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Surfing in Santa Cruz

By Linda Tancs

Santa Cruz proudly claims to be the location of the very first board surfing ever in North America, at the “Rivermouth” break in 1885. A strong surf culture still prevails today, enhanced by the locale’s dedication as a World Surfing Reserve in 2012. An initiative of Save the Waves, the program serves as a global model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting the key environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas. At least 23 consistent surf breaks are sited along this marine protected area, including the world-class breaks of Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. Not surprisingly, the city hosts a surfing museum overlooking Steamer Lane tracing over 100 years of surfing history in town. Winter is always the best time for surfing consistent waves, and the breaks are rated from “expert” to “beginner.”

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