Surfing at Santa Cruz

Richard Ha writes:

There was an interesting article recently in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Hawaiian royals honor Santa Cruz surfing history

Posted: 11/25/2009 01:30:17 AM PST

SANTA CRUZ — Take that, Huntington Beach.

The royal family of Hawaii boosted Santa Cruz's claim as the real Surf City, giving the city a bronze plaque honoring the three island princes who introduced surfing to the mainland when they first paddled out at the San Lorenzo River mouth in 1885. The City Council officially accepted the plaque Tuesday.

…According to Dunn's historical report, "Riders Like the Sea Spray: The Three Surfing Princes in Santa Cruz," Hawaiian princes Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, David Kawananakoa and Edward Keliiahonui visited family friends in Santa Cruz during their summer break from St. Matthew's Hall, a military school for boys that they attended in San Mateo, in 1885.

The three princes ordered 15-foot, 100 pound surfboards carved from local redwood and paddled out at the river mouth, where a large wave historically broke before the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor was built in the 1960s…. (Read more here)

In the mid-1960s, when I was in Army boot camp at Fort Ord, we went down to the boardwalk at Santa Cruz.  We did some body surfing on the south side of the beach, at the Boardwalk. I wonder if that was where the princes surfed?

This was the first time that I actually got in the water on the mainland. It was fun but shockingly cold compared to what I was accustomed. It was the coldest water I ever experienced. No wonder people were wearing wet suits.

Michael Bolte tells me, “The Boardwalk is bordered on the south side by the San Lorenzo river. There is a sandbar that forms off the river mouth that often has a nice break in the winter. I think this is where the princes surfed.”

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