A surfer since age 12 and a Santa Cruz resident since 1986, Ed Guzman of Club Ed (get it?) has an intimate knowledge of local waves. Club Ed rents boogie boards, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, wetsuits and other aquatic gear from a convenient location on Cowell Beach next to the wharf — look for the blue “Learn to Surf” trailer on the sand in front of the Dream Inn Hotel. Bonus perk: equipment use is free with Ed’s expert lessons. club-ed.com
With over a mile of calm, protected waters, Santa Cruz is a popular spot for beginner kayakers or stand-up paddleboarders. Kayak Connection gives tours through kelp beds where resident otters, sea lions and seals dwell. More experienced paddlers have the option of heading out into Monterey Bay for open-ocean exploring. Either way, dolphin and whale sightings on both routes are not unusual. kayakconnection.com
Not looking to break much of a sweat? No problem. Chardonnay Sailing Charters runs cruises year-round on three different vessels. Passengers take in local scenery while sipping complimentary wine or beer on tap and snacking on pizza or hors d’oeuvres. Adventure-seekers can grab a seat on the bow — just hold on tight, as the Chardonnay can become the jägermeister after a few good swells. chardonnay.com
Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.