Surfing in Santa Cruz

Whatever your skill level, you can find the perfect beach!

Surfing's birthplace

Find your bliss on the waves in Santa Cruz

Surf's Up!

O'Neill pro-surfer Jordy Smith masters the waves in Santa Cruz

Take a lesson

Dip into the Santa Cruz surf scene

Home » Things To Do » santa cruz surf culture Bookmark and Share

Santa Cruz Surf Culture

In the place nicknamed "Surf City," you'll definitely want to dip into the Santa Cruz surf scene. Home to wetsuit pioneer Jack O'Neill, surfers have been riding the waves in Santa Cruz, California since 1885, when three Hawaiian princes, vacationing in Santa Cruz brought this iconic sport to the mainland. Using redwood surfboards made at a local lumber mill, Hawaiian princes Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, David Kawananakoa and Edward Keliiahonui tested the local waves and found paradise.

A century after surfing was born in Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum was born. Housed inside the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, the museum overlooks legendary surf spot Steamer Lane. Historic photographs, early wetsuits designed by local Jack O'Neill, unsinkable vintage redwood surfboards, and other items trace over 120 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz.

Capitola Hotel

Steps to the beach, in heart of Capitola Village

Best Western Plus Capitola-By-the-Sea

Near beach, shops & quaint Capitola/Soquel Village

Howard Johnson Inn at Santa Cruz Wharf

Offers comfortable ocean view guest rooms

Chaminade Resort & Spa

Mission-style resort overlooking the Monterey Bay.


Welcome to Santa Cruz - Surf Town USA

We pay homage to all things surf in Santa Cruz!



303 Water Street, Suite 100
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
800.833.3494 or 831.425.1234
prtips@santacruz.org