Santa Cruz mixes Northern California ruggedness with classic surf culture. There's surf history on every corner and a high-quality wave at the end of every street, headlined by the standout point break Steamer Lane. Hunter Jones and Lex Weinstein link up with local standout Noah "Waggy" Wegrich to surf the challenging and iconic wave, bestow the Saltiest Local award on a pioneer in the women's surf scene, and of course, evaluate the town's best post-surf meal on the Burrito-Meter. To round out their time in Santa Cruz, they visit the O'Neill factory and then meet Ashley Lloyd, a local shaper building boards with sustainable materials and helping restore the kelp forests around the area.
Santa Cruz is the traditional homeland of the Uypi tribe who, like the surrounding tribes, spoke the Awaswas language. There are no known survivors of the Awaswas speakers today. But their neighbors, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, still steward the land organized as the Amah Mustun Land Trust in an area that stretches from Año Nuevo in the north, along the ridgelines and west slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay, south to the Salinas River and inland to include the Pajaro and San Benito watersheds. The Amah Mutsun don't want the Awaswas people to be forgotten so they acknowledge the Awaswas people as the original people of Santa Cruz.