Santa Cruz Connected: The Best of #SantaCruzLife

Santa Cruz Connected, September, 2015

September was a month that, once again, reminded us of what a special place we live in. From breaching whales to begonias, and ancient fossils to celebrity pinatas, our special brand of quirkiness was on full display.

One of our most famous surfers suffered an unfortunate injury in the water and we learned a little about the rich history of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the surrounding area. A Chilean newspaper examined the identity of Santa Cruz, and a local kickstarter campaign got off to a hot start.

In this month’s edition of Santa Cruz Connected, we take a look at these stories, plus local social media accounts to follow, new businesses in town, and the best of the month from social media.

Local Big Wave Surfer Breaks Neck In Accident

Santa Cruz big wave surfer Shawn Dollar broke his neck in four places and got a concussion during a September surf accident. Despite sustaining the injuries while being thrown against large rocks by even larger waves, Dollar was able to find his way back to the shore where he was helped to safety and taken to the hospital. He is expected to recover full mobility. You can read more about what happened in this interview with People Magazine and this article from You can see Dollar ride a 60 foot wave in the video below from 2013.

10 New Things To Check Out In Santa Cruz

7×, a website that features the best of San Francisco and the Bay Area, published an article highlighting 10 new things to check out in Santa Cruz. Several hot new businesses made the list, including the likes of the New Bohemia Brewing CompanyMutari Chocolate House, and the Santa Cruz Food Lounge.

Boardwalk History: From Bath Houses To Casinos To Roller Coasters

Mobile Ranger published a piece that explores the history of the Boardwalk, from its early days as a saltwater bath house to its expansion to include a casino, ballroom and dining options. The Giant Dipper roller coaster and the carousel ride are two of the oldest attractions, both dating back to the early 1900s.

4 Million Year Old Whale Fossil Found In Scotts Valley

An ancient whale fossil was discovered in a construction site for a housing project in Scotts Valley. According to an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the fossil was discovered mostly intact and measures roughly 25 feet in length. A similar discovery was made in 2012 in the Pleasure Point area.

Santa Cruz: Surf Town Or Tech Hot Spot?

A Chilean newspaper, El Mercurio, published a story (translated for Santa Cruz Tech Beat) which explores the identity of Santa Cruz as it becomes more of a center for technology and new businesses. The article highlights the history of Santa Cruz as a laid back surf town that must now grapple with a changing identity amid the emergence of a growing and more tech-centered businesses community. You can read the translated article here.

Crafted In Santa Cruz Kickstarter Takes Off

After meeting its initial funding goal of $5,000, Crafted In SC is hoping to reach its stretch goal of $15,000 in funding. Crafted in SC is an apparel line that aims to celebrate and bring exposure to local artisans and businesses involved in the emerging local maker community. The project was co-founded by Matthew Swinnerton, who is also behind the popular Event Santa Cruz series that began in 2013, and Frank Scott Kruger, a local designer and co-founder of Humble Sea Brewing. You can learn more about the kickstarter campaign here and read more about it in this article from the Sentinel.

Trump Pinatas A Hit For Watsonville Business

Donald Trump has gotten a lot of attention during his bid for the presidency and one local business has found a way to turn that (presumably negative) attention into profits. According to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, Marquez Bros. Pinatas in Watsonville has been cranking out Donald Trump pinatas in response to consumer demand, selling hundreds of them over the Summer.

The Trump pinatas, which sell for $25, were initially produced as a special order item, but quickly became a best-seller. Alejandro Marquez, co-owner of the business, told the Mercury News, “I don’t take what he says personally. But I know why people really want to hit him.”

Family Friendly Stops: Highway 1 Road Trip

Santa Cruz life published a blog post about family friendly stops along Highway 1 in September. Seven stops made the cut, including activities like picking organic berries, visiting some local history, and of course, venturing out into nature. You can read the full article by clicking here.


UC Santa Cruz Continues To Shine

US News reviewed UC Santa Cruz in September, noting that its smaller size compared to other UC’s, higher levels of ethnic diversity, and the natural beauty that surrounds the campus. The article goes on to mention the residential college system–there are several distinct colleges that make up the UC Santa Cruz campus–as part of the appeal and success of the school.

Also mentioned in the US News article was the student-run farm on campus, which received accolades of its own from another publication. College Values Online named UC Santa Cruz as one of the top sustainable college-run farms in the US, coming in at #14. You can read the full article here.

Friends To Follow

DeLaveaga Disc Golf (The “Shack”) – One of the best online resources for staying in touch with the local disc golf scene, course upgrades and new discs for sale. You can follow them on Facebook here.

Santa Cruz Info Kiosk – If you’re wondering what’s going on in Santa Cruz on a random day, this is the place to look. The kiosk, located on Pacific Ave., regularly updates their Twitter and Facebook pages with the latest events and happenings from downtown.

New In Town

Santa Cruz Cryotherapy  – Cryotherapy is a treatment that uses subzero temperatures to help heal aches, pains and inflammation. The treatment, which has caught on among professional athletes, is the first of its kind in Santa Cruz County. You can read more about the new business in this article from the Mercury News, or connect with them on Facebook & Twitter.

food truck santa cruzTruck Stop SC – While certainly not a newcomer to Santa Cruz, the Truck Stop will get its very own physical location at Steamer Lane according to an article from the Sentinel. The owner, Fran Grayson, plans on having the new location open by year’s end and will add outdoor seating as well. Follow their adventures on Facebook & Twitter.

Best of the Month From Santa Cruz Social Media

santa cruz instagramBelow are some of our favorite social media posts from the last month. Tag your posts with #SantaCruzLife to share your favorite moments with us. Please connect with us on Instagram.

Labor Day always brings out the crowd at local beaches.

Short video of some of the action from the 63rd annual Capitola Begonia Festival.

Gorgeous evening shot of the Boardwalk from the water.

Old bathtubs and used shoes are perfectly acceptable planting pots in Santa Cruz.

Locals flocked to the beach to see our favorite tourists return in September.

And finally, we’ll leave you with some Instagram images from Santa Cruz Life readers. Want to see your photos here next month? Just tag them with #SantaCruzLife. We’ll pick our favorites to feature in next month’s edition of Santa Cruz Connected.

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#sunrise #morningrun #santacruzlife

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Line Up | #Hipstamatic #Loftus #DC

A post shared by J u l e s (@kre8ive_one) on

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See additional user submitted photos, and the best of #SantaCruzLife, here.
About Joshua Vincent

Joshua Vincent is a freelance writer who has lived in Santa Cruz for 12 years. Follow his tweets at @VincentChirps.