.Opinion: Seven Years Later, A Hawaiian Surfing Sequel

Revisiting the Hawaiian connection that fueled Santa Cruz’s passion for surfing


Steve Palopoli editor good times santa cruz california

Despite living and working in Santa Cruz for the better part of three decades by 2015, I had no clue about the Hawaiian origins of Santa Cruz surfing—all surfing in the U.S. mainland—until Geoffrey Dunn wrote a cover story about it for us in July of that year.

Recounting the day in 1885 when Hawaiian princes David Kawananakoa, Edward Keliiahonui and Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole took their “surf-boards” (as the local press called them at the time) into the water at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River, Dunn’s wonderful piece traced the legacy of their visit, its unique moment in history as “the first account of surfing anywhere in the Americas,” and the wild story of how two of their boards found their way back to Santa Cruz. It also kicked off a summer of celebrating the Santa Cruz-Hawaii surfing connection, as the Museum of Art and History hosted an exhibit featuring those original redwood olo surfboards. There was a paddle-out marking the 130th anniversary of the event, and a number of other commemorations.

Seven years later, Dunn delivers the sequel to that cover story in this issue. It builds on a single, one-line mention in the original piece about “legendary Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, who was close to the princes and visited Santa Cruz three times during his career.” That name probably didn’t register with most readers at the time, but after you read Dunn’s cover story, you won’t forget it. Kahanamoku’s history is every bit as fascinating as that of the three princes, and the mark he made on Santa Cruz will surprise you. Mahalo for reading!



Re: Water Street Housing

secure document shredding

Please just approve and build already! I am a full-time-working Santa Cruz local, and I can barely afford rent in a shared bedroom occupancy! Truly terrible times we’re living in these days.

— Chanel


BUT THEY OTTER Many people don’t know that Elkhorn Slough has the highest concentration of southern sea otters along the California coast. Photograph by Rich van der Linde.

Submit to [email protected]. Include information (location, etc.) and your name. Photos may be cropped. Preferably, photos should be 4 inches by 4 inches and minimum 250dpi.



This Labor Day weekend, join in on Capitola’s tribute to its famed Begonia Festival. For 65 years, the nautical parade of floats with multi-colored begonias filled Soquel Creek and floated into the beach lagoon. In 2017, the colorful floats sailed one final time, as the next year the Golden State Bulb Growers ceased its begonia bulb business. But now, we have the chance to relive that era, with festival memorabilia, stories and more at the Capitola City Hall and the Museum. Find out more at capitolavillage.com.



Wilder Ranch State Park had a little makeover recently: the historic doors on its horse barn have been restored and secured, and the barn is ready for locals to see. The two doors on the 1890s-era barn were rehung thanks to the hard work of State Parks staff, who removed rotten wood and replaced 20 percent of the old doors, sourcing lumber from CZU-fallen trees. The ranch’s livestock can sleep easier at night thanks to the added security.


“No one has family in Hawaii. Everyone is family in Hawaii.”

Richie Norton


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