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Photograph by Carlie Statsky
Feed Your Big Head: Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton pop into Pipeline, Santa Cruz's favorite headshop, for an attitude adjustment.

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Editor's Picks

All this talk of low consumer confidence is such a downer. We think there's a simple fix: better stuff. (Have you considered that, Mr. Bernanke?) We'd like to see one of these allegedly underconfident American consumers make it all the way down Pacific Avenue without picking up a few shopping bags full of happy along the way. The shoe stores alone could jump-start the economy. Throw in the local boutiques and a handful of top-flight bookstores, and we could be back in boomtown.

Best Use of California Resins

SINCE the closing of Clark Foam in 2005, the world of surfboard manufacturing has undergone drastic changes. While a multitude of foam companies have jumped in to take up the former mogul's slack, there's no question that surfboard production is in its most experimental phase since the shortboard revolution of the late '60s. From epoxy resins to new stringer configurations, surfers and shapers have never been more willing to test new waters, and of course, what better place to experiment than Santa Cruz?

Haut Surfboards
345 Swift St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.7874
Doug Haut has been shaping boards for nearly four decades, so it's safe to say the experience has paid off. Shortboards, longboards, Haut can make 'em all.

M10 Surfboards
548 Palm St, Santa Cruz. 831.427.0600
High-performance shapes made with EPS (Extruded Polystyrene) foam and epoxy resins are at the forefront of worldwide surfboard technology.

NoŽ Surfboards
Shaper Buck inherited the throne from his father, legendary Santa Cruzan Rick Noe. Cutting-edge designs fuel underground rippers from the Point to the Lane.

Pearson Arrow Surfboards
2324 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.8286
Shaper Bob Pearson has kept Arrow surfboards a respected name in the surf world for over 30 years. His classic shapes are time-tested local favorites.

Stretch Surfboards
983 Tower Place, Santa Cruz. 831.479.7309
Bill Stretch was named Shaper of the Year by Surfing magazine in January of 2006--the first to receive the honor after Clark Foam's shutdown. His quads (four-fins) are popular with pros--and Joes--throughout California.

--Garrett Wheeler

Best Place to Save Your Sole

SALVATION can be yours, brothers and sisters! Resist the temptation to throw out that pair of shoes just for want of a little attention. Don't be a loafer--pull out those neglected friends and show them some love. While most of us will happily patch a car tire rather than buy a new one, and while we bring in our surfboards and eyeglasses for repairs, very few even know who their local cobbler is. So you may be surprised at how much can be repaired or replaced on your well-worn shoe. You could be well-heeled for less than you may suspect, and cut down on our landfills to boot. Rise up, brethren, here's where to go to get help:

Able Shoe Repair
272 Mt. Hermon Rd, Scotts Valley. 831.438.4022

A&B Shoe Repair
7745 Soquel Dr, Aptos. 831.688.6214

Jorge's Shoe Repair
1408 Freedom Blvd, Watsonville. 831.724.3804

Kim's Cleaners
115 S.River St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.6459

Van's Shoes
14 E.Lake Ave, Watsonville. 831.724.9766

--Denise Vivar

Best Way to Row Your Boat

SCUBA, schmuba! As delightful as it may be under the sea, there's plenty to see on top of the water. But instead of floating passively on a boat, why not take charge by exploring the water in a kayak or canoe? Whether off the northern coast of Santa Cruz or deep in the Monterey Bay, the open ocean presents the chance to paddle past sea otters and seals, while Elkhorn Slough is one of 17 estuarine reserves in the United States and is home to lots of loons, egrets, pelicans and other charismatic marshland critters. Many kayak and outdoor equipment rental companies offer tours through all the aforementioned areas. Those feeling a bit more adventurous can strike out alone.

Adventure Sports Unlimited
303 Potrero St #15, Santa Cruz. 831.458.3648

Down Works
222 River St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.9078

Kayak Connection
Santa Cruz Harbor, 831.479.1121
Elkhorn Slough, 831.724.5692

Monterey Bay Kayaks
693 Del Monte Ave, Monterey. 831.373.5357

SKAPE Sea Kayaking
740 30th Ave #117, Santa Cruz. 831.476.5385

Venture Quest
#2 Santa Cruz Wharf, Santa Cruz. 831.427.2267

--Craig Gawlick

Best Place to Bulk Up

CONTRARY to what megawarehouse stores would have you believe, buying in bulk isn't an activity that has to include 3,000 crackers. Local markets show that buying groceries in bulk can provide you with more options than you thought possible. Not only can you control the amount you purchase, you can avoid waste by purchasing rarely used items on an as-needed basis. New Leaf Community Markets offer all the staples of bulk food plus a few little surprises. Dried fruit, candy, nuts, coffee and various types of flour, lentils, cereal and pasta are featured alongside soy sauce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some of the sweetest and thickest honey you've ever tasted. The Felton location is particularly well stocked with bulk cosmetics, too.

At the Food Bin and its next door neighbor, the Herb Room, shoppers can find almost 100 different types of tea, dozens of herbs, dried flowers, spices and even bulk shampoo, conditioner and massage oils. Staff of Life can help you with a quick meal of instant soup--enough to serve one or 100. That should go nicely with all those crackers from the warehouse.

The Food Bin
1130 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.5526

The Herb Room
1130 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.5575

New Leaf
1134 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.1793
6240 Hwy 9, Felton. 831.335.7322
1210 41st Ave, Capitola. 831.479.7987.
13159 Central Ave, Boulder Creek. 831.338.7211.
2351 Mission St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.1306.

Staff of Life
1305 Water St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.8068

--Matthew Craggs

Best Kitsch & Caboodle

WHEN you Wikipedia "kitsch," you'll find a picture of dogs playing poker. Pretty much any blue-collar family will have a great stash of garish and sometimes slightly offensive pieces hanging in their two-car garage. One can dismiss their campy collections as a hobby or maybe as a glimpse into a time or style that once was, but one rule should always stand: if you are going to go tacky, make it spec-tack-ular. Let's look at what types of satirical souvenirs Santa Cruz has to offer.

The Retro Kitsch
There are many Hot-Topic-like stores that specialize in bringing the cult classics back to retail. Whether it's cartoon lunch boxes, bangly jewelry, a Snoopy Snow-Cone Maker or other nostalgic goods, downtown Santa Cruz is stocked. Try:

Graphfix Gallery & Framing
1229 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.8086

Mr. Goodies
1541 Pacific Ave #A, Santa Cruz. 831.427.9997

Urban Outfitters
1401 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.9357

The Nature Kitsch
A favorite way to give porches and sunrooms some flair. The netting, the plastic fish and the conch shells are typical of beachie souvs that can be readily found anywhere near the Beach Boardwalk. Where can you get a watercolor interpretation of West Cliff or a porthole to hang in your living room? Try:

Boardwalk Shops
400 Beach St, Santa Cruz. 831.426.7433

Buccaneer Gifts
750 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz. 831.423.3132

Thomas Kinkade Capitola Signature Gallery
121 San Jose Ave, Capitola. 831.476.0970

Kitsch You Can Wear
If only we could raid Elton John's closet. Shiny satin and rippled ruffles, pirate shirts and sunglasses that scream, "Look at me while I pretend not to notice!" Create your own Project for the Runway with the help of shops in Santa Cruz that are famous (some more than others) for their timed classics.

Closet Capers
1211 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.425.7685

821 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.5414

Salvation Army
812 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.429.8118

--Darya Gilani

Best Place to Get Stuck

WHEN you're ready to take a stab at a new bod-mod, where do you start? Hopefully you've given the piercing some thought, and maybe made sure it was OK with your employer. No one likes a meal served by someone who looks like they've fallen into a desk organizer face first. If you are ready, forget your first instinct. Put the needle and rubbing alcohol away; you need a professional. It's not worth the risk of losing your ear, nose, eyebrow, or--well, that either. Consult these steps, and you'll be well prepared to be pricked.

1. Browse Shops
At Staircase Tattoo, you can find a piercer's paradise and a reputation for safe handling of jewelry. They've got cases of gleaming metal to ogle and a knowledgeable staff to answer your questions. Find a shop with high standards, do some research and make an informed decision.

Staircase Tattoo
628 Ocean St, Santa Cruz. 831.425.7644

2. Consider the Options
It is a wise idea to go to different shops and look at how some other people have pierced themselves. At True Art, they are happy to discuss the different options and risks with you, and give you some insight into your decision. If you do your homework, you can feel comfortable going back to them if there are any issues that come up later. Jack Strobel at True Art has been piercing 15 years; he'll put a hole in one, as it were, just about anywhere, but he doesn't do implants.

True Art
1430 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.426.8783

3. Bring a Friend
To answer your question, YES, it will hurt. So bring a friend who will be there to hold your hand and listen to the care instructions while blood returns to your head. Graffix Pleasure, your go-to parlor for above-the-waist, nonsurface piercings, will do its best to keep pain to a minimum.

Graffix Pleasure
809 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.2940

Make sure you consult with your professional on what type of jewelry works in your newly ornamented orifice and what doesn't. With different threading, gauges and metals, it can make all the difference between the art you wanted and the scar you didn't. When in doubt, try a snazzy magnetic piece or a nifty clip-on.

--Darya Gilani

Best Preface to a Tall Tale

THE Monterey Bay is filled with a huge diversity of sea life that ranges from the everyday to the unique. And can you think of a better way to appreciate nature's majesty than by eating it? Didn't think so. Sport fishing mixes relaxation, excitement, the open ocean and a healthy dose of the hunt that is sure to tantalize even the most casual meat eater. Depending on the season, anglers can hope to catch ling cod, rock cod, salmon, sand dabs and oh-so-delicious tuna. Around $100 will get you everything you need for a half day out in the open seas, and most boats will clean and gut your catch for free.

Charter boats usually organize trips to fish for a specific type of fish, so if you're going for salmon or cod plan ahead for a cookout on the beach. Some garlic and lime wrapped up with the fish over a beach fire for 15 minutes will create a simple and delicious dish. If you have a large group ready to fish, Stagnaro's 60-foot boat equipped with beer and wine is your choice for some raucous reeling. But for something a little more intimate, many of the other charters offer 30-foot boats, and all are equipped with sonar if you need a little help finding schools. As the Irish proverb goes, "There are fish in the sea better than have ever been caught." That's probably some sort of life lesson, but we'll take it as encouragement to go out there and catch the big one.

Captain Jimmy Charters
Santa Cruz Harbor, Dock V, Santa Cruz. 831.662.3020

Monterey Bay Charters
Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, Dock R, Santa Cruz. 831.818.8808

Reel Sportfishing
P.O. Box 3300, Santa Cruz. 831.465.0639

Santa Cruz Sportfishing
P.O. Box 5235, Santa Cruz. 831.426.4690

Stagnaro Sport Fishing
Santa Cruz Harbor--Winter Location
Santa Cruz Wharf--Summer Location
Tickets available through Zerve (

--Matthew Craggs

Best Way to Spot a Leviathan

THE human race has traveled to the moon, and yet our skyscrapers and worldwide communications cannot compare to the work of Mother Nature. Isn't it about time we were humbled? Passing through Santa Cruz's back yard are some of the largest creatures on the planet, and the mere sight of them should be enough to put you back in your place within the animal kingdom. During winter and early spring, gray whales are migrating through Monterey Bay and can often be seen from shore.

However, if you really want to marvel at these behemoths of the bay, the best place to find yourself is a few miles out to sea. Year-round, various species of whales, dolphins and porpoises can be seen swimming throughout the bay. During the summer and fall you are likely to spot humpbacks, Risso's dolphins (in pods of up to 700) and the largest animal on the planet: the blue whale. From December to April is the time to see orcas, the only natural predator of the great white shark. Take that, Jaws! Feeling the spray of cold salt water and the crisp wind against your face is the only sensation that can prepare you for the sight of these monstrous but gentle giants.

Chardonnay II
704 Soquel Ave #A, Santa Cruz. 831.423.1213

Monterey Bay Whale Watching
84 Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey. 831.375.4658

Monterey Whale Watching
96 Old Fisherman's Wharf #1, Monterey. 831.372.2203

Randy's Fishing Trips
66 Old Fisherman's Wharf #1, Monterey. 831.372.7440

Sanctuary Cruises
7881 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing.

--Matthew Craggs

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