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The 2010 Gold Awards

The pencilnecks call it crowdsourcing. We call it an annual ritual. For 15 years we've asked readers to tell us what they love about Santa Cruz, and for 15 years they've told us. Best burger, best dry cleaner, best shoe store, best place to ride a bike—year after year they've shared their cherished opinions and we've listened. This year voting on our most comprehensive ballot ever was conducted exclusively online. Ballot-stuffers didn't have a chance. Which means you now hold in your hands the most thorough picture we have to date of Santa Cruzans' preferences. Read on, good people of Surf City, and be amazed!

Contributors: Curtis Cartier, Catherine Gildea, Maria Grusauskas, Brian Harker, Traci Hukill, Jenn Ireland, Cat Johnson, Jessica Lussenhop, Pete Saporito, Christina Waters

Check back soon for complete Gold Award Listings

"It's crazy out here, especially this time of year. And us kayak surfers pretty much avoid this place," he says, looking out at the flotilla of surfers that seems to have doubled in size in the hour between 7am and 8am. "Getting this place to yourself never happens, so when the festival comes around it's pretty exciting. And for anyone who has never seen what these guys can do with a board or a kayak, their minds are about to be blown."

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THE SANTA CRUZ KAYAK SURF FESTIVAL rides Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz Friday–Sunday, March 26–28. Contest heats start at 7am each day, and cliffside viewing is free. Booths with merchandise, food and live entertainment will be in full swing all weekend. For more info visit

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