Wave Watching at The Lane in Santa Cruz, CA
Host to the Cold Water Classic, "The Lane" is a Santa Cruz surfing landmark. It is notoriously heavy, cold, and not for the beginner or faint of heart. There is a list of rules carved on a wooden plaque at the top of the stairs and a host of locals happy to enforce them. When there are waves, and even when there aren’t, the place is alive with surfers cruising by on bikes to check the swell and chat with guys fresh out of the water. The waves are perfect peelers; just watching them sends you into an adrenaline-saturated surf fantasyland. But, if you are a beginner and looking for a mellower wave, down the street is Cowell’s—friendly, gentle and teaming with learning surfers of all ages.