Celebrating Surfing in Santa Cruz

November 15, 2023

From first glance, it's easy to see that Santa Cruz is filled with creativity. From the murals sprinkled throughout the City to the painters situating themselves along West Cliff to capture the view, to the plethora of musicians providing entertainment at your favorite venues, it's always great to see the creative scene being celebrated. Something else that's often celebrated and engrained into the culture of our City is surfing.

We wanted to combine the two in order to welcome visitors and locals alike to the City of Santa Cruz, from the minute they exit Highway 17. Lining Ocean Street, you may notice some new, colorful banners featuring a diverse group of surfers, captured on camera by some talented photographers in our community. Here, we take the opportunity to introduce you to the photographers and share their work up close in case you don't get the chance to see their work on a banner.

Special shout-out to Mike Bencze at Hive Design for taking our vision for these banners and making them a reality! And to Community Printers for bringing them to life.

1 Daniel Haniger

Photograph by Daniel Haniger

Daniel Haniger

Daniel Haniger has been photographing Steamer Lane for over 30 years. The unmatched location of “The Point”, “Middle Peak” and “The Slot” have enhanced his experience to reflect the growing surf culture and premier surf location on the west coast. You can find his reflection of surf documented at and, as he endeavors to catalogue and explore the 1000’s of photographs stored in negatives and slides (1990’s) to reveal our genuine love for Santa Cruz and its surf history.

8 Kaili Reynolds

Photograph by Kaili Reynolds for Black Surf Santa Cruz

Kaili Reynolds for Black Surf Santa Cruz

Black Surf Santa Cruz’s mission is to "promote physical, spiritual, and communal healing through surfing, recreation, education, and wellness." BSSC centers Black community members and other historically and presently excluded people of color in its programming, and adheres to a guiding principle of "Let’s learn together" to invite the entire extended community in Santa Cruz County to create inclusive surf, ocean recreation, and marine sustainability spaces. The program emphasizes joy and liberation and aims to increase mental wellbeing, feelings of belonging and psychological safety, and the number of BIPOC enjoying surfing and associated outdoor and coastal recreational activities. There are a multitude of systemic factors that have played a role in the lack of diversity in the ocean and surfing community that continue to this day, including segregation, redlining, access barriers such as no equipment, and blatant racism and ignorance experienced in the water. Black Surf Santa Cruz aims to change that.

6 Jeff Mir

Photograph by Jeff Mir

3 ALT Jeff Mir

Photograph by Jeff Mir

Jeff Mir

Jeff Mir is an Afghan-American photographer. He came to the United States in the 1980s and worked as a Field Engineer for over 35 years. He always had an interest in photography since he was handed a camera at the age of 6. For the last decade he took on the new challenge of taking action shots of local surfers in Santa Cruz and nearby coastal cities.

5 Ole Wolsbeck

Photograph by Ole Wolsbeck

Ole Wolsbeck

Ole is a passionate photographer specializing in capturing the beauty of nature, surfing, and breathtaking landscapes. Through his lens, he aims to showcase the awe-inspiring moments that nature has to offer. Fun fact: the surfer in the photo is his son, Kai Len.

Sierra Ducatt

Photograph by Sierra Ducatt

Sierra Ducatt

Sierra Ducatt is a landscape photographer, writer, and adventure enthusiast based in Santa Cruz, California. Her work draws inspiration from the peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the California coast, with a mission to ignite people's enthusiasm to spend more time outdoors. She can be found around town during golden hour, chasing swells at some of Santa Cruz's premiere surf spots. When Sierra isn't behind the lens, she's off backpacking trails, exploring National Parks, and sharing her travels on her blog, Somewhere Sierra.

7 Ryan Craig

Photograph by Ryan "Chachi" Craig
Copyright Ryan Craig Photography

Ryan "Chachi" Craig

4 Ellen Baker

Photograph by Ellen V Baker
Copyright Ellen V Baker Photography

Ellen V Baker

Ellen V Baker's photography work aims to capture the symbiosis of humans and their environments. She works with clients who are leaders in sustainable urban development, who are innovating solutions that foster a relationship between urban environments and the natural world.

Bryan Mc Donald High Res

Photograph by Bryan McDonald

Bryan McDonald

Bryan McDonald is a surfer, skater, swimmer, photographer and former US Windsurfing National Champion. He's also a member of the collegiate sailing hall of fame, mechanical engineer, and a Dad.

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