How three young Hawaiian princes first introduced surfing to Santa Cruz—and to the mainland of the Americas
By all accounts, the middle week of July in 1885 was a glorious one in Santa Cruz. Tourists from throughout the Central Valley were flocking to the bustling seaside community to escape the sweltering summer heat of the interior. The city’s hotels and boarding houses were bulging with visitors, and so, too, were the bourgeoning businesses along Santa Cruz’s fabled waterfront—the Dolphin, Neptune and Liddell bathhouses, and the beachside Free Museum.
The South Pacific Coast Railroad had been completed in 1880—linking Santa Cruz not only to the far reaches of the state, but to the entire country—and, suddenly, summertime tourism was emerging as an important piston in the city’s economic engine.