By Garrett Wheeler
Ok, so the above title is erroneous- nobody threatened anybody with violence, at least not openly. But something tells me that after Santa Cruz’s finest get a hold of the latest issue of Surfer Magazine, they’re going to be really f—king pissed.
Citing consistency of quality waves and a “low-key but thriving art scene, great wine, and access to massive expanse of naturally beauty”, the article placed Santa Cruz atop its list of America’s best surf towns. Nobody can disagree with the finding, except for the #2 town, Haleiwa, Hawaii. That little North Shore village is home to some of the best waves on earth (see: Pipeline, Backdoor, Sunset), and certainly blows Santa Cruz out of the water in that respect. But for reasons like “proximity to the West Coast’s most metropolitan city” and “numerous legendary breaks”, Surfer went with Santa Cruz. And now, I can tell you without hesitation, the locals want blood.
Beneath the hippy façade built by UCSC and the town’s vast array of “soul searchers”, Santa Cruz is a very angry place. Meth addicts abound, bar fights are common, and the local surfers, well, they don’t like you. At all. Outsiders are seen as invasive species, much in the way that Native Americans justifiably view white dudes as total rapists of their once sacred land. Breaks are ridiculously crowded, and kooks from Ojai to San Jose are completely oblivious to all forms of surfing etiquette. The hatred expressed by local surfers is best summarized by the lovely name given to all non-locals: maggot.
And so, now that Surfing Magazine has done its journalistic duty to the surfing world and reported on the best places for surfers to live, locals are undoubtedly disappointed. Disappointed to know that magazine subscribers in Fremont, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, and Gilroy will now be convinced that there is no better place in the US to go surfing than Santa Cruz. Disappointed to know that SUVs full of pimple-faced high-schoolers from Menlo Park will continue pouring into the Lane and the Point. But most of all, Santa Cruz locals will be disappointed that the word is out: Santa Cruz is a special place.
Wait, that’s not news.