West cliff is a long road which goes along a coast on west side of Santa Cruz. I was lucky to ride it by my cruiser between my jobs almost every day.
The neighborhood is clean and calm, quit rich and rather safe. There are many pick-up trucks, typical for Americans, parked in front of big and different houses. Their gardens are well-kept and full of some funny accessories.
I even have favorite street named Woodrow. In the middle of it there is a long and thin garden filled with colorful flowers leading you to the amazing ocean view. Once, when I was riding my bike and finally had a chance to take some pictures, I found this little box with books – a mini library. It said “take a book, share a book” so locals could exchange.
On this beautiful drive, you can find a lot of people walking with their dogs, runners and groups of moms with baby carriages (jogging as well). Everybody is cheerful and saying hi to each other. Young couple is chilling on the rocks, an old man is starring into the ocean. He’s sitting on one of many memorial benches which are located all up and down West Cliff Drive and all over SC county. When I was sitting on one of those benches on the wharf after watching a sunset, I discovered there are names carved on it. They are all faced into the ocean.
As usual, there is something going on around my dream spot – Steamer Lane. Several guys wearing wetsuits are jumping over the fence. A group of people is watching surfers in water. There are also some huge macro lenses in local photographer’s hands, chasing those guys on waves. I personally spend a lot of time here, forgetting about the world and just starring into not so small waves and surfers, so as a beginner I can also learn from observations. Why would I even look for surf movies if there is a spot for experts around the corner?
Next to the stairs leading to the beach there is a dead surfers memorials. The wooden plaques with different initials, names and words are hand-made by family or friends. There are some snitches on the ground and flowers hanged. Standing next to it and watching those guys in water, taking the risk just for fun is pretty impressive… and very touchful. When you go further you can see a big statue of surfer. This monument is dedicated to all surfers: past, present and future.
There is also a museum filled with over 100 years old boards, pictures, and notes about Santa Cruz history of surfing. You can easily find it because of Mark Abbot Memorial Light house behind it. Right next to it I’ve met Mike – a 40 years old guy who was my guide, my teacher and my dear friend.
But let me start from the beginning, because this is the place where everything has started…