East Versus West
Okay, let me break it down for ya’ll. First off, we’re not gangsters! The reason there’re East Siders and West Siders is the fact that Pleasure Point is located on East Cliff Drive and Steamer Lane is located on West Cliff Drive¿therefore, you have an East and a West.
This whole East versus West thing started back in the 60s, and yes, those dudes used to rumble and thrash each other and even rolled cars off the cliff at the Hook. There was the Pleasure Point Night Fighters and the West Side Raiders. The rivalry between them was crazy. You weren’t allowed to surf the other side of town unless you were a big badass. There’s a lot of history behind it, and glorious battles were fought. V.C. Vince Collier is still known as “The King” because of all the skulls he crushed back in the day. But those days are over, and the East and West have come together to wage war on the flood of outsiders moving in. There’s a major battle going on between shortboards and longboards, and the boys don’t allow donkeys on airplane wings to snake them.
Now, there’s always been a debate about where the border lies between both sides. Most agreed that the rivermouth is the border, but some guys got all nutty and started claiming Midtown, and said the rivermouth and the Harbor were off limits to everyone except the Midtown Boys. Plus you can’t forget the South Side, which is a crew from the Manresa region who claim the beaches. All in all, it’s just a bunch of guys claiming their local surf break. Everybody surfs everywhere, and there’re no bad vibes. So you have your East Side, your South Side, and your Midtown, but everybody knows the West Side is the best side! You feel me?
Spot:Steamer Lane, a.k.a. “the Lane”
Location:West Side¿Santa Cruz, California
What it is: The Lane is a long righthand point. On north and west swells, the wave gets broken up into two peaks. The first peak breaks on the point alongside a 30-foot cliff that happens to eat up a lot of boards. The second peak breaks out in the middle of the point (Middle Peak). It’s the biggest of the two, and breaks right and left. The left can reach up to twenty feet on some of those Mavs swells. The right on Middle Peak is mushy when it’s big, but reforms and gets good when it hits the inside, which is called Indicators. When Indicators is six to eight feet, it gets sooo insane.
On south swells, Middle Peak doesn’t break. Instead, the swell misses it and pushes more into the cliff, making a good, long wall that hugs the cliff. These swells are better and more hollow, but be careful: the waves break very close to the cliff, making it dangerous at high tides.
What the Lane likes:It likes all swells, and you mainly want medium tides. On small swells, you want a low tide, and on larger swells, higher tides are better.
What the Lane hates:South winds kill the Lane, making it totally choppy and hacked up.
What it wants to be when it grows up:The point wants to be the Box, Middle Peak wants to be Pipeline, and Indicators wants to be J-Bay.
Adjacent spots:On the far inside is Cowels Beach, where the last bit of waves that come down from the Lane roll across the sandbar, making ita great place to learn how to surf. To the north is It’s Beach, a whomping beachbreak that’s good for booger boarding. Local knowledge:The Lane’s no joke; when it gets crowded, it gets nasty. You’ll get burned, hassled, and yelled at if you get in the way. Matter of fact, if it’s really crowded, don’t go out. But here’s a tip: It’s not too crowded in the middle of the day. Here’s another tip: If you ride a longboard, surf Middle Peak and don’t surf the point¿the locals made up that rule.
Grinds:There’s nothing too close, except for the Lighthouse, which sells snacks only. But if you want to be like the cool guys, go down to the wharf and stop in the Riva to get some oysters and a pint of beer. You can enjoy the view of the Boys ripping up the Lanne.
Who’s there:The Lane has a lot of rippers who surf there on a daily basis. Here’re just a few: Vince Collier, Richard Schmidt, Joey Thomas, Ruffo, Flea, Ratboy, Barney, SkinDog, Josh Loya, Marco Foreman, Mel, Repogle, Josh Mulcoy, Randy Bonds, Tyler Smith, Russell Smith, Joey Hutson, and a shitload of other hot guys.
If you want to look like an outsider:Show up wearing a UCSC shirt with a six-pack of Pale Ale, blue chips, and some hummus. When you surf, wear a hood, but no booties.
If you want to look like a local:Show up wearing a Volcom shirt, ride an M10 surfboard, wear a black O’Neill wetsuit, and drink Budweiser.
Miscellaneous:Parking can be a bitch, so the best place to park for an outsider would be up by the Lighthouse. The locals park in the middle parking lot¿you can’t miss it, it’s the one with the peanut gallery hanging out front. The farthest lot down is called the Carp Lot¿it’s where all the old surfers hang out and drink twelvers of Keystones. Be careful, they might chew your ear off if you let them.
Spot: Pleasure Point
Location:East Side¿Santa Cruz, California
What it is:It’s a series of right point peaks that roll down about a mile. Sewer Peak is the heaviest of the waves¿a right and left that dumps on a shallow shelf and peels for about 50 yards. Next is First Peak, which is also a right and left. The left is short and hollow, and the right is long and mushy, but fun. After that is Second Peak, which is even longer and mushier, but can be connected with First Peak. With the right swell and the right surfer, you can get rides that exceed 200 yards.
What it likes:South swells are the best because they wall up all the way down the point. North swells are good, too, but they tend to be pretty mushy.
What it hates:South winds and super north swells.
What it wants to be when it grows up:Kirra on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Adjacent spots:To the north is 26th Avenue, a fun beachbreak. To the south is 38th Avenue, a small beginner spot, but on a big south connects with Second Peak and comes alive.
Local knowledge:The crowds get bad, and thanks to Wingnut, the longboard scene is out of hand. Sewers is a no-longboard peak, and First Peak is also a place of conflict between long- and shortboarders. It all comes down to respect.
Grinds:There’s a market right at the top of the point that has great breakfast burritos, and down the point on 41st Avenue is Pleasure Pizza¿they gots da best slices, holmes.
Who’s there:The Point has a lot of pros: Adam Replogle, Galley, Mel, Omar, Kieran, Homer, Rockhold, Fox, Oggy, Peterson, Bud, Noi, and a bunch of other up-and-comers.
If you want to look like an outsider:Wear UCSC shirts and bring a six-pack of Pale Ale, same as the West Side.
If you want to look like a local:Wear an O’Neill wetsuit and ride Colleta surfboards.
Miscellaneous:If you’re a longboarder, don’t move here!