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Jul 29th
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Cover Stories

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Liquid Therapy

Liquid Therapy

Filmmaker Dana Brown opens up about his new surf documentary “Step Into Liquid’. PLUS: Inside the film that also spotlight somes of the best surfers in Santa Cruz.

When I was growing up in Chicago, our summertime fun usually consisted of a few treks to Lake Michigan. It was there I saw my first wave. It must have been four inches high. Adventure sports on the shores of the ol’ LM back in the ’70s invited the use of one primary material—rubber. Rafts, floaties, beach balls—you name it. Yeah-ha! What fun! I did not have the finesse of a swimmer—I was 40 pounds overweight—and, quite often, my rocket red bikini-like swim trunks felt uncomfortably snug, exposing the unwanted physical side effects of consuming too many Ho-Hos and Hostess Chocolate Cream Pies. In a way, I was “surfed” the treacherous waves of LM whenever I embraced the canary-yellow Donald Duck innertube of my youth. At the time, it was cool. And it hid the fat surrounding my mid-section. I’d often sit in Donald—so buoyant, so there for me—while my Polish parents and their gregarious friends lounged in striped lime green lawn chairs on the shore. They’d down a Schlitz or two, talk about the Bicentennial, or gossip about the risqué new temptress at the last Polka party. For chuckles, they would tell jokes in Polish—you haven’t heard a real joke until you’ve listened to the rhyming ones in my family’s native tongue—and cheer on all the kids performing “daredevil” stunts in the lake. The closest thing a Chicagoan like me got to surfing was watching Greg Brady wipe out in that cool Hawaiian episode from The Brady Bunch. (Third season; episode three, and it’s really sad that I know that.)

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Peter Condor Mel

Peter Condor Mel

The Lowdown: Whether he’s attending epic surf competitions like Eddie Aikau Quicksilver Big Wave Event or just kickin’ it locally at Steamer Lane or Mavericks, 33-year-old Peter Mel makes his presence known. He says passion is the key to success—perfect for a guy who loves to “take a challenge against mother nature.” While he’s fast become an international force in the surf world, deep down, Mel enjoys his home turf—Santa Cruz. (There is, of course, the über popular Freeline Design Surf Shop, founded by his father, John, which has been going strong for more than 30 years.) Surf to him at www.petermel.com. Here, “Condor” discusses the inner workings of appearing in Step Into Liquid, specifically, surfing the Cortes Banks, an area 100 off the coast of southern California,  outside of the contintental shelf, where the biggest expansive of ocean produces amazing yet dangerous swells.

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Ken SkinDog Collins

Ken SkinDog Collins

The Lowdown: Considered to be “100 percent Westside” and one of Steamer Lane’s royalty, SkinDog is a mighty force on the water. Sure, he’s proven he can push it with “the big boys” locally, but SkinDog’s frenetic, adventurous spirit is downright captivating—watch, and you’ll see. These days, the Santa Cruz native enjoys partaking in the myriad of surf competitions out there and boasts a long list of sports sponsors. After nailing a Mavericks event several years back, his name has generated big buzz in the surf universe. But what was it really like surfing the Cortes Bank with local boy Peter Mel in Step Into Liquid?

Q: So, Dan Brown approaches you to be featured in this movie Step Into Liquid and how cool is it that you got to trek out 100 miles off the coast to the Cortes Bank? Tell me a little about that day and, of course, the waves?

A: Well the scariest part was just getting out there. We set out to sea at sunset the night before into 20-foot swells, and motored all night, up and down. To tell you the truth I wasn't digging it.

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Darryl FLEA Virostko

Darryl FLEA VirostkoThe Lowdown: He’s been called the “Tommy Lee of surfing,” an athlete that is “strangely magnetic.” But Flea, at 31, has become one of the area’s most recognized phenoms. Back in the ’90s, he was lured to Mavericks and his daredevil attitude garnered the attention of more than just locals. Eventually, the world would see another surfing boom, and, thankfully, Flea helped fuel it. He’s been in countless surf tournaments around the world and is sponsored by significant sport organizations. He’s bonded with Mavericks, and now, he gets his feet wet on the big screen in Step Into Liquid.
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Shawn Barney Barron

Shawn Barney Barron

The Lowdown: Pomona-born but raised Santa Cruz, “Barney” began surfing in fourth grade after checking out local surf wonders like Vince Collier, Rich Schmidt, and Charle Heightman. At 32, he’s considered one of the most innovative and progressive surfers—whether he’s “busting flips” or surfing Mavericks, he’s making people take notice. Like his surf cohorts, Barney has his own particular style and rhythm. Heck, he’s been called a “total air freak” for his entertaining moves, often a mix of skate styles, with plenty of rolls and spins—just enough to freak people out, of course.

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Robert Wingnut Weaver

The Lowdown: Ever since legendary surf filmmaker Bruce Brown decided to cast Robert “Wingnut” Weaver in his second, updated installment of the surf classic Endless Summer, Wingnut has risen to the top of a unique and accomplished career in surfing. Besides being one of the best, most talented longboarders in the water, Wingnut enjoys surf star status as host of Fox’s Longboard TV, is the director of marketing at SURFTECH in Santa Cruz, is a high-end surf guide, traveling around the world with clients and is dedicated father of his 6-year-old son Cameron, who he surfs with. “I keep my fingers in a bunch of little pies,” he says, followed by his at-the-ready, contagious laugh.

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The Family Gift

The Family Gift

An editor’s trek through his family’s past unearths a rarely reported World War II saga and the importance of embracing heritage.

 

I have come to believe that the best gifts arrive unwrapped. No curly ribbons. No bows. No tags. No warnings.

I received my 2003 Christmas present early this year. Actually, I first held it in my hands in the fall of 2002. It was a floppy disk my Uncle John had sent to me from Chicago, where he lives and where I was raised. There was a note: “Here it is Greg …  I wrote something about our family.  Take a look.”

I did. I read a few paragraphs, felt some odd emotional stirring within and quickly stored the story on my laptop, where it would be safe, and, more importantly as I would later discover, where it would be hidden.

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Zemsta

It means ‘revenge’ in Polish, but Aptos’ Arthur Mrozowski, and his company MGE, make it sweet and bring Poland right into the heart of America—and Santa Cruz’s Rio Theatre.

 

Arthur Mrozowski hands me an empty plate and points to some sauerkraut in a dish on the table in front of us.

“Help yourself,” Arthur says as we scan the Polish delicacies sharing the smorgasbord spotlight: peirogies, beets, polish sausage, rye bread with butter. Sitting at the 1 ’o clock position on the table is a foreigner—sushi, specifically California rolls.

“I knew you were a vegetarian,” Arthur notes, shrugs, then saunters off to entertain some of the Polish and Polish-American friends he’s invited to his Aptos home for a holiday party.

As the festive pump of an accordion and the brass of a trumpet linger in the audio periphery—proof that Polka music can never get too boring—I add sushi onto my plate and then reach for those tasty-looking foreign dumplings. My left eyebrow arches at the sight of another dish.

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Packs a Punch

Packs a Punch

She’s clobbered the competition; now Watsonville’s Carina Moreno is the No. 1 Amateur Female Boxer in the world

Your name is Betty Boxer and you’ve just been punched in the face by a 106-pound, 18-year-old gal from Watsonville sporting a long black braid and a surprising amount of confidence. You duck, you bounce, you’re on your toes in the ring at the Women’s National Boxing Championship in Texas. Who the hell does she think she is? you might be thinking. And you should. After all, you are the No. 1 amateur female boxer in the country. You’ve got style, you’ve got grace, you’ve got awards, you … just got smacked again.

Your name is Betty Boxer and you’ve just lost your title to some 106-pound, 18-year-old chick from Watsonville. Get to know her. Her name is Carina Moreno.

Welcome to the boxing world Watsonville native, Carina Moreno, has been orbiting around since March of 2000 when, with very little competitive female boxing experience under her belt, she
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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 25

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.