ST. BBQ Santa Cruz County's best smoked barbecue, craft brews and live blues every night. 8059 Aptos St., Aptos, (831) 662-1721, www.aptosstbbq.com

BITTERSWEET BISTRO With its vast menu options from burgers to filet mignon, locally sourced produce, fresh fish and amazing desserts, the varied ambiance is perfect for an intimate dinner or casual gathering with family and friends. Enjoy a local beer on tap in

13 0 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES

the lounge while watching one of your favorite sports. Relax by the koi pond during happy hour with a handcrafted cocktail. The heated outdoor patio welcomes good dog owners and their furry friends. 787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, (831) 662-9799, www.bittersweetbistro.com

CALIFORNIA GRILL

BURGER.

Authentic Mexican cuisine with fresh ingredients, high-quality meat and seafood. 1934 Main St., Watsonville, (831) 761-2161, www.elpalomarcilantros.com

Grass-fed beef, fun atmosphere, great beer menu. 7941 Soquel Drive, Aptos, (831) 662-2811, www.burgeraptos.com

CAFE BITTERSWEET

Featuring fresh, local, organic produce from Lakeside Organic Gardens, choice meats, fresh seafood and refreshing drinks. 1970 A Freedom Blvd., Freedom, (831) 722-8052, www.californiagrillrestaurant.com

CILANTROS

MANUEL'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT Traditional, delicious recipes, cooked fresh daily, served with a genuine smile. 261 Center Ave., Aptos, (831) 688-4848, www.manuelsrestaurant.com

PALAPAS RESTAURANT & CANTINA Coastal Mexican Cuisine. Extensive tequila selection. Happy Hour, and dinner specials. 21 Seascape Blvd., Aptos, (831) 662-9000, www.palapasrestaurant.com

Breakfast and lunch served Tuesday through Sunday. Outdoor dog-friendly patio. 787 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Aptos, 831662-9799, www.bittersweetbistro.com

FLATS BISTRO

CAFE RIO

THE HIDEOUT

Resort Drive, Aptos, (831) 688-7120,

Enjoy ocean-front dining with breathtaking views. 131 Esplanade, Aptos, (831) 688-8917, www.caferioaptos.com

Fill your plate with good grub, pour a good drink, enjoy attentive and friendly service. 9051 Soquel Drive, Aptos, (831) 688-5566, www.thehideoutaptos.com

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Coffee, pastries and wood-fired pizzas. 113 Esplanade, Rio Del MarBeach, Aptos, (831) 661-5763, www.flatsbistro.com

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FOOD&DRINK SI N C E 1 9 6 5

DINING GUIDE

SEVERINO’S BAR & GRILL Award-winning chowders, locally sourced ingredients. 7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos, (831) 6888987, www.severinosbarandgrill.com

ZAMEEN MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE Flavorful meals in a casual dining setting. 7528 Soquel Drive, Aptos, (831) 688-4465, www.zameencuisine.com

San Lorenzo Valley COWBOY BAR AND GRILL Sandwiches, steaks and American fare served in a kid-friendly joint with a country-western theme. 5447 Hwy 9, Felton, (831) 3352330, www.feltoncowboy.com

THE CREMER HOUSE The perfect spot to enjoy a cold, handcrafted beer, a glass of local wine, or a homemade soda while trying dishes using local, organic, farm-raised sustainable ingredients, as well as vegetarian items. 6256 Hwy 9, Felton, (831) 335-3976, www.cremerhouse.com

Moss Landing HAUTE ENCHILADA CAFE An eclectic menu made with sustainable seafood and local organic produce. Wine and beer tasting plus two art galleries featuring local artists. 7902 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, 633-5843, www.hauteenchilada.com

THE WHOLE ENCHILADA Mexican seafood restaurant with a relaxed harbor atmosphere. 7904 CA-1, Moss Landing, 633-3038, www.wholeenchilada.com.

426 Alvarado St., (831) 655-2337, www.alvaradostreetbrewery.com

BIG FISH GRILL Open for lunch, brunch, and dinner, or stop by to enjoy a cocktail and stunning views at the restaurant’s bar and lounge. The ambiance is casual California. 101 Fisherman's Wharf #1, Monterey, (831) 372-7562, www.bigfishmonterey.com

BULL AND BEAR WHISKEY AND TAP HOUSE Chill hangout with a patio and live music. Dishes up classic American eats plus a variety of brews. 479 Alvarado St., (831) 655-3031, www.bullandbearca.com

CANNERY ROW BREWING CO. A family-friendly, beer-concept restaurant that offers the second largest number of beers available on tap in Northern California. 95 Prescott Ave., Monterey, (831) 643-2722, www. canneryrowbrewingcompany.com

JACKS RESTAURANT & LOUNGE Eatery at the Portola Hotel serving sustainable cuisine in a nauticalthemed dining room and lounge. 2 Portola Plaza, Monterey, (831) 6492698, www.portolahotel.com/jacksrestaurant-lounge

MISSION RANCH Serving American comfort food in a farmhouse restored by Clint Eastwood with pastoral views. 26270 Dolores St., Carmel-By-The-Sea, (831) 624-6436, www.missionranchcarmel.com

MY ATTIC A great place to take a date or go with friends after work for appetizers and signature cocktails with a plush vibe. 414 Alvarado St., Monterey, (831) 647-1834, www.myattic1937.com

MYO FROZEN YOGURT

Monterey County ABALONETTI Specializes in Monterey Bay calamari and offers almost a dozen varieties of squid dishes. 57 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, (831) 3731851, www.abalonettimonterey.com

ALVARADO STREET BREWERY Brewery serving craft beer and local eats in a historic space with an industrial vibe.

13 2 | SANTA CRUZ WAVES

Create your own fro-yo masterpiece with rotating yogurt flavors and creative toppings. Multiple locations around Monterey County. 1091 S. Main St., Salinas, (831) 759-9769 and 840 Obama Way, Seaside, (831) 375-3769

PETER B’S BREWPUB This casual eatery and on-site brewery offers American bar bites, beer flights and growlers. 2 Portola Plaza, Monterey, (831) 649-2699, www.portolahotel.com


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COOL OFF

FIELD NOTES

Greg Long, Ramon Navarro and Vicente Yazbek load Parley bags filled with debris onto a fishing boat. PHOTO: NIKKI BROOKS

Fiberglass Forearms Clearing a shipwreck from Isla De Todos Santos By KYLE THIERMANN

B

esides a massive lighthouse, a dirt trail, and a few small structures surrounding the lighthouse, the island of Isla De Todos Santos is untouched. The only permanent resident is the lighthouse keeper, who greets us in Spanish as we approach. Those who choose to live in solitude fascinate me and I want to ask him a hundred questions, but there’s no time. We have a long day of work ahead of us. One year ago a fishing vessel crashed on the island, 12 miles off the coast of Ensenada, Baja. The fisherman who took us to the small island claimed that it was crashed purposely to collect insurance money, but no one could prove it. Regardless, the vessel remained on the northwestern side of the island, beaten down and broken apart by salt and wind and waves. With SCUBA gear, a Honda wave runner and industrial-sized trash bags, a team of 15 volunteers, myself included, chartered two fishing vessels to take us to the islands and clear debris. Isla De Todos Santos is home to a well-known big wave where

many of the world’s best surfers— including volunteer Greg Long—cut their teeth in heavy water. The trip was organized by the World Surfing Reserve of Bahia de Todos Santos and Save The Waves, and supported by Parley For The Oceans. Locals Mara Arroyo Rodriguez and Vicente Yazbek, the manager and ambassador, respectively, of the World Surfing Reserve, were leaders on the ground. In place of sand, the island’s beaches are covered with slippery rocks that vary in size from tennis balls to bowling balls to beach balls. The swell isn’t big enough for the main wave to break, but it is powerful enough to surge rocks up and down the shore. Fishing line, rubber boots, and other detritus dot a quarter-mile stretch of shoreline. The water is so clear that much of the wreckage is visible 20 feet below the surface. Our SCUBA team spends the day retrieving submerged fiberglass panels as big as doors that sit on the ocean floor and along the rocks. Most of the debris is easy enough to move into the trash bags and transport to the vessels. The high tide

and swell, however, pose complications when we attempt to move the fiberglass panels. Chris Mumford, a San Diego construction worker and Todos regular, uses surfboard straps to lasso a panel. When he sees a lull, he scurries down the boulders with the strap in his hands and heaves the panel into the surf. Using one hand to pull the strap and the other to swim, Mumford groans as he pulls the panel beyond the surging surf and onto the wave runner. I go next. On my way out, the panel gets caught on a boulder and I find myself in a dangerous position as a set approaches. The surge rolls me onto the rocks as I try to free the panel, resulting in a bloody knee. Long, our most logical team member, recommends that we find a safer entry point down the beach. We do so, and it more than doubles our efficiency. We haul debris until sunset, returning with 13 full trash bags. My chest and forearms itch from embedded shards of fiberglass. That night, the volunteers drink beer and laugh and face-plant into our pillows, exhausted and satisfied. SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 13 7


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J COMPANY FEATURE

NICK POURFARD HANDCRAFTS PRISMA GUITARS USING OLD SKATEBOARDS AND A DIY ETHOS By LINDA KOFFMAN

ick Pourfard says he’s never had a real job, ever. While it’s true his role as the founder of a thriving company certainly isn’t traditional, he’s managed to be profitable doing what he’s passionate about: The 26 year old wakes up every day, walks downstairs to his garage workshop in San Francisco’s Sunset district, and converts used skateboard decks into guitars. “And when I’m over making stuff,” he says, “I just go skate.”

Unlike most luthiers, the man behind Prisma Guitars didn’t name his company after himself, but he’s gotten a lot of attention for how his persona, DIY ethos, and skateboard lifestyle infuse his steel-string innovation. “People see me and

think, ‘This dude has a crazy life!’ and they’re interested in that in addition to the guitars,” he says. Inspired by his brother, Pourfard

first picked up both the skateboard and the guitar when he was 13. He tried his hand at building a guitar at 18 and officially launched Prisma in 2014, while a student at San Francisco State University. It takes about 20 hours to make one guitar, and he culls wood from between four to 50 old skate decks for each beautiful stringed beast. With the help of a small crew, he’s busted out about 200 since the business began. Now, with nearly 10 dealers spanning the United States, Tokyo, and the U.K., plus custom orders from all over the globe, the average cost of a Prisma original is $2,800.

PHOTOS: COURTESY OF NICK POURFARD SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 13 9


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J COMPANY FEATURE

On a quiet residential street, the boutique home operation is packed with a full woodshop, half a machine shop, and about 2,000 donated skate decks (sourced from distributors as well as individual skaters) whose salvaged wood and rough-hewn artwork will be sanded, glued, and compressed into one-of-a-kind guitars. A signed Iron Maiden photo (Steve Harris owns a Prisma bass) is on the wall alongside a framed photo of classic Italian graphic designer Massimo Vignelli. The decor of the space and his diametric influences reflect how Pourfard converges creative urban rebellion with acute entrepreneurial know-how. Prisma Guitars is a highend amalgam of music, skateboarding, and art that has proven more than just a gimmick riding the current wave of pricey upcycled goods. Every detail, down to the electronics, is handmade, and players like Jared Mattson (of The Mattson 2) and Justin Figueroa are fans of the resulting riffs.

“If the guitars sounded like shit I wouldn’t be doing it,” says Pourfard, donning Converse shoes, Carhartts, and a white T-shirt with myriad tattoos crawling out from under its sleeves. “It has to be 100-percent well rounded in that it looks cool, the brand is cool, and it sounds cool. My whole goal from the core is to show people how raw we are from start to finish.” Counterculture rebellion has long informed Pourfard’s life. As a teen growing up in San Diego, he would use plumbing tools to modify city streets to make them skateable—taking knobs off of ledges and cutting metal handrails out so that skaters could use a transformed space. “I just get more enjoyment out of watching other people,” he says. “Whether I skated it or not, I would still create the spot, and if I saw someone skating this thing I made, all that trouble risking going to jail was worth it. And now it’s like that with the guitar.” A passion to modify the norm in order to create

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 14 1


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J COMPANY FEATURE

something wholly original is also evident in the Prisma branding. Pourfard wanted his company to reference color more than anything, and from that—paired with his love of Pink Floyd—a logo was born; his signature striped triangle on every guitar headstock resembles the cover of Dark Side of the Moon. Paying no heed to MerriamWebster when picking a name, he simply decided to create a new word. “Prism almost sounds like it should end with an ‘a’ anyway,” he says, “so I just made it that way.” It’s that kind of no-fear, color-outside-the-lines thinking combined with an enterprising mind that has brought Pourfard success at such a young age. When he moved to San Francisco at 20 to study industrial design and business marketing at SFSU, his talent for taking what’s presented in front of him to the next level really took off. Every aspect of Prisma Guitars as a business started out as a college assignment.

“My logo was a school project, my website was a school project, my Facebook page was a school project for a marketing class,” he laughs. He was so good at realizing the full potential of the curriculum, McGrawHill has plans to reference Prisma Guitars in a marketing textbook. The student not only “passed the classes with flying colors,” he founded a killer company out of them. He then skipped walking at his 2015 graduation ceremony at AT&T Park to present a Prisma guitar at the Jay Boy Classic skateboarding contest in honor of Jay Adams in Venice Beach. Now with his guitar gig garnering plenty of street and industry cred, Pourfard is currently amped about furniture making and rug designing as next frontiers, and it’s looking like he won't have to work for anyone else anytime soon. But, what if? “If I ever do get a real job,” he says, “I would hope I’d be able to take skate breaks.”

SANTA CRUZ WAVES | 14 3


“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” ―Dr. Seuss PHOTO: BRYAN GARRISON

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WELCOME TO APTOS VILLAGE A Collection of New Homes in Aptos

At Aptos Village you are truly stepping back to days gone by. A simpler time where life strolls by at a leisurely pace. Where you know your neighbors. Quaint shops, a variety of restaurants for any occasion. Even a historic apple barn, which will house a new neighborhood grocer. It’s all here in the hear t of Aptos, thoughtfully planned among 11.5 spacious acres.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE Nestled between trees and the ocean, this traditional, pedestrian-friendly town square provides timeless architecture and small town charm that harkens back to another era, while providing all the luxury and energy efficiency of today. A distinct collection of 69 homes, with plans ranging from 1-3 bedrooms and townhouse options, this vibrant community has a design for every modern family.

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Santa Cruz Waves Feb/March 2018 Issue 4.5  
Santa Cruz Waves Feb/March 2018 Issue 4.5  
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