Matt Niswonger
Surfing with your kids is a good reason to love Santa Cruz. Photo: Nelly/SPL

Surfing with the kids in Capitola. Photo: Nelly/SPL

Welcome to ASJ #75. Though it wasn’t really intentional, it’s fitting that much of the focus of this issue is on Santa Cruz. After all, ASJ was born here and our office is right in the municipal harbor on the east side of town.

Santa Cruz has a polarizing effect on people; they either love it or hate it. Rarely will you find someone with a neutral opinion.

Recently I was laughing out loud while reading “We Don’t Believe in Santa Cruz,” an article from the conservative political journal The Weekly Standard.

While the article is laughably sensationalist (Google it, you’ll see what I mean), the opinions expressed within are apparently shared by many.

According to the author of the article, Santa Cruz is the most overrated, crime-ridden, socialist, dirty, unaffordable, morally bankrupt city in America.

While admittedly biased, I couldn’t disagree more. I can’t imagine a better place to raise kids than Santa Cruz County. Their little imaginations are on fire with skateboarding, surfing, soccer, baseball, climbing, kayaking, and trips to Tahoe and Yosemite in winter.

For adults who appreciate a healthy lifestyle filled with outdoor activities—especially surfing, kayaking, trail running and mountain biking—Santa Cruz is paradise. It’s just plain overflowing with inspiring fun, and that’s a pretty good reason to believe in living here.

In his story on the fortieth anniversary of NHS, surf editor Neil Pearlberg explores how Santa Cruz the city relates to Santa Cruz the brand.

The Red-Dot logo, the Screaming Hand logo, and all the other graphic art associated with NHS have created a powerful identity that adds more value to the company than just the direct revenue from skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, and mountain bikes. By tracing the development of the company through the eyes of founder and marketing genius Rich Novak, a lesser-known piece of the city’s history is revealed.

Also in this issue, climbing editor Leonie Sherman takes us on a unique if hazardous journey up a peak, down a canyon, and across a lake—all named Tenaya.

Stephen Olshansky, AKA Otter, writes about hiking the PCT from Mexico to Canada, beer editor Derrick Peterman examines the growing craft beer scene in Santa Cruz, Matt Johanson recounts the history of a forgotten entrance to Yosemite Valley, and Tim Hauserman recommends some great ways to see the fall colors in the Tahoe area. Along with our usual handy events calendar we add a special cyclocross schedule, and we catch up to freeskiing legend Scot Schmidt who rejoins the cast of Warren Miller in this winter’s Ticket to Ride. Last but not least we unveil a new mountain biking column from Kurt Gensheimer, AKA the Angry Singlespeeder.

Whether you live in Santa Cruz or not, we hope this issue inspires you to take advantage of the fall season in a way that propels you to stay fit, inspired, and creative.

— Matt Niswonger