Santa Cruz County is located on California’s Central Coast, 65 miles south of San Francisco and 35 miles north of Monterey. Situated on the northern side of the Monterey Bay and rimmed by redwood forested mountains, Santa Cruz County has 29 miles of beaches and 14 state parks.
Santa Cruz is one of America’s surfing capitals, complete with its own museum devoted to the sport, and a beach whose waves are known all over the world.
I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, and the whole lifestyle revolves around the beach. My parents met surfing, and the beach was a major part of our daily lives.
I went to UC Santa Cruz, overlooking the Bay of Monterey and Santa Cruz, in 1969. Back then, the city was part-hippie, part-surfer, but mostly retired chicken farmer.
I live in Santa Cruz. I moved here in 1974 and couldn’t leave.
Santa Cruz is blessed not only with natural wonders, but also with gifted souls who can fashion nature’s bounty into man-made treasures.
Just up the coast from Santa Cruz lies Half Moon Bay, a coastal city in San Mateo County, California. It’s an idyllic enclave and truly the perfect place to spend some time away from the big city.
Growing up in northern California has had a big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors. When I lived in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day.
Just off the Half Moon Bay coast of California, winter storms and underwater geography combine to create some the world’s biggest and most dangerous waves. The Mavericks Surf Contest gives the world’s best surfers a chance to pit their skills against the big ones that can rise over 50 feet high, but this contest has an interesting twist. No one knows when it will be held until just 24 hours before it starts.
The big waves come in winter, and around the end of each year, the official waiting period for the Mavericks Surf Contest begins. When conditions are right, organizers call a field of 24 surfers (who have been pre-selected) to tell them when the Mavericks Surf Contest will begin.
“I like to go for a little drive up the California coast.”
Author: Colin Farrell
“In California in the early Spring, There are pale yellow mornings, when the mist burns slowly into day, The air stings like Autumn, clarifies like pain – Well, I have dreamed this coast myself.”
Author: Robert Hass
If you are looking to surf in North America then head on out to California – there is great surf all the way down the coast. It is worth the trip to catch the big wave surfers riding the mountains of Maverick’s during the huge winter swells.
“Soon it got dusk, a grapey dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
“The setting sun burned the sky pink and orange in the same bright hues as surfers’ bathing suits. It was beautiful deception, Bosch thought, as he drove north on the Hollywood Freeway to home. Sunsets did that here. Made you forget it was the smog that made their colors so brilliant, that behind every pretty picture there could be an ugly story.”
― Michael Connelly, The Black Echo